Google’s position for years that social signals do not affect rankings and do not factor into their algorithms. Yet, marketing professionals still believe that social signals are significantly linked to higher search engine rankings. So what are social signals?
What Are Social Signals?
In search engine terms, social signals refer to a webpage’s collective overall social media visibility through such activities as.
- Facebook likes/shares for pages or posts;
- Tweets mentioning your brand name ;
- Comments on blog articles about you;
- YouTube videos featuring your product or service;
- LinkedIn recommendations;
- Foursquare check-ins at your business location;
- StumbleUpon/Mix bookmarks;
- Digg Diggs; etc.
Some experts claim these social shares and other activities on social media sites enhance a page’s organic search ranking, and search engines often view them as another citation form.
In addition to messaging and acquisition, social media is now a tool for building relationships. SEO experts have written a lot about the importance of inbound links from social media and their role in influencing SEO rankings.
The best way to utilise social media channels in your marketing mix is through relevant content creation. Marketing your business through social media is one of the best ways to use this medium. You need to create high-quality content regularly but don’t overdo it with too much content or try spamming people. If this happens, users will not appreciate being spammed, and it will quickly become apparent.
Are Social Signals a Ranking Factor?
The short answer is no. Social signals aren’t used by Google Search directly. They’re just there to help with user experience during a regular search. That being said, having lots of followers doesn’t translate to higher rankings either. Twitter has helped brands gain visibility, as demonstrated in numerous examples.
Many marketing professionals have long believed that search engines consider social signals to measure how a web page is perceived by users based on how they interact with a web page on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Medium, etc. They are feedback from users on social media channels.
A study conducted by Moz shows that higher traffic and greater levels of engagement correlate to improved search engine rankings. So regardless of a site’s traffic sources, the more you can enhance the visibility and traffic coming to your content, the better it may perform in Google search.
The social media interactions and engagements you receive correlate with the quality of your content, and your content’s quality correlates with higher rankings. Also, note that links (are also social signals) also drive your ranking in the SERPS. So this gives us another clue into the importance of the social activity to rankings since Google considers linking to be a social activity.
Although the authority of a social account doesn’t impact SEO, we may see links published on social media as credible backlinks, affecting the ranking of a page. We need to understand and emphasise that SEO includes the search on social media search engines.
Hence there’s no reason social signals won’t affect search rankings in the future, so innovative brands will continue to build their social presence and authority in key social channels and think about social when designing their SEO strategy. Although Google may have back-tracked and changed its stance on social signals, Bing has always been open about using social media signals in its search engine algorithms.Although the authority of a social account doesn't impact SEO, we may see links published on social media as credible backlinks, affecting the ranking of a page. Click To Tweet
Does Google Use Social Signals to Determine Rank?
Whenever I speak with SEO savvy business owners, they often bombard me with crucial questions: how does social media affect SEO?
Let’s be clear that Google keeps its algorithm a tightly guarded secret. It is therefore impossible to know for sure what factors they consider when ranking. However, what marketers can deduce is that social media is not a direct ranking factor. Meaning the number of retweets your post gets (for example) will not affect its ranking in the SERPs. Understandably, this comes as a surprise to many people who assumed that Google factored such social signals into its algorithm as indications of brand trustworthiness and quality.
Social signals are good. But for search engines like Google to rely on them as its primary factor in their algorithm, this would mean that they are reliant on third-party data! This action would place them in a compromising situation because, as you know, it is not wise to build your farm on another man’s land. Google’s partnership with Twitter, which added tweets to search results, is further evidence of the growing significance of social media in search rankings.
However, there is still no direct correlation can be made between social media activity and rank.
Therefore, according to this article, social signals should not be looked at for “short term” benefits (i.e., as a direct ranking signal) but rather as a “long term” play.
Is SEO Still Relevant in 2021?
SEO is an ever-evolving field where new trends come up every day. The best way to stay ahead of the curve is to keep abreast of all these changes and adapt accordingly. As far as SEO goes, one thing remains constant – link building. While some things have changed, there are still others that remain the same. For instance, the most effective ways to get links today are precisely the same as they were years ago.
So, if you want more organic traffic from high-quality sites, focus on getting links from those websites. Over time, you will see results if you do this consistently.
You might wonder whether SEO is dead. Well, here’s my answer: No, but it needs updating. Content marketing reigns supreme in today’s world. With the rise of digital technology, businesses now have access to tools to create valuable content at scale.
This means that instead of spending hours creating blog posts, videos, infographics, write press releases, upload images, etc., companies can use these tools to create content and publish articles online. These types of content attract attention much faster than traditional forms of advertising.
In addition, since everyone uses smartphones nowadays, it makes sense to optimise your site for mobile users. After all, according to Statista, mobile accounts for approximately half of the web traffic worldwide. In the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 54.8% of global website traffic, hovering around the 50% mark since early 2017.
How Does Social Media Affect SEO?
The impact of social media on SEO has been tremendous. With so many platforms available, there are endless opportunities to connect with customers and prospects through different channels. You can use social media effectively to generate leads, increase sales conversions, improve customer service, and better understand consumer behaviour regarding brands. However, posting links regularly from social sites to your blog post won’t help you achieve any of these goals. It would be best if you optimise each piece of content you share for maximum engagement.There may be people who discover your social profile, page, or content through social media searches. Click To Tweet
Online, many free resources will teach you everything you need to know about optimising your social media presence. Here are three places to start:
You can also do things on social media that seem to impact SEO, such as optimising your social media posts and social profiles with relevant keywords.
According to Semrush, social media does not directly contribute to SEO ranking, but the links you share across social platforms increase brand exposure. They say social media adds up and influences search engine optimisation the following in six directions:
- Extensive content distribution
- Longer lifespan of your posts
- Improve online visibility and organic search traffic
- Increase brand recognition.
- Enhance brand reputation
- Boosts local search engine optimisation (SEO)
Understanding these six directions is essential, but implementing them to your marketing content on social media is even more crucial. Understanding these six directions is critical, but implementing them to your marketing content on social media is even more critical. Your business can benefit from social media, especially for ratcheting up your leads and sales.
Be aware that your social media profiles don’t just appear in social media results; your YouTube videos and social media profiles also appear in regular search results. This shows how impactful social shares can be, especially when an influential social media personality is involved.
With robust search functionalities, social media platforms also serve as valuable search engines themselves. There may be people who discover your social profile, page, or content through social media searches.
Does Google Use Social Signals to Determine Rank?
Google does indeed look at social signals when determining search rankings. This includes likes, shares, comments, retweets, clicks, and impressions. But don’t expect to see a direct correlation between social activity and higher ranking. Instead, what matters is relevance, not a direct correlation. That being said, having lots of followers doesn’t hurt either, provided that those followers are actual people who see and interact with your content. There’s no point having a million people following you on social and only ten people engaging with your content. It’s better to have one hundred people following you on social and ten of them engaging with your content.If you want to get noticed by potential customers, it makes sense to participate in social media. Click To Tweet
Should Participation in Social Media Be Done with SEO in Mind?
No! If you want to get noticed by potential customers, it makes sense to participate in social media. But not with SEO in mind—your primary reason to interact and engage with your audience and put a human face to your brand. Improving customer experience and customer service should be your primary motivation behind participation in social media.
However, if you’re looking to optimise your website for search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc., you should participate in social media. Some experts believe that social media sites such as LinkedIn and Pinterest help to boost your websites’ SEO efforts.
If you need help with your search engine optimisation (SEO) or social media marketing, schedule a consultation with me. I can usually fit you in for a one-hour, one-on-one intensive consultation session. Click here now to schedule your session. I’ll be glad to answer all your digital marketing related questions.
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