According to Econsultancy’s State of Search Marketing Report 2013, 74 percent of companies and 82 percent of agencies surveyed said social media is either somewhat or highly integrated into their SEO strategy. However, two months after collecting the data for this report, Google’s Matt Cutts stated that social signals, such as Facebook ‘likes’ and Twitter followers, do not actually affect search rankings. This threw digital marketers off-balance; most assumed social signals were factored into Google’s search algorithm and would therefore improve their SEO. So how does social media impact your organization’s SEO? Consider these factors to help your company’s SEO-focused marketers better understand the relationship between social and SEO.
1. Social links may (or may not) improve your search rank
While social signals may not help as much as previously thought, links published to your organization’s social media account may be a different story. Many marketers say links to your website through digital platforms can have a major impact on your rankings, as it makes your site more credible and hosts more keywords for SEO to pick up on. Google has contradicted itself on its incorporation of the number of times a link has been tweeted or liked into their search rank algorithm, but Bing stated that it considers this data for SEO. Google has confirmed it crawls social websites for data just like any other site, so links published to social platforms should be viewed as credible backlinks and positively influence your company’s page rank.
2. Social media platforms are also search engines
Google, Bing and Yahoo are no longer the only places your audience goes to look for information. They also use social media platforms to find what they are looking for. For example, if a user is looking for digital marketing-related topics through Twitter, it is possible they will come upon one of your organization’s articles about digital marketing. Businesses that post inspiring visuals can also benefit and make their content more visible through platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. If a user is interested in your company, they are also likely to go through your social media channels and see what your presence is like on each one. Be sure they will have something inspiring and attention-grabbing to find and keep them on your site. It can only help boost your SEO.
3. Don’t forget to consider Bing
While Google may not consider social signals in their SEO, Bing continues to look into it when organizing their search rankings. Bing looks to the social authority of each site, such as how many people follow your business, how many individuals and organization you follow and how fans engage with your posts. These aspects add weight when Bing goes to rank your organization’s site. Remember that Bing is the second most-utilized search engine and is more transparent about their algorithm than Google, so don’t forget Bing when creating an SEO strategy for your business.