Not long ago, SEO was all about getting ranked for many keywords through inbound links to your website. However the situation is changing these days, now social media are majorly affecting a website’s organic ranking and the ratio of traffic.
Although, Google’s head of web spam team Matt Cutts announced in May 2010 that Twitter and Facebook’s social signals are not the part of Google’s search algorithm. After some months, in Dec 2010 he said that Google does count social signals as a ranking factor. After three years of this, Matt Cutts again announced that Google does not give any special treatment to Twitter or Facebook’s signals.
I know the previous paragraph has created a lot of headache for you already and there are many others who are suffering from the same. Matt Cutts’ approval and disapproval about social signal as a ranking factor has left people in a state of confusion. If you are also confused, then you have come to the right place.
Let me make it clear, social signals do have a correlation with search rankings, that means social signals affects a website’s SERP ranking, not directly but indirectly. Webpages that have a large number of shares, likes, retweets and +1s ranks higher in search results. Let’s understand this correlation in details:
Personalization Effect of Social Media
If you are logged in with your Google account and search something on Google then it will deliver personalized results. That means it will deliver Google plus posts that has been either liked by you or your Google+ friends.
For example, if I search “inbound marketing” on Google then it serves me various results with a Google+ post of Hub Spot because I have circled its page in my G+ account.
This example explains it well that social media helps search engines tailoring the results which bring a massive effect on search rankings for a website.
Social Media Lets You Earn Backlinks
Social media improve the reputation of a brand and this creates a chance for earning backlinks for your website. Let me make it clearer so you can understand it easily.
Let’s assume, you created a blog post and shared it on Google plus, another day 500 people shared this post, and then 500 more people shared this post. This way, your post became viral and reached thousands ofpeople. Now a blogger realizes the popularity of the article and writes a piece of content on the same topic and as a reference put a backlink to your post in his article.
In this example, you can observe that sharing content on social media website didn’t help your website’s rankings directly, but it created a chance to earn a backlink which is a strong ranking signal to Google.
“Social media provides more trusted signals to users as well as search engines.”
Social Media Improves Website Traffic
No doubt social media can increase the traffic for your website. A study stated that more than 2 billion active social media accountsexist across the whole world. Besides, social media websites successfully drove more than 31% of overall website traffic in the fourth quarter of 2014.
This data evidently specifies that social media channels can greatly increase the traffic for your website which is a significant ranking signal to search engines.
The magic of Google +1s on the rankings
There is a significant correlation between search rankings and Google +1s. The social networking site Google+ is a strong platform that can boost the rankings for your website. The content that got shared on Google+ index faster as Google uses its social media network to find a variety of content. Besides, Google plus passes the link value to the shared link while other social networking site doesn’t pass any value.
Evidently, using Google plus and receiving the greater number of +1s for your web URLs brings several SEO advantages and higher ranks and traffic is two of those.
Effects of social media on business authority
Business authority is an important factor that helps getting top ranks as well as traffic and social media can greatly influence it. Social media is a proven way to improve the credibility of your brand, you can do it by building a community and communicate with your audience regularly.
If more people will like and share your social media content,then search engines will rank it higher on SERP assuming that your content is useful as people are highly interested in it. For example Buzzfeed regularly shares content on its Facebook page that is interesting and appealing to users. This approach has made a strong brand reputation for Buzzfeed and earned them more than 4.7 million fans.
These facts prove that social media is a powerful tool that is integrating it with SEO. The era of “Social SEO” is rising, thus it is important for you to take advantage of it. You can do it by staying active on social media, communicating regularly with your audience and delivering high quality social media content.