Social media marketing is something that every business is told to do, but what if they’re more concerned with SEO and search engine rankings? Perhaps this is their biggest focus and they don’t want something like social media taking away from their efforts. Is it possible that social media benefits SEO efforts?

The answer is both yes and no. While there aren’t any current ranking factors that directly tie social media with SEO, there are plenty of connections that can lead to huge ranking benefits. Today we’ll look at five ways that social media does (and doesn’t) benefit your SEO efforts.

5 ways social media affects your SEO efforts

It’s an exciting time for businesses. Just about every company these days is learning about what a blog is and what they can do for their SEO. Once you’ve set up your own blog, you’re going to hear all about promotion and social media.

If you’re worried about taking away from your business website ranking efforts by using social media, don’t be. Today we’ll look at at the ways social media can help your SEO, even if it doesn’t directly affect it.

1. Google Can use Facebook and Twitter to find new content

While Facebook posts and Tweets aren’t ranking factors, Matt Cutts of Google fame, spoke about these things in one of his videos. Here he said that these types of content are considered pages by Google.

To discover and catalogue content, Google crawls pages of the internet to find new things it can add to its search engine. One of thing to remember is that, while powerful, Google is far from indexing every page on the internet.

While they have over 60 trillion pages indexed, this only accounts for about 5% of the total pages on the internet! Combine that with the sheer number of posts on Facebook and Twitter and you see how it’s not possible to index all of them.

Not to worry though, Google is making more attempts to index popular posts and tweets. A deal in 2015 between Google and Twitter solidified this. As time goes on, Google will become better at looking at the content people share on social media.

So, while your content on social media doesn’t directly affect results, it does have the chance of being indexed and therefore ranked in association with your website. All of those images you use and engagement you create contributes to it being spotted by Google.

2. There’s potential to build links

Social media spreads brand awareness by bringing more people into the fold. Even the slightest mention of your brand on social media is considered a co-citation by Google and shows that people are talking about your brand.

When you use social media to connect with major influencers in your industry as well, you’re forming relationships that can easily lead to backlinks for your site. Furthermore, if someone finds your content on social media and visits your site, they may be inclined to link to it from their website as well.

The potential for link building on social media is huge, based solely on the potential for you to connect with influencers. High-quality links absolutely benefit your SEO.

3. Social signals do not equal better rankings

Buying into a rumor or a correlation that hurt your SEO far more than trying something that could work. Case and point, there are studies that show connections between social signals and ranking factors, but they do not point to a direct connection.

Studies done by Moz sparked a train of thought that led people to think that social signals were a ranking factor. This was quickly quelled by Moz’s own Cyrus Shepherd. In reality, websites that have higher rankings and better engagement on social media are posting great content that their audience wants to see.

This alone leads to potential for shares and ultimately backlinks from website owners who were inspired by the content.

It’s important to make this distinction, because if you abandon other SEO efforts thinking that simply doing well on social media will help you rank, you’re going to find yourself going in the wrong direction.

4. Yes, Google+ does matter

While Google+ may not be the most powerful platform for social media, it does help your SEO in an indirect way. Having a strong Google+ page will encourage Google to show your profile in search rankings for different keywords that are highly associated with that profile.

Try searching huge brands and notice how they have a huge space on the SERPs that shows their Google+ information. This same information can also appear in the actual search results. It doesn’t send direct traffic to your site, but it does place your brand front and center.

Sending people to your social media pages can also easily lead them to your site. In this way, it’s a great SEO strategy to get your Google+ profile in the rankings.

5. Social media drives the right traffic to your site

Social media is one of the top ways to bring new traffic to your website. When you post new content on your profile pages, you’re offering a link back to your site for readers to follow. More often than not, these will be people interested in your brand.

This type of referral traffic is great because it consists of people who are going to spend time on your site and possibly purchase your product or service. All of this engagement looks great for your user experience and ultimately sends positive signals to Google.

Final thoughts

Social media may not directly impact your SEO, but it does influence your success in a lot of ways. Understand how the two work together will help you maximize the benefits. How do you use social media to benefit your SEO efforts? Let us know in the comments!

This post was written by Rachel Schumaker. Rachel has worked with numerous SEO firms before becoming a full-time blogger herself. She loves the mystery of SEO and wants to help her fellow business owners solve it. You can find her online @rachelschumake2

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