Understanding Social Signals and How They Can Help with SEO
For a long time, Google has denied social signals being a ranking factor for their search engine. That may put off many website owners from pursuing social media marketing to support their SEO campaigns. However, there is strong evidence that social signals can help boost search rankings. Hootsuite ran a test in which they saw a 22 percent improvement in rankings with increased social activity. The question is: why would social signals help with SEO if Google publicly denied any correlation?
Here are several things to consider:
Sharing Your Content on Social Media Results in More Links
One of the benefits of social media is that you can leverage your followers to proliferate your content all over the web. By using social media platform to distribute your channels, you’ll be more likely to get your content in front of influencers, bloggers, and editors for industry sites. If you publish high quality content on a regular basis, you can bet that they’ll link back to the original page.
So while the social signals may not exactly help to boost the rankings of a specific page, they will indirectly help you generate the links required to help you attain higher rankings. That’s why there is a lot of value to be had in promoting your most important pages on social media.
Social Signals Show How Valuable and Relevant Your Content Is
One of the things that you start to realize is that the best content often gets a lot of engagement whether it’s likes, shares, or comments. You often see the most popular blogs showing their social signal metrics on the top of their articles . The engagement metrics are great guidelines to go by if you’re trying to figure out if your content is hitting the mark with your target audience.
Content that gets a high number of likes, shares and comments has a way of feeding off of itself. That’s why you may want to promote your posts with social media ads for maximum visibility and reach. These social signal metrics indicate to new readers that your content is of high quality. As a result, they’re more inclined to read it and often end up share it with their network. And of course, this leads to stronger distribution of your content which leads to more links.
Social Signals May Benefit SEO Even If Google Doesn't Want to Admit It
Going back to the tests that Hootsuite has run, there may be a possibility that social signals have some kind of direct positive effect on search rankings. It’s possible that Google may not want to admit that social signals affect search rankings. The reason why is because social signals can be easily manipulated. There are now many services that sell fake likes and shares for various social media platforms.
Many businesses can use this information to get an advantage over their search engine competitors. The Hootsuite study has also shown that paid social media promotions had an even better effect on the search rankings. So businesses that have a big budget to work with can easily buy engagement and promote their posts for optimal results. Of course, there is no telling how much of the social signal benefits come directly from the signals themselves or the indirect links that are generated.
4. Social Signals Indicate Authority, Credibility and Reputation
By building a large following, engaging your audience, and hitting high engagement metrics, you are building authority, credibility and a positive reputation for your business and brand. This authority, credibility and reputation may spill over into free links to your website. Remember, social media is all about connected networks and people tend to share and flock to popular posts.
This authority, credibility and reputation also means that more websites will want to work with you. Succeeding with a link outreach campaign can be difficult. But if you have the social signals to show that you have an engaged audience, more website owners will be open to working with you whether it’s promoting each other’s social media posts or linking to each other’s pages.
No Reason Not to Go For Social Signals
To sum it up, social signals do play important roles in a SEO campaign. Nobody can conclusively say that they have a direct impact on the search rankings. However, it’s easy to see that they can indirectly have a positive impact on your SEO campaign. As a business owner, the ideal thing to do is to use social media to support your SEO campaign for the best results.