A question we get asked a lot is "can social networking help your SEO efforts?" This article looks at the different benefits that links from social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can bring.
According to Google, social media is not a direct SEO ranking factor. Yet the results seem to show that while social might not be a direct factor, it certainly can influence your organic rankings.
But if the question is "does SEO need social media?" then the answer is no. Billions of sites rank at the top position in Google with no social media promotion.
Google doesn't currently use mentions or amount of engagement around a brand or piece of content as a direct ranking signal. This is because social media is a weak and unreliable signal for search engines.
That being said, you can help optimise your site through social media in a number of ways:
1. Publish your Web Content on Social Media too
Social media marketing is about making the most of social networks and getting found on them by the right people. It's the biggest content distribution engine on the internet.
Social media allows you to take the quality content you have worked hard to produce and promote it on several channels.
People can't link to something they dont know about and social media is an important way to let content creators know what youve got thats link-worthy.
If lots of people share your content on social media, then its likely more people will link to it, and links are a hugely important SEO ranking factor.
2. Get Backlinks from Social Networking sites
Now, this doesn't mean that every tweet or post you make finds it way to Googles vast index but if your blog post gets a lot of attention on Facebook or Twitter, it will end up getting in the index at a quicker pace.
Some of the social networks are "walled garden" sites and don't allow their posts to be seen by search engines unless they are public. In addition, many of the backlinks you may get from social sites are "nofollow" which means there is limited SEO benefit to them.
However, even if the links were followed links, its unlikely search engines would give them page ranking value.
Some social networks are better for SEO backlinks than others. It pays to experiment with the different ones to see if they work for you.
3. Grab Search Engine Real Estate with Social Media Posts
If your post goes viral on social media, the ripples can be felt in the search engine result pages.
In fact, social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names.
It is also common to see relevant tweets in the Google search results, for branded searches.
Having your Twitter posts, for instance, showing up in the search results does not impact your sites SEO, but it can improve your brand awareness.
4. Provide Promotional Benefits
Social media plays an indirect role in helping people find your brand in the search engine results.
An ever-increasing brand presence will lead to more branded searches on Google over time.
Social media is also useful for SEO because it encourages more external sites to link to your content , and the more diverse external links you have, the more authority youll gain in Googles eyes.
Social media doesnt directly affect your SEO but it does have an impact on the factors that do affect rankings such as traffic, meaning it can indirectly affect your rankings.
Even if social media isn't a direct Google ranking factor, it is one of the best ways to promote content and be found online.
Which is, ultimately, what SEO is all about anyway isn't it?