How does social engagement affect SEO?
Updated: Jul 3, 2018
When people think about the SEO (search engine optimisation) of their websites and how 'Google friendly' they are, they rarely think about their social media as a factor. Some may argue that there isn't a directly link between your social media and SEO and they'd be right, so while social media isn’t a direct ranking factor, your engagement is. Here's why:
Make it easy for readers to share your content - provide share buttons at the end of your content to all the channels you want to push them towards - the more your content is shared, the more 'valuable' Google sees it as for your chosen keywords. So, if someone searches 'social media expert', finds our blog and thinks our articles are really useful then goes on to share it through their channels, that's a big green light to Google that we are providing useful content, something Google is valuing more and more.
Social media backlinks - there has been a lot of toing and froing about whether links published on social media could be marked as credible back-links and thus influence a page’s rank. What we do know is that just as with old-fashioned webpage backlinks, Google prioritises 'authority' when it comes to social backlinks. So, if a post is shared by 100 readers to their individual smaller networks it is of less 'value' than if one 'Influencer' shares it, to their larger audience.
Your social media profiles in search engine results - as a brand, your social media profiles are definitely crawled and ranked by Google. If you 'google' your own brand you will soon see your social media channels appear, usually quite highly. This visibility for your brand may be a user's first touch-point with your business. Ensure your social profiles reflect your brand keywords succinctly as that is what will show in search results - also consider the fact that people may visit your social media channels before your brand website, so having a clear social media strategy in place is key. We can help with that.
Don't forget Google+ - on a separate note - the oft ignored social media channel, Google+ needs to be given some thought as unsurprisingly, Google puts it top and centre when it comes to search results. Make sure it is up-to-date and engaging.
Driving traffic - sharing your valuable content via social media will If your content is good and people stick around to read it, those engagement metrics communicate value to search engines.
Increase brand visibility - being active and social on social media will lead to an increase in 'brand reputation' so a larger audience, more engagement and content views. This will increase your brand recognition which in turn will lead to more brand searches on Google (you still with us?). An increase in brand searches will lead to you ranking for your non-brand terms, organically. Phew. In short, if you raise your social profile, your rankings will follow.
Remember... Social media channels are search engines in themselves - Youtube is the world's second biggest search engine. Having a clear hashtag strategy that is intrinsically linked to your SEO keyword strategy is vital (although we are moving away from the term 'keyword' and focussing on 'natural language key phrases - but that's another post). We have a downloadable e-book that will help you create a clear hashtag plan for your business, or let us create one for you in a 1-2-1 social media training session.