Social Media Doesn’t Impact SEO? Not Quite

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Google has come out multiple times saying that social media (or social signals) are not used for ranking. Matt Cutts, former head of web spam at Google, came out with this information in a 2014 video and Googlers are still referencing this video now when they’re asked about it. So, does that mean that social media doesn’t impact SEO? Not at all. Social media is still a very important part of an overall SEO campaign because it indirectly has an impact on ranking over time. Here are 3 ways that social media absolutely does impact SEO:

Builds a brand

At a high level, SEO is all about gaining trust from the search engines. Of course, the search engines are robots with complex algorithms, so it’s really about gaining trust from web users (specifically other website owners) in order to gain inbound links that are indeed a ranking factor. One important way to build a brand (and earn trust) online today is to have a robust social media presence. Keep your profiles up to date, share useful information with followers that establishes your business/website as a credible resource, and actually take the time to interact with followers. This will help to build a brand over time which will result in natural links over time.

Builds relationships

Think about what website owners are more likely to link over to: a website in which they have an established professional relationship with the owner (or at least know who they are and what they stand for) or a website that they don’t know the history of. More often than not, it’s the former. This means that as a website owner looking for inbound links, part of your SEO responsibility is to get out there and build relationships with other website owners. Social media is a great place to start. Determine who the website owners/influencers are that you’d like to connect with and follow and like them in social media. Actually read their posts, comment on them, like them, and share them. Once you get their attention they might be willing to return the favor, or even better, link over to your website.

Builds exposure

Writing great content and publishing it on your website is a necessity for SEO today, but it’s not exactly “publish it and they will come.” Publishing the content is only part of the job. The other, equally important part, is promoting that content to interested parties. As long as you’ve invested in building up your social media profiles, you’ll have a build-in audience to share your content with. Since the organic reach of social media posts is notoriously low, it’s worthwhile to have even a small budget for social advertising to ensure that followers see what you’re posting. When you increase the exposure of your content in social media you’re increasing the chances that someone will link over to it.

Google might not be looking at your social profiles and ranking you based on likes/follows etc. But that doesn’t mean that social media activity has no impact on SEO. There’s certainly a correlation as long as you take a strategic approach to social media.

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