How does social media impact SEO?

One of the most popular questions about social media is how it impacts SEO efforts.

The answer is, “it’s complicated”.

Social media marketing and Search engine optimization are often thrown into the same basket of digital marketing strategy. However, the relationship between the two is not exactly direct.

While I am not saying that social media does not improve SEO, it is a bit different than what many are used to believe.


Website Rankings

In Search Engine’s query matching process the the two strongest, controllable signals are backlinks and page content. The amount of backlinks improves your site’s reputation making it more relevant for queries. 

One of the biggest misconceptions is that social media profiles directly influence website rankings. The first thing to note with social is that Google doesn’t use social signals like the amount of likes or followers you have on your Facebook or Twitter account.

The reason for that is that Google can’t actually access all of the data on social media, with privacy restrictions and limitations stopping it’s crawlers. Another limitation is the amount of fake followers on social media. If social media signals were applicable, it would open the door to SEO scammers and cloud the relevance of social metrics. Although, there is another way social media metrics boost your SEO, just not in the way you expected

Yet, don’t forget about Bing! While Google puts aside social media rankings in their search, Bing has mane it crystal clear that authority on social media make a small impact on page results ranking. With it’s market steadily growing, companies would be wise to not ignore it. 


Social Media Indexing

In search, social media posts and profiles are considered the same as any other webpage that google might also index. That means that your social media posts if popular enough can be displayed individually in search results. In fact, Twitter and Google have an agreement to index pages, which makes it display especially high for popular accounts. 

On twitter likes especially influence the likeliness of being ranked higher in Google, which raises awareness but not links to your site. Well, at least not directly. 

As you can see, the relation between rankings and social is complicated. While it is not directly related, it will definitely boost your SEO. Just not in the way you expected.