Things You Need To Know About SEO & Social Media
Since the dawn of social media & SEO, people have had their own ideas on how social media impacts a website’s SEO performance. Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are renowned for the fact that every piece of content is generated by a user – so can these users truly impact SEO by publishing their own backlinks on such big websites? Find out in this blog, amongst other things you need to know about when it comes to social media and SEO.
Do Social Media Backlinks Impact SEO?
Social links, also known as social signals, have an unknown impact on a website’s SEO. Some people will swear by the fact that they can rank websites with social media backlinks alone, whereas others will laugh and ridicule at the slightest hint of someone claiming social media backlinks will have an impact on SEO. So, what does Google say?
Back in 2014, Google’s Matt Cutts made clear that social signals such as likes, shares etc do not affect search rankings and are not factored into Google Search algorithms. Pretty simple right? Well it’s actually not. Many marketers already knew this: most people never claimed that your Facebook likes will have an impact on your search rankings. However, Google’s stance did make things more clear: social signals do not DIRECTLY impact your search rankings – but they can impact it indirectly:
A common and powerful linkbuilding technique is viral content. If your content goes viral, it is immensely shared across social media. This doesn’t change anything as far as SEO is concerned. But the massive online attention can lead to people going to Google and searching for your viral content as opposed to going directly from social media to your content. With Google as a middle man, they can see that your content is driving a lot of clicks and people want to see your website in the search results. Additionally, media outlets and journalists can pick up on the story and feature your content with a backlink. These links will be massively powerful and will undoubtedly boost your website’s SEO.
Short answer: social media backlinks do not directly impact SEO.
Can Social Media Profiles Rank In Search Results?
Whilst social media links cannot impact your website’s SEO, it can still influence users when they search for your business. If you search for a business online, you don’t just expect the business website to appear. You also expect their social media profiles to appear in the search results as well.
By having a strong social presence in the search results for your brand, you are building trust with the customer. If your social media profiles are not showing up in the search results, you are at risk of losing potential customers because they do not trust businesses without social media profiles.
Short answer: yes they can.
Don’t Forget Bing
Everyone knows Google is the big dog when it comes to online traffic and search engines, but we can’t forget about Bing which is the runner-up. Google may not use social signals for SEO, but Bing has been pretty clear and open about the fact that they do use social media as a way to rank websites, as described in the Bing webmaster guidelines:
Social media plays a role in today’s effort to rank well in search results… these positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run.
Short answer: Bing uses social signals for website SEO.
Not Now Does Not Mean Never
Google’s current stance is that social signals do not impact SEO. However, we all know that SEO is a constantly changing and evolving area of marketing & Google is constantly making updates to their own algorithms. Ultimately, SEO and the web as a whole is about building relationships, and social media is a major part of that. So while social media may not currently impact your SEO rankings, theres no way of knowing whether Google will always keep to that stance, and even if they do change their stance they probably won’t announce it.