It would be impossible to talk about the modern-day implications of the World Wide Web without bringing up social media. While it’s only been in existence for just a little over a decade, social media has changed the Internet and our everyday lives.
Therefore, when it comes to SEO, it makes sense that many people prioritize social media as a major opportunity to boost their website ranking.
However, the truth is actually a lot more nuanced. If you don’t understand the relationship between SEO and social media, you run the risk of making costly mistakes when you try to utilize these platforms.
Right away, let’s confirm something that’s not remotely nuanced: Google’s algorithm does not utilize social media engagement. Matt Cutts, formerly of Google, still has one of the best explanations on the topic. Just know that post engagement and user stats will not directly help your site rank in Google.
However, there are still four important ways social media can play a vital role in your SEO efforts:
One factor we can be sure influences SEO is backlinks. Provided they come from high-quality sources, backlinks will improve your website’s SEO.
There are a number of different ways you can earn backlinks, and one of them is through social media. If you build up your account with a decent number of followers, posting links to your blog on social media can lead to a backlink from someone else’s website.
Likewise, if you pound the pavement enough on social media channels, you’ll find people begin visiting your site more and more, albeit not through Google. Still, this kind of exposure means more of your pages get seen and, thus, enjoy a greater chance of earning backlinks.
Posting your content on your own social media page is important. But why do all the work? Get your website visitors to share your posts for you. You can place social media “share” buttons on your blog posts to make it easy for readers to promote your content on their own social media accounts.
As this happens, you should enjoy more visitors and more backlinks. Of course, the more compelling your content is, the more inspired your visitors will be to share it.
With Google’s approach to social media, a company’s social media accounts almost always rank on the first page when people search for the business. This makes social media a no-brainer for those who want to protect their organization’s reputation. For this reason, you should set up social media accounts on all major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) to ensure optimal Google placement.
As with all SEO tactics, though, you can’t go overboard with this one. Don’t attempt to flood Google with social media accounts to ensure no one else gets a place on the first page. This will actually dilute the overall influence these accounts would have. Instead, pick from the major players and then keep them updated.
Doing so will help you take control of prime Google real estate whenever someone looks up your company.
In the context of search engine optimization, CTR (click-through rate) refers to how often people see your link on a Google results page and click on it. Obviously, you want this to be as high as possible because it means more traffic.
CTR’s total impact on SEO is not clear, but many experts believe it definitely plays a role. This would make sense, too. A high CTR tells Google that the title and meta description of a post convinced users that it was a good choice for their click.
Social media can help improve your CTR by building your brand awareness. Get your business name out there by engaging on popular social media networks like Instagram. Don’t just limit yourself to Facebook.
All things being equal, a Google user is going to be far more likely to click on a post by a company they know (because of social media) than one they don’t.
While there is no direct, measurable relationship between social media and improving search engine optimization, it should be clear that social media is worth investing in. If you and your competitors are both putting equal effort into SEO, the one that also optimizes social media is going to come out ahead.
When you do begin leveraging social media platforms, make sure you do so with SEO in mind. Actively update your social media accounts to build your exposure and brand awareness. Include social share buttons on your blog posts. Over time, you should find that your traffic begins to improve as a result of these tactics.