When business owners or marketers ask about Social Media and SEO , they usually want to know:
Will my social media profiles and posts influence my website's search engine ranking?
The short answer: it's complicated. Longer answer: not with Google, yes with Bing, and yes if you count how social media can indirectly help your website.
Read on to learn more about the relationship between social media and SEO.
Google does NOT consider social signals when ranking websites, while Bing does. Social signals are metrics such as the number of followers, likes, comments, shares, and retweets for a profile.
Bing includes these metrics as factors when ranking your website because, in the increasingly social nature of the Internet, social signals can indicate the authority of your website. The Bing Webmaster Guidelines state:
“Social media plays a role in today's effort to rank well in search results. The most obvious part he plays is through influence. If you're a social influencer, your followers tend to share your information widely, which in turn causes Bing to see these positive signals. These positive signals can have an impact on how your site ranks organically in the long run.”
If you can build a strong social media following, your website will have a better chance of ranking well on Bing. And with more than a third of searches in the United States in 2018 , Bing should be part of your SEO strategy.
On the other hand, Google still does not directly take into account the performance of social networks when collecting information about web pages. This happens for two reasons:
Social signals can easily be faulty data. Think of the hacking scandals and fake account stories that have made the news in the last year alone.
Google doesn't actually have access to all the data on social media platforms. Privacy restrictions are a limitation for Google trackers.
Instead, Google looks at your website's page content and backlinks to determine your website's ranking.
Google's algorithm is designed to bring the most relevant and authoritative page to the top of the results for each query.
Relevancy comes from how closely your page content addresses the searcher's query, while authority comes from the number and quality of links to your website.
Learn more about SEO
“But wait!” you say. “I have a lot of links from my Facebook page to my website. Do these links help the authority of my website?
Unfortunately not. Most social media links to an external website automatically have the "rel=nofollow" tag, which means that search engine crawlers are directed not to follow the link and not transfer the site's PageRank. social networks to the external site.
In short, Google does not use social signals and social-based backlinks when ranking your website.
However, as Google's search algorithms continually evolve, Google may incorporate social signals in the future.
In the meantime, there are still plenty of ways that social media can indirectly support your website.
Scroll down to discover more!
Social media pages remain essential to a successful marketing strategy because they are another digital space for your target audience to find and engage with you.
Additionally, your social media profiles can help your business website:
- Maintain your own positions in Google rankings
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive more traffic to your website
It's crucial to note that even though Google doesn't connect social signals to your website, the company still crawls social websites for data. Google's last official word on social media and SEO came from Matt Cutts in this video from 2014 .
In his explanation, Cutts made sure to emphasize: “Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other page in our web index, so if something happens on Twitter or Facebook and we can crawl it, then we can return it in our search results. ”.
This means that your social media profiles can rank themselves in search engines, especially if those pages have a lot of traffic.
By maintaining their own positions on Google, their social media profiles can appear alongside your website on the Google search results page, taking up even more valuable space.
So, once visitors land on your social media profile, you'll have another chance to communicate your brand and invite them to visit your website.
Increasing brand awareness is especially key for small and medium-sized businesses to advance their industries.
Social media platforms offer a way to spread the word about your business and build a loyal audience, people who are more likely to buy from you or recommend you to others.
Finally, social networks help your website generate more traffic.
If you share high-quality content and update and optimize your social networks according to your brand image, people will naturally follow links to your website.
You could even get backlinks when people browse your website or read your blog articles, then insert links from their own websites to yours.
Be sure to include and prioritize social media in your marketing strategy to support both your website and business together.
Social media signals may not influence the Google-related SEO of your website, but you can use SEO tactics to boost your social media profiles to even greater success.
How? By applying the same keyword strategy you use for your website to your social media profiles.
By using your target keywords in your social media profiles and posts, you will not only be able to rank on Google and Bing, but also within the social media websites themselves.
Social networking websites are also search engines!
In fact, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.
People search social networking websites all the time and if your profile is optimized for terms relevant to your business, your profile will be much more visible.
In addition to incorporating keywords, make it easy for people to find your business by using hashtags on Twitter and categorizing your pins on Pinterest.
Check out this article that explains the best use of hashtags for marketing .
Lastly, mention or tag influencers and discuss influencer marketing to see if it could help your business.
SEO is all about optimization and when you apply the same techniques to your social media profiles, you will definitely see the difference in performance.
Take a look at some social media optimization ideas in the image below:
- Optimize your posts and profiles.
- Add social media profile links to your home page.
- Add social sharing buttons to your newsletters and individual blog posts.
- Add custom social media widgets to page sidebars.
- Interconnect different social profiles.
- Write optimized social posts when you're creating new content.
- Adds social comment functionality.
- Add Google authorship for website contributors.
While the fact is that Google's algorithm ignores social indicators, and social media isn't directly considered a ranking factor, social media does have its uses in the long run!
Don't ignore the social media landscape to focus only on SEO and organic search.
In this competitive business climate, leave no stone unturned to reach your target audience, including social media.
Remember the positive effects detailed above: increased traffic and backlinks, increased brand awareness, and the ability to build relationships with potential customers.
These are the strategies that will eventually make you stand out from your rivals and help you improve both your search engine ranking and your business over time.