The impact of social media on SEO is one of the most interesting and talked about topics in digital marketing, but the question is:
Does social media help your SEO efforts as a printer?
The short answer is yes.
But, social media doesn’t help SEO in the ways you might think it does.
Do you fully understand the algorithms for Google, Yahoo!, or Bing?
The reality is, results for your print business will vary. You might find that some things work well, while others don’t work at all.
And, unless Google shares information with you related to their algorithm, you’ll never know how it works for you to leverage it to improve your ranking through social media.
A ranking factor describes the criteria applied by a search engine when evaluating a web page in order to determine the rankings of a specific search result.
A ranking factor can relate to your website’s content, something technical on the web page, a backlink, or any other feature a search engine considers relevant. Understanding how ranking factors work is a HUGE prerequisite for effective SEO.
Think of it like this: let’s say you have a local and a regional business customer (like a large car dealership), who solely does their printing with your print shop.
You love them and they love you.
Now, let’s say you want to leverage this awesome business customer by using them as a testimonial on your website. You put their logo, company name, and a link to their website on your web page. Let’s also assume this car dealership has TONS of monthly traffic to their website with outstanding content (think videos of cars, videos of happy car buyers, and social media content) that Google, Yahoo!, and Bing scan.
Because this website you linked to has a good ranking, you can join in on that benefit all because you placed a simple link on your site.
Social media and SEO is all about ranking signals and content.
When a website publishes content that gets viewed and shared, it gets scanned by the search engines and then has a ranking score applied to it. Google even confirmed that links shared on Facebook and Twitter are used as a ranking signal. Google’s own Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s webspam team, confirmed that Google uses links from Facebook and Twitter as a ranking signal and that Google treats Facebook and Twitter pages like any other web page for search.
According to Searchmetrics’ 2016 Rebooting Ranking Factors White Paper:
The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high, and the number of social signals per landing page has remained constant… the top-ranked websites in Google’s rankings displays vastly more social signals than all other pages…this is due to the overlap between brand websites performing strongly in social networks and being allocated top positions by Google.
The key word here is the second word in that quote: correlation. Matt Cutts even said it when he says, “It’s correlation, not causation.”
If you create great content (the kind of stuff that’s popular on social media and liked and linked to), it will most definitely impact (and even boost) your rankings.
What this means is that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that sites with high ranking positions (like your competitors), also have high numbers of social signals.
Remember, social media isn’t a direct Google ranking factor, but here are four main ways social media helps in your SEO efforts.
The more shares on social media you have, the more opportunities people have to see your content and link to it.
Now, to be clear, this isn’t about Facebook shares, followers, or the number of fans you have.
SEO and search engine results could care less whether you have 100 Facebook followers or 100 million. It’s about the links that come from Facebook content.
(important to note: while the search engines don’t care about your amount of followers, Facebook certainly does)
For example, let’s say you produce a great podcast or video, then you upload it to Facebook where thousands of people see it and share it on places like LinkedIn and other websites. The linking value that comes from your social media community sharing the content you originally published on Facebook or Twitter will give you the result of being pushed up the search results. This process proves that having popular content on social media helps to attract potential links and positive search results.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook. If you make high-quality content that gains traction on social media, you’re more likely to get links from other websites.
2. Build your audience
You can have the best product or service out there, but if people don’t know about it, you might as well quit.
The mentality of “build it, and they will come” doesn’t cut it in today’s uber-competitive online marketplace. You have to be proactive and reach people where they are.
So, where is the majority of your audience? Most are on social media. With the number of people on social media and its reach and ease of sharing, social media marketing is a fantastic way to build your web presence and your audience. If you want to be found among the millions of sites on the web (there are 571 new websites created every minute), you need to up your social media game.
3. Click-through rates impact search engine rankings and SEO value.
Social media marketing helps build brand awareness and an audience, which increases the likelihood that people will click on your brand’s content in their search results.
Think about it from your own perspective. If you were to search something on Google like “men’s running shoes,” you’d probably be more likely to click on a link like Adidas or Nike, as opposed to randomshoecompany.com.
Your potential buyers are more likely to turn to and search for companies they know and trust.
The bigger your brand is (no matter the size of your company) and the more your prospects trust you, the more likely you are to receive a larger share of clicks in Google.
Social media is an efficient way to build your brand and get in front of people who wouldn’t have otherwise found you. Building your audience = SEO relevance through the power of social media.
4. Video and YouTube
So far, we’ve focused mostly on Facebook and Twitter, but you shouldn’t ignore YouTube.
YouTube is the second most-searched search engine. That’s powerful!
There are great ways to use YouTube to positively influence your SEO performance.
Generally, people using social media aren’t thinking about work. Rather, they’re thinking about their interests and hobbies. If you can target your audience by creating humorous content or something outside of your service offering, you’ve now got a winning formula that will result in better engagement.
Will Google, Yahoo!, or Bing ever include more social media signals in how it applies ranking factors to its algorithm? None of us will probably ever know.
But, whatever the future looks like for social media and SEO, it’s clear that social media will help your SEO efforts. Even if social media isn’t a direct Google ranking factor, it is one of the best ways to promote content and be found online.
Isn’t that what SEO is all about?
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