According to a recent Infographic by Quickspout that illustrated the 2013 State of Search Marketing Report by Econsultancy, 74% of surveyed companies and 84% of surveyed SEO agencies stated that they either somewhat or highly integrate social media in their SEO strategy. Although Google’s Matt Cutt recently stated that Google does not factor social signals (metrics like Twitter followers and Facebook likes) in the Google search algorithm, social media is still good for SEO. Read: https://www.stonetemple.com/googles-matt-cutts-understanding-social-identity-on-the-web-is-hard/
- Link on social media accounts are credible backlinks
Although Google has ruled out social signals as impacting SEO, it has not ruled out the impact of links on SEO. According to Brian Honigman, a marketing consultant and indeed many an SEO agency, there’s a big likelihood that Google considers links in social media accounts when determining ranking since Google regards organic link building very highly. In any case, if you post a blog post and it goes viral on Twitter, the new links will definitely boost the post’s ranking in SERPs. Read: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/social-media-and-seo/
Note that although Google has not been committal on the matter of links (saying it does and later that it does not in a 2010 interview with Danny Sullivan for Search Engine Watch), Bing said it definitely factored in links from social media accounts when determining ranking. You can get links through generating original content and encouraging sharing. You therefore need social icons on your site. Links will tell search engines that your site is credible. Even without SEO, these types of links are important because you will benefit greatly if your posts go viral.
- Social media profiles influence ranking
Although social signals are out when it comes to SEO and it is not clear if shares/links influence ranking, one thing that is guaranteed is that social media profiles influence ranking. The prominence search engines places on social media profiles is best illustrated by the top ranking of these profiles on SERPs. If you search “General Electric” right now, you will get the company’s Google+ profile info at the sidebar on the right on top of the SERP and the Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter profiles on the first page.
Social media channels feel more personal compared to web pages and they are more likely to give you an overview of the company’s personality. People who want to research companies they do not know typically visit their Facebook or Twitter pages.
- Social media channels have search engine features
Nowadays, web users are not restricted to Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other major search engines. In 2012, Facebook reports that it got daily search queries in the region of one billion. By March 2010, YouTube was getting about 3.7 billion queries monthly. As for Twitter, it was getting 19 billion monthly search queries as of 2010.
Social media channels have search features that are increasingly popular for visitors who are looking stuff up. SEO should therefore include the searches that happen here. If you are a brand that offers appealing visual content, you will benefit greatly from posting on Instagram and Pinterest and using appropriate hash tags to categorize what you are offering. To make the most out of the social media channel search engine features:
- Make sure it is easy for users to identify your official social profile since when people do a social media search, different profiles that match the keyword pop up.
- Do keyword optimization on your social media profile (on the skeleton of the profile and on the content).
- Delete duplicate accounts.
- Label your different accounts so that users know their purpose (such as HR, general brand, and press).
- Social media is good for local SEO
Local SEO is the best SEO because people who know you and where you are located are more likely to buy from you. Social media channels give you the perfect opportunity to engage with your local community by interacting with local brands or by participating in, and writing about tradeshows, festivals, and other local events. The local-specific content, if shared, will be picked up by search engines and improve your local SEO efforts.
- Increased brand awareness
This might not seem like an SEO advantage, but if you improve the reputation of your brand through social media (through high-quality content and engagement), your online brand presence will increase. This will lead to increased branded searches on search engines, which will eventually lead to higher ranking for non-branded keywords. This might seem like a complicated relationship, but a strong social media presence will lead to improved search visibility on the web. Note that whereas it is completely acceptable to promote your brand/products on social media, this direct advertising is frowned upon on the content of traditional websites, making social media effective in natural inclusion of keywords and keyword phrases that would sound unnatural on your website content.
- Google treats Facebook and Twitter posts like other web pages
Although Facebook and Twitter posts are not used to determine ranking, Google regards them as other web pages. Each Facebook post and every Twitter tweet is treated as a separate web page. Although the capacity of Google to index web pages is increasing, note the sheer volume of social media posts makes it impossible for Google to index everything and they use search engine algorithms to determine what is worth crawling. You should therefore create quality content that is worth sharing because this will increase chances of crawling by search engine bots. Read: http://searchengineland.com/googles-matt-cutts-facebook-twitter-pages-are-treated-like-any-other-web-page-on-the-internet-182370
- Images are a strong SEO magnet
Most social media channels allow for the use of images on the content. Quality, original images that have image tags are used by search engines to determine ranking. Note that it is not always possible to use the right number of images on a website because this usually leads to slow loading speeds and they compete with your content.
Although Google says it does not use social signals to determine ranking today, this is not to say it will never consider them. You should therefore continue aggressively using social media for SEO and for the many other benefits you get such as increased exposure, increased interaction with customers and potential customers, and low rollout and maintenance costs.
Derek Iwasiuk is an expert in SEO. He integrates SMM with SEO for clients in Minneapolis and its environs. His SEO agency also offers other related services such as online reputation management and pay-per-click.