Social media, now being popularly used for online marketing, has created a huge impact on businesses that are quite hard to defeat as of this moment. Several published articles and studies have proved how this field has evolved over the past few months and years – how search engines’ formula of success has changed, making content as king.
Social Media Channels packed with SEO benefits
Businesses here in Montreal have integrated social media into their SEO strategies. I am sure this is true in other places too. It has helped them boost brand awareness. When a company’s social media presence is established correctly, it tells people you’re your brand is active, legit, and open for suggestions or opinions. You get more likes and followers – an instant way to stardom!
But all of these benefits were denied by Matt Cutts from Google. Everyone was doomed when he said that metrics like followers and likes do not actually play a role in the ranking. So which is true? Let us try to dig deeper to know more about the real effect of social media on SEO.
A Little History
As mentioned earlier, Cutt’s words that Google does not include social signs when determining a page rank came as a shocking news for everybody in the web marketing business. Why? Because in 2010, through a video, he himself said that social media will play a role in ranking.
This statement was actually supported by other studies in 2013, which was presented by Quicksprout. Danny Sullivan, who even communicated with Google and Bing, even said that who you are as a person on your social accounts can greatly affect your performance in the regular web search.
So it is understandable why web marketers are now dismayed when 3 years after, Google will tell them that they do not care about social signals anymore.
Despite all these bad news, Patel, the man behind Quicksprout, still encourages marketers to maximize the use of their social media accounts for business. He strongly believes that social is the new SEO and the numbers are really quite hard to ignore.
But how can an expert like Patel be convinced that social media is indeed a powerful tool and is worth investing in? Let us identify 5 important things that every online marketer should know about social media SEO.
Social Links’ Effect on Search Ranking
Considering that profile’s authority are out, does Google still look into links included on social media accounts? Does Google still consider them as an effective strategy to improve backlinks? Once a blog or article becomes viral online, do they not increase search ranking?
Several marketers, including Brian Honigman, think that links to a website via social accounts do actually create an impact on rankings. According to him, these links help search engines acknowledge your credibility and should be ranked for used keyword phrases.
Does the number of times a link has been retweeted affect the ranking? There has been contradicting statements from the experts themselves. But one thing is clear, Google crawls social sites for data in the same manner that it would on any other pages. So, Facebook, Twitter, and other social accounts are treated just like any other pages in the web index. Anything that happens onto these portals can be crawled, thus, can be returned in the search results.
To summarize, links included on social media are considered to be credible backlinks and can affect page ranks.
Social Site Profiles Rank in Search Engines
While there is still confusion if a social share will or will not affect a page’s rank in the search results, your profiles will certainly have a direct effect on the content of your search results. Actually, social sites are among the first results in listings for brand names. If you would type the word General Electric, Pinterest and Instagram, and Twitter profiles are all in the top 10.
Social sites appear to be more personal than websites, thus making a deeper connection with its viewers. If you are looking for a brand or service, you would readily search if they have a Facebook account, right? So if social accounts show up on the listings first, then people would just likely to click on it than to visit their actual website.
To summarize, your social profiles are important to Google and to your viewers. These social portals help people know more about you and your business in a more personal way. Having said that, it pays to have a good profile with updated information and relative contents.
Social Channels Are Search Engines
Social media channels allow us to talk about the trends today. How many of you do still use Google or other search engines to look for items or services online? How do you shop these days? Aren’t you searching on Facebook or Instagram first before opening a regular browser on your mobile devices or desktops?
People are more often online on their social media accounts; hence, this has become the preferred channels to search and shop online. People are more interested in viewing items or other visual contents on Pinterest or Instagram instead of searching them one by one on the company’s site or browser. Hashtags are also a big help! It allows people to see different selections of items from different companies with just a single hashtag. And if they like what they saw? A single click on share, like, or retweet is easy. How can it not be convenient for everyone?
Check the stats on how much people are using their social accounts to look for items or services online:
- Twitter had 19 billion search queries monthly as of 2010. This is 5 times more than what Bing had.
- Facebook reached 1 billion search queries daily as of 2012.
- YouTube averaged 3.7 billion search queries monthly as of 2010. Approximately 100 hours of videos are being updated every minute. No doubt it has become the biggest content repositories online.
With all these numbers, it is indeed advisable to encourage companies to improve their concept of SEO on social channels.
“Not Now” Could Just Be Temporary
Even if Google says that social signals do not affect search ranking now, does not mean that it will not change for good. Social channels show no sign of becoming less popular anytime soon. More so, given that link building techniques like guest posting or blogging have become a less preferred way to promote a site, it is safe to say that search engines will soon start to look for other ways to determine authority and value.
As of now, there is not enough reason why social channels won’t start affecting rankings in the near future. It is best to invest on them now and use it as one of your SEO strategies.
Google may have changed their mind about the use of social channels, but always remember what Bing told Sullivan. It is not the social authority of the user that they are after for. They are more concerned on how many people follow you and this can affect the listing of a regular search result.
Even if Cutt has claimed that Google does not look at social signals for rankings, marketers are still willing to improve and widen their use of these portals to make their brands known to many. They are more encouraged to try social media accounts and focus on its positive effects. With the numbers presented above, marketers believe that there can be increased traffic from tweets, likes, and shares, and these will eventually have an impact on search and page rankings.
After all, the web world is all about inviting audiences, establishing relationships, showing off identities, and sharing contents – all of which are social in nature. One of the rules of SEO is to make the web much more enticing and useful for viewers, so there is no reason to go against social channels today.