How Social Media Impacts SEO

social media and seoIf you’re looking for yet another reason to justify the importance of an active, thoughtful social media presence, here’s one: social media can improve your search ranking.

You’ve probably already noticed this correlation—yet it’s probably more widespread than you realized. LinkedIn profiles, for example, tend to appear high in search results, underscoring the importance of creating a complete, keyword-rich profile. Twitter profiles and tweets also tend to have higher search visibility, too. And Google +1s are an effective way to not only improve visibility, but also boost credibility.

An infographic from SEO company WhiteFire takes a deeper dive into the connection between social media and SEO. Not only is the info interesting—it might just prompt you to refine your social media strategy so you can get even more bang for your social buck. Here’s a sampling of WhiteFire’s findings:

  • Tweeting content helps it get indexed faster, cutting indexation time by 50%.
  • High levels of social activity give search engines important triggers that you’re authentic and valuable—and that makes your domain will rank higher in results.
  • Shares help trigger the freshness portion of Google’s search algorithm, which means more shares can bump up your ranking.

how social affects search

One key takeaway? Make your content easy to share. Install sharing buttons on your website and blog. Keep your tweets under 120 characters so that they can be easily retweeted. And while you’re enabling easy sharing of your content (or your client’s), don’t forget to return the favor. Social media is very much a two-way street, so take time to share other blog posts, videos, photos, articles, etc. that you find interesting. After all, simply broadcasting content isn’t engagement, and if you can’t keep your online audience interested and involved, your social presence will suffer—and so will your SEO.

Keep this caveat in mind: effective social media marketing won’t single-handedly make your website an SEO juggernaut. Instead, think of social media as one part of a larger SEO equation—albeit an undoubtedly important one. When combined with tools like an optimized website and regularly updated content, social media can help extend your digital reach and bring even more value to your overall digital marketing strategy.

Have you noticed a correlation between your social activity and SEO? I’d love to hear about your experience.

This post originally appeared on Leaderswest

Image: Phillip Pessar via Compfight cc

  • Emily Roach

    Have you seen any connection to the Google ranking in relationship to how often a post is pinned and repinned on Pinterest?

  • Chase Anderson

    Pintrest does have followed links but there is a diminishing return on links from the same domain. 10,000 pins = improved rankings. 10, not a big change in rankings on terms with even average competition.

  • ShellyKramer

    Totally makes sense to me … you?

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  • http://www.kyleeggleston.com/ Kyle Eggleston

    While I agree with a lot of what this article says (excellent article and infographic), this social media thing is being blown out of proportion. I work with both fortune 500 and small business websites and utilized Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn. So far, I have not seen any real correlation between rankings and social engagement. I think it’s over-exaggerated.

    If social media does play a role with SEO, it is very small and temporary. I have clients who have NO SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT, yet maintained their #1 rankings throughout the Penguin/Panda updates. Just sayin’.

  • ShellyKramer

    Always great hearing a different POV, Kyle. My experience is wholly different. For us, SEO and our overall corporate goals help drive both our social strategy and our content strategy. Without social and our commitment (and investment) there, content isn’t as effective at driving traffic, at driving brand awareness (and search results) and at driving leads and sales. So, for us and for our clients, large and small, social is a large part of the formula for success.

  • http://www.kyleeggleston.com/ Kyle Eggleston

    Thanks for the reply Shelly. I should note that I found your article through Sean McGinnis’s Twitter page – not through the search engine results. Social media is definitely important for an effective content marketing campaign and driving traffic. Sharing content increases the visibility of the content, which in turn improves the likelihood that someone will link to it, which in turn improves your rankings. However, I am not convinced there is any direct correlation between social media and SEO rankings.

  • Donna Beckett

    In the past 10 months I have been very active on Twitter, and more recently on Google Plus, as well as having LinkedIn and FB pages. In that time we have seen traffic to our website more than double – some of the traffic is directly from social media sites but our organic results have also doubled. We have seen other direct benefits to our business but this direct correlation between our SM activity and website traffic is one of the most important.

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