Business owners often ask us is, “does social media support SEO?” Back in 2014 Google’s Matt Cutts said that social activity, signals like the no. of Facebook likes and Twitter followers (i.e. an entity’s authority & influence), did NOT affect search rankings. Marketers had been going forth believing that social following, as a signal for trustworthiness & quality, was factored in by Google’s search algorithm. And yet several leading authorities on the subject of Google search results continued to argue that, while social media might not be a direct factor, it certainly influenced competitive SEO rank. So, for SEO-focused marketers, what is it? Let’s have a look at how social media signals can matter, regardless of the no. of people that follow a particular business.
Top 4 Ways Social Media Can Support SEO
1. Social Network Account Post’ Outbound Links
In contrast to the statement Cutts made in 2014, he also said that Google does crawl social media accounts to the degree it is allowed. He said that if something occurs in Facebook or Twitter, for instance, that Google can crawl then it may return that as a part of a search result. And so while the authority of a social account may not impact search rank, links published in a social media account post… just might. Meaning those links from social account posts can be seen as credible back-links to a website page and thereby influence a website page’s rank for various keyword searches.
2. Social Network Account Profiles in Search Engine Results
Social network pages (i.e. Facebook Business pages) can show up in a search result for that brand. In fact, social network pages are often up towards the top of those brand-driven search results. And if social network pages matter to Google enough to show them in results when people search a brand, well then it matters to have those pages set up with current information and active useful content.
3. Social Networks Offer Search
While most people go to Google, maybe some to Bing and others, when they want to search – social networks also offer search. Albeit, the results are strictly content found in that social network, and that rarely includes the depth that a web page or pages offer. And/but so if a person who frequents Facebook, and there are a lot of people who do, decides to search in Facebook … well then it pays to be set up with current information, active useful content, and also links back to website pages. So far as this point goes, search engine optimization can and maybe should include social network pages prepared for social media searches. And by the way, YouTube is not only a place to host video content – it is a search engine too!
4. Search Algorithms Change
What Matt Cutts said in 2014 doesn’t necessarily reflect on ‘algorithmic changes’ made more recently. Social media seems to get bigger all the time, so how a search engineer factors social network pages, activity, following, and content into their algorithm may change from year to year. And Cutts represented Google, but his comments don’t reflect on how Bing’s algorithm (nor DuckDuckGo’s, for that matter) ranks content.
Will Social Media Support SEO More In The Future
Search Engines cannot sit still: in fact, the effort to answer queries usefully has got to be an ever-evolving process that adjusts to the way people use the Internet. If not, Google may find itself losing ground to upstarts like DuckDuckGo. People use the web to build relationships, reach audiences, and to share ideas. It is, in effect, social … and so as SEO-focused marketers – we have to follow suit! At a minimum, maintain your social media accounts with accurate up to date information and maybe use posts as a means to share current information PLUS links back to your website pages.
PS: We speak with a lot of business owners who haven’t necessarily thought about how a social media presence, including posting activity, is different from social media advertising. None of the above refers to social media advertising, so much as it does just having an accurate consistent (with a web presence, including website) Social network page and posting presence.