Social signals – comments, likes etc… – have no effect on organic SEO. That much is true; Matt Cutts says so. But that doesn’t mean that social media and SEO aren’t intertwined.
Even the effect of social media backlinks is a little murky. Are they credible? There’s no clear answer, though they certainly can’t hurt.
But this uncertainty doesn’t mean that social media shouldn’t feature heavily in your SEO strategy. There are tangible ways in which social media can contribute to the overall performance of your website.
SEO and social media do go together. But how?
Links as a Result of Social Media
Though links within social media platforms are an unknown quantity, the links they have the potential to generate aren’t.
Having a bigger, better presence on social media can encourage linking on the websites of users of social media. Update your Twitter following with a delicious recipe, for instance, and they could well go away, give it a go and post a link back to your original recipe.
Social media links may be a difficult to quantify in terms of SEO, but backlinks from respected websites aren’t. The greater the number of good quality backlinks a page has, the better it will perform in search engines.
Traffic & Search Volume
If you’re successful on social media it can be a great tool for driving traffic to your site. Facebook, Pinterest and even Twitter can be fantastic ways of getting people to view your content.
Though it’s a little more complicated than traffic=SEO (bounce rate, time on page), Google uses traffic as a good indicator of authority. And it certainly doesn’t hurt for Google to think you’re an authority on a certain topic.
But what isn’t always considered is the branding benefit social media can bring. If your brand has a positive presence on social media it has the potential to increase the search volume your brand name gains.
These days, the terms users have searched to reach your site are difficult to quantify. But leaving a positive brand impression on social media certainly makes you more searchable.
Social Search Engines
Google is the de-facto most popular search engine; that inarguable. But it absolutely isn’t the only place people turn to for search. In addition to other popular search engines like Bing, users also head to social media platforms for their search.
Should a client or potential business partner want to check out your company, they’re just as likely to navigate to your social media channels as they are your website. If you’ve got a positive, well-optimised following on each channel, that can only be a good thing in the minds of those looking into your business.
And now we’ve mentioned Bing, it would be rude not to get their take of the standing of social media in SEO. It’s a little more clear-but than Google’s stance:
“We take into consideration how often a link has been tweeted or retweeted, as well as the authority of the Twitter users that shared the link.” – Bing
Clearly, then, even though Google doesn’t add a huge amount of weight to social signals, Bing is doing more to incorporate those metrics into their search algorithm.
Social Profiles in Search
When you have an established brand or business, it can be difficult to look past the SEO of your main website. After all, it is – probably – your main tool for online conversion.
In fact, search your business on Google – or any business with social profile, for that matter – and you’ll find they appear impressively high in results.
So even if social media platforms had absolutely no impact on SEO in anyway, having those channels active for your business can help people discover your brand. And because social channels tend to be more personal than websites, they’re often the first place people go.
SEO and Social Media – Conclusion
Despite Bing’s stance on the matter, social signals remain only a small part of how well your site performs in terms of SEO. But the matter isn’t as clear cut as all that. Search engine optimisation techniques are varied; both direct an indirect. Social media feeds into that.
Having properly optimised social media channels that do a great job of engaging users can have an impact on your SEO efforts and wider marketing approach in more ways than one. If you social media channels are on the back foot it could be time to rectify that.