Social media marketing should be one of the most trusted allies of SEO.
According to research by Databox, 66% of digital marketers believe that social media shares have a direct correlation to specific pages’/post overall search ranking. The same study also found that 29% said “it does not.”
Why the disparities? The truth is far more complex.
Does social media directly boost SEO?
No, not directly.
We don’t know for sure because search engine algorithms are always evolving. Furthermore, different search engines translate social media signals differently.
According to Google, social media does not help SEO:
“social signals––metrics such as Facebook likes and Twitter followers, which indicate a profile’s authority and influence––do not affect search rankings.”
However, according to Bing, which runs the same algorithm for both Yahoo and its own platform, they are more open to the impact and have confirmed that social media does impact SEO:
“Social media plays a role in today’s effort to rank well in search results.”
Even though Google reports there is no direct impact, research backs up what other marketers believe that there is a correlation.
So, how can you use social media to boost your SEO efforts?
Four ways SEO and social media can work in tandem
1. Social media allows for stellar content promotion
Social media marketing can (indirectly) help your search engine ranking through quality content promotion.
It does not matter if you write, film, or design excellent quality keyword-optimized content.
If you do not get the traction from your follower base, who are supposed to consume it, it will be pointless.
Social media marketing helps brands promote their quality content through several channels.
Although social media shares will not have a direct impact on SEO, keeping people on your website will reduce bounce rate and increase dwell time on your website (more on that below).
Out of common sense, if you write engaging headlines, share great visuals and have quality content to back it up, more readers will click on it and potentially stay longer on-site.
2. Social media boosts brand engagement
Producing great content improves website engagement levels.
Long story short, more engagement will contribute to increase your online reputation and, eventually, help you to generate more quality leads for your business.
According to Moz content that receives a lot of social media engagement provides secondary SEO benefits:
“Always controversial, the number of social shares a page accumulates tends to show a positive correlation with rankings. Although there is a strong reason to believe Google doesn’t use social share counts directly in its algorithm, there are many secondary SEO benefits to be gained through successful social sharing.”
Boosting brand engagement is obviously more of a branding advantage than a distinct SEO advantage, yet, it contains enormous SEO benefits.
By producing high-quality content, brands can boost their awareness through improved social media engagement. An increased online brand presence is vital for Google’s E-A-T – expertise, authority and trustworthiness.
More online brand presence, more branded searches on search engines. The more branded searches a brand receives, the more likely it is to begin ranking for non-branded related keywords.
To sum up, produce content that will be both consumed and is engaging on social media.
3. Social sharing can build backlinks
Social media marketing is used to generate authentic, high-quality links from higher-ranking domains. Influencers use social media like everyone else.
With your content published on the same channels as they are on; there’s a good bet they will notice it and link to it from their sites or blogs.
Using a social media monitoring tool, you can locate influencers who discuss your topic and write to them and share your article.
High-value link building is impossible without using social media to find those interested in your brand or niche.
Social media encourages more external websites to link to your content.
The more different external links your site has, the more authority you will gain from search engines like Google.
It is vital that you do have high-quality and authoritative content; otherwise, you will not attract the backlink.
4. Boost trust utilizing Google’s partnership with Twitter
It is important to acknowledge that Google has forged a partnership with Twitter.
According to Neil Patel, Google will display tweets in search results for branded searches.
While this doesn’t have a direct impact on SEO, it will improve your website’s authority and brand awareness, and thus, can have a direct impact on your website’s click-through rates (CTR).
For example, if someone searches for your brand name in Google and the search results return your website, business location and social media profiles, your brand name will dominate the search results page—that’s a clear trust signal to the user.
Having a regular Twitter account pumping out tweets as the “pulse” of a company’s news makes it a valuable tool for brand trust and increases CTRs which is essential for SEO.
Google’s market share means we have to follow what they say.
And officially, they report that social media marketing does not directly increase your website’s organic rank in search engines.
However, based on the research we’ve shared, we know it’s not so black and white.
In fact, we’d go as far as to say that social media does play an important role in SEO.
Whether you use it for boosting content, increasing engagement, link-building, enhanced brand awareness, or increasing trust, don’t blindly follow what Google share and instead, make social media a part of your SEO strategy today.