Any digital marketer will tell you that SEO is crucial for getting your website found online. Search engine optimization is more than just using appropriate keywords, though. There are plenty of on-site and off-site factors taken into account when creating a good SEO strategy. One SEO question we often get is whether social media impacts search rankings. While social media is not a ranking factor in and of itself, it can impact your SEO. Here’s what you should know about SEO and social media.
Types of SEO Factors
SEO is about attracting relevant organic traffic to your website. Different search engines have proprietary algorithms to determine which results they will provide during a search. No one publicizes these, though industry experts often share what they have learned about Google ranking factors through testing and what may impact them.
I mentioned on-site and off-site factors above. When Google’s algorithm decides where your website should rank for a particular keyword, it takes a look at specific factors on your website and off of your website.
On-site ranking factors include the keywords you use in your content, alt text, and metadata; your site hierarchy; user-friendliness; page-load speed; and more. All of these factors are predominantly in your control. You can fix your headings, create more keyword-rich content, organize your site better, etc.
Off-site ranking factors include your Google Business Profile, reviews, backlinks, directory listings (like Yelp), and social signals.
Some of these factors are in your control, while others aren’t. While you can create directory listings for your site and business, you can’t leave reviews for your business or control what people say about it.
Off-site factors help showcase how trustworthy and authoritative your business is, both of which are important for ranking well. For example, reviews show what people think of your business. Listings and your Google Business Profile help show that you are who you say you are.
You may have noticed that social signals are an off-site ranking factor. So what are these social signals, and how do they play into your rankings?
How Social Media Impacts Your SEO
Your social media accounts allow you to reach more people and share your content. You can build a community and increase your brand recognition through social media.
In this way, you can impact web traffic to your site. When people share your posts, they are expanding your reach and helping you reach even more people.
While this won’t help you rank higher on its own, this will help influence other factors that help you rank higher. So if people are sharing your posts and linking to them, if those are quality backlinks, you are positively impacting your SEO.
Now, social signals are believed to be a part of local SEO. However, estimates place it at around 2% of a ranking. This is likely from the directory listing aspect of social media. It serves as another NAP (name, address, phone number) listing for your business and helps verify that your business is legitimate.
Similarly, the brand mentions, likes, shares, and backlinks may help make up those social signals.
Again, we’re dealing with proprietary algorithms. We know based on what people have tested, studied, and learned over time. This is our best guess right now, and an algorithm change could alter this in the future.
How to Get the Most from Your SEO and Social Media Connection
While there’s no direct link between followers and SEO rankings, you should still consider how your social media can support your larger goals. To maximize your social media and ensure that it supports your SEO goals, do these five things.
Create a Social Media Strategy
Posting without a plan may get you some followers. But to get the most from your social media accounts, you should create a measurable strategy that you can amend as needed.
Your social media strategy should detail what platforms you will be posting to, how frequently you will be posting, and what types of posts you will be creating. You want to consistently post and do so in a way that aligns with your brand mission and goals.
Share and Reshare Your Content
You’ve worked hard generating exciting blog posts, infographics, images, videos, and more. Make sure they get seen by sharing them widely across your social media channels. Don’t just post them once! Create multiple posts by pulling out different quotes and asking questions. If your content is evergreen, you can reshare it periodically every few weeks or months.
Also, think about how you can repurpose your content. Can you turn a blog post into a video you can post on your social channels? Can you do a Facebook live about an adjacent topic and then link to your blog post?
Social media is all about being social. If you want to get the most benefit from it, you should actively engage with your followers. Respond to comments, like other people’s photos or comments, and truly create a conversation. If it feels too one-sided, people will stop engaging with your brand. Some of the most successful social media accounts are those that provide a unique voice and who are actively engaging with their audience. They don’t always focus on selling—they focus on brand awareness.
Your social media strategy should detail your brand voice and discuss the type of imagery that is appropriate for your posts. It should help you create a space where you can positively express your brand persona in an authentic way. You want to focus on unique images and steer clear of stock photography if possible.
Don’t Just Rely on Social
Ultimately, you don’t own your social media channels. If something happens to one of your accounts, you may need to start over. Similarly, if algorithm changes impact who can see your posts, you may find yourself with limited visibility.
To ensure you’re getting the most out of your accounts, regularly send your followers to your website to sign up for your newsletter or SMS lists. These are lists you own that can’t be taken away from you. While you’ll need to adhere to federal guidelines (don’t worry, most platforms take care of this for you), your lists provide you with a direct link to your customers. And yes, people are willing to open your newsletters!
SEO & Social Media: Conclusion
SEO and social media are linked, but not directly. That doesn’t mean you should ignore social media, though. Social media can boost your brand visibility and introduce you to new potential customers. It can also be a part of our customer service experience.
We hope this post has given you a better idea of the impact that your social media can have on your search rankings. If you were hoping that they were more closely related and that your high follower count would lead to a better Google ranking, don’t worry. An SEO strategy that incorporates a thorough website audits, on-site improvements, and a keyword-rich content strategy can help you improve your rankings and organic traffic.
Ready to get started? Let’s chat and brainstorm about how we can help you reach your goals.