How Does Social Media Affect SEO?

Search engine optimization has grown to become one of the most important facets of the modern economy, with major corporations and small businesses alike rushing to cater to major search engines like Google in order to bolster their reach. Despite the rise of social media platforms over the past few years, however, little attention is being paid to the way that social media affects SEO, especially for small businesses trying to leverage these digital tools to make up for their lack of market share.

How does social media affect SEO, and what do business owners and marketing professionals need to know about leading platforms like Facebook and Twitter to succeed? Here’s everything we know about social media and its impact on SEO results.

Search engines have relied on social signals before

One of the most interesting aspects of SEO and social media is that major search engines like Google and Bing have previously admitted to relying on social signals before. While many modern marketing experts note that social signals would likely be a lackluster way of getting better SEO results in this day and age, just a few years ago the two biggest names in the game were tapping into social signals in an effort to deliver better results to users everywhere. This has led many to believe that Google could still be using such signal tapping today in an effort to produce next-generation SEO, though there are reasons to believe that times have changed when it comes to social media.

A former head of Google’s webspam team publicly tackled the subject of social media and SEO in the past, for instance, arguing that the company didn’t take social signals into consideration anymore when weighing results. This contradictory stance may seem confusing, but the reality of the SEO landscape is that just about every tactic under the sun has been tried at least once, so it should be of little surprise that Google once experimented with social signals but now finds them a lackluster option. The modern SEO landscape is clearly gravitating away from social signals, which seem promising but don’t deliver fantastic results.

Social activity isn’t actually meaningful at the end of the day, but the results of that social activity could be very important from an SEO standpoint. Improved rankings on Google could lead to greater social media activity around your topic, for instance, though just because people are buzzing about your product or service on Facebook you don’t want to assume they’ll be more likely to buy it. Links from social media platforms probably don’t carry the weight as links from other respected sites, either, but that doesn’t mean social media is worthless when it comes to SEO.

You can’t look at just one metric

When determining how social media affects SEO, you can’t look at just one metric. As on local SEO service company advises, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of the industry that enables you to see that increased social media activity may not impact your search results directly, but that indirect chatter could contribute to certain social signals which are demonstrably taken into consideration by leading search engines like Google when they’re combing over results. Getting people to share your content on social media when they’re immensely popular, for instance, could ignite a link building campaign which produces drastic results in your favor.

As more marketers and business owners wake up to the potential of using social media in their link building strategies, they’ll come to realize that popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter are defined by virality. When high-profile users begin posting about something, they can generate literally thousands of links in a heartbeat that can propel your results to the top of Google’s page. In this regard, social media has a huge impact on SEO that’s often misunderstood even by savvy industry professionals. At the end of the day, SEO always come down to content that’s worth linking back to, and social media platforms thrive when they have topics that engage users. Thus, SEO content that’s tailor-made to flourish on social media platforms will quickly be spread, producing social signals that indirectly boost your SEO results. Over time, more marketing professionals and small business owners will doubtlessly come to realize the important ways that social media affects SEO.

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