Way back in 2008, Search Engine Watch published an influential article entitled “ Social Media and SEO — Friends with Benefits?” Clearly, in terms of internet marketing, 2008 is ancient history. (The article even mentions primeval artifacts of the online world such as Mixx, Digg, and Myspace in a short list of the most influential social media sites.) That said, the title of the article was clever, and the metaphor rings true even in 2018.
The relationship between social media presence and search engine rankings is complicated. (Insert a “friends with benefits” quip here, if you’re into extended metaphors.) In short, a good social media presence won’t directly boost your search engine rankings, but it can help out in a meaningful way. Google has been rather secretive about this aspect of their algorithm; however, it is possible to make a few educated guesses and logical conclusions:
SOCIAL SHARES BUILD AUTHORITY
It is safe to assume that social shares count as backlinks, but do not carry the same weight that an ultra high-quality backlink from an authoritative website might. Back when esteemed software engineer Matt Cutts was head of Google’s web spam team, he released a Webmasters QnA video in which he said, “we do use Twitter and Facebook links and rankings, as we always have in our web search rankings. But in addition, we’re also trying to figure out a little bit about the reputation of an author or creator on Twitter or Facebook.”
In other words, if your newest blog post gets one hundred social media shares, this is definitely positive news for your search engine results. However, it is probably not as powerful as getting one hundred backlinks from, say, the biggest newspapers in the world.
SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES RANK DIRECTLY ON GOOGLE
You have probably seen this occur first hand: perhaps you’ve searched for a business on Google and their Twitter profile was one of the top results; or perhaps you Googled a friend, co-worker, or romantic interest and saw their Facebook profile in your search engine results. Building solid social media profiles across a variety of networks is a great way of ensuring that your organization dominates the first page of search engine results whenever potential visitors search your company name.
For brand new businesses (or businesses who are brand new to the internet), your social media profiles may actually begin ranking well on Google long before your website itself gains that level of authority. This is another reason why new businesses should never neglect their social media presence.
SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTES BENEFICIAL VISITOR BEHAVIOR
As we will discuss in an upcoming article, one important algorithm change that Google has cemented in 2018 is the calculation of visitor behavior. To provide a brief overview: the more traffic your site has (and the longer that those visitors stay on your website), the more authority Google will credit your organization with possessing. This is another reason why a viral social media post linking to valuable web content (say, a highly informative blog post or a hilarious behind-the-scenes video) is SEO gold.
IMPROVE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY WITH CONTENT MARKETING!
If your social media presence could use a little love, adding super-interesting content is a great place to start. Content Cucumber can help by writing smart, relevant, and interesting blogs. (We can even be funny from time to time, or so we’re told!) If you want to learn more about our services, you’re invited to submit a free sample request for a blog post on any topic of your choosing. It’s fast, it’s easy, and best of all, it’s on the house!