In late 2010, a completely new factor affecting search rankings emerged – social signals. Matt Cutts of Google confirmed that the search engine will now look at social media presence and activity while deciding the search ranking of websites. And since then, the impact of social media on search rankings has only grown stronger.
Ways How Social Signal Affects Search Rankings And SEO
1. Social Signals Boost Search Rankings Directly
Social signals, by their very presence boost search rankings. There are 2 important social signals
- Increased social recommendations and higher social sharing for content
- Social sharing by power social media users.
The logic here is that people will share content only if it is relevant and adds value. Likewise authority social media users who are usually niche influencers and have tons of followers will not recommend or share content unless they are convinced it will add value to readers.
Thus when search engines come across content that has received a large number Facebook likes, Twitter tweets, Google+1s etc and/or had been shared by a power social media user, they perceive the content to be highly relevant and valuable and suitably bump up the search rankings.
2. Social Media Increases Website Traffic
Social media incidentally serves as a platform to get the word out about your new content. Let’s say you have compiled interesting research findings or you have written an amazing post that you are sure will add value to readers. Share a link to your content on your social media pages with an excerpt that arouses curiosity to read the post. When people from your social circle click through to your website to read the content, it registers as a traffic surge to the search engines. Search engines take notice and accordingly increase the search ranking of your website with respect to that search term. (Of course, the more fans and followers you have, the more pronounced is this effect). Without social media, you might have lost this opportunity for traffic surge to your website.
3. Social Media Increases Chances of Attracting Relevant Organic Back Links
Building links has always been an important part of SEO efforts. The focus has always been on natural, organic back links from relevant websites. When you share content on social media, it receives wide spread exposure and it is possible that at least some people will link back to your content from their own websites. And when someone shares it further, your content is now accessible to a lot more people than would have been possible by your solo efforts. This further multiplies chances of your content receiving more natural back links, which enhance search rankings.
4. Social Media can Bump up Your Website Authority
Website authority is a crucial factor for high search rankings. Social media provides the perfect platform for you to exhibit your expertise and knowledge with regard to your niche, which can enhance your site authority in the niche and contribute to enhancing search rankings.
Naturally, this does not happen overnight and requires a consistent social media strategy, incorporating high value original content, expert comments on trending posts, interacting with peers and influencers, and offering to help and guide and in general, add value to the community. Over time, you will observe that your content is being shared extensively and content that you share experiences an immediate bump in rankings. These are signs that you are an authority figure and points to your increased website authority. And now you can look forward to enhanced search rankings.
5. Social Media Profiles and Results are Being Ranked in the SERP
Google has been increasingly incorporating social media profiles in the organic results. This makes it easier for you to dominate first page of the SERP with your profiles, from where traffic can click thru to your website.
Also, results from social media, such as say Pinterest, YouTube etc are occupying tops spots in the organic search results. So even if your website is not ranking particularly high, it is possible that an image you posted on Pinterest has achieved top ranking. And as all Pinterest images have a link back to the original website, you can look forward to greater traffic, which may even enhance the rankings of your website.
What has been your experience in using social media for enhancing search rankings?