If you follow Google’s various announcements about their page ranking methodology you may have seen some confusing messages about their views on social media links. Specifically, whether they help or hinder SEO and influence your search page rankings.
The consensus among the experts is that while links to your website from social media platforms may not count as a direct page-ranking factor, they do matter when it comes to indirect factors.
What does this mean?
There are four key elements to on-page SEO. These are the things that your customers see on your website and are the non-technical features you can manage yourself without needing intervention from your friendly neighbourhood geek:-
1. Content – keep it fresh, original and updated
2. Links – have plenty of internal and external links
3. Keywords – use the right ones for your business and use them intelligently
4. Social sharing – read on…
To be noticed by search engines these four elements need to work together. You can create great content with top-rated keywords and an abundance of links, but if no-one sees it then it’s a waste of time. Publishing then hoping for the best is not the way to go.
Social sharing builds your fan base and your SEO credibility
Here’s where your social media activities come into play. Because while links from social media may not directly help with SEO, the traction and interest that you get from the audience you attract on social media definitely will.
What counts with Google and other search engines is a web page’s authority and reputation. How do you get that? By creating interest in your website and driving traffic to it, that’s how. The more people land on your site, look around it and engage with it, the better for your SEO.
That’s why you should judiciously use social media in tandem with your website content to build your audience and site traffic. The more social media followers you get, the more traffic you can drive to your site, the more authority it will gain, and the more page ranking love you’ll get in return.
Fun fact: 90% of all marketers say that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
Build an audience, don’t buy one
Your goal here is to be a credible source, and you gain that credibility by gaining quality followers. Note the emphasis on the word “quality”. Don’t fall for anyone who offers to bulk-buy social media followers for you. It’s a scam. Google sees everything and can recognise a rent-a-crowd from ten miles away. This will harm your authority with Google and then your page ranking. It will take time and effort but building your audience one follower at a time is the only way to go.
One final word: for social media to help your SEO you need to optimise your social media postings. This will make them searchable. If a local audience is important to you then you should also include location-specific information to show up in local search results.