In the world of SEO it is often questioned whether or not social signals such as likes, shares or retweets, are taken into account when determining the rank of a webpage. In the past, google has openly stated that social media signals do not have a place in google's rank algorithms. In light of this revelation it seems that many SEO’s have began functioning under the misconception that social media doesn’t have a huge role in SEO.
1. Social Media is a Search Engine
Google, Bing and Yahoo are still the favoured search engines for everyday use, but social media platforms now act as search engines as well. Facebook and Twitter alike allow you to go beyond just googling a person's name, they help properly vet a person you may be about to date or employ. What's more, Twitter has become a valid research tool in the education industry, and tweets can now be APA referenced to be used by high-schoolers as primary sources.
2. Social Media Ranks
As a result of the way social media is now being used, social media pages can now rank even though google doesn't use social signals in it’s ranking algorithms. This is attributed to the belief that google treats posts on social media as content, and will crawl through and index as necessary. In line with this, it is not uncommon that social media pages with good content will rank and are regularly found on the front page of search engine results. From this, it is easy to deduce that companies who optimise their social media pages get ranked the same way as a well structured website with good content would.
A solid example of this is Snickers, upon googling “snickers” their website is ranked first, followed by their twitter, one of their ad campaigns, a wikipedia page, news updates and then finally, their facebook account. If you look at the front page 33% of the results for this high profile business are social media accounts.
3. Sharing and Retweeting
Social media is specifically designed to connect its users to new people and new products. It is no secret that social media is a really effective place to push your brand and raise awareness about your site. What makes social media even better is that it gives users the ability to share your content in an array of ways, ranging from likes to retweets. As an SEO, to really use social media to your advantage you have to be doing the following things;
Posting stellar content that draws people in
Making sure your content is relevant to your audience
Ensuring you are appropriately tagging your posts
Always have your content linking back to your website
These steps seem easy enough, but if you aren’t reaching the right audience with the right information then maintaining a social media page for your product/business becomes completely redundant.
4. Strong Brand Identity
At the end of the day, social media for a business is much the same as personal social media. It invites followers and users to explore what your product is and what your company is about. It is an important step in bringing business through the door and strengthening your brand’s image.
Your social media accounts and your website should be kindred spirits, they need to compliment and strengthen each other to help rank higher, which is the primary goal of any good SEO.
All SEO’s know that link building is the most important step in boosting rank scores, but it is important to keep up with the changes that are happening in our industry or risk being left behind. The role that social media has within SEO is continually growing, and who knows, in the coming years it could become one of the primary factors in SEO.