3 Ways Social Media Affects SEO

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Does social media impact search engine optimization?

While most of you will say no, let’s put some thought in to it. 🤔

You write a great piece of content and promote it on social media, a lot of people view your content, some may even share it which in turn leads to more people seeing your content.

But you’re going to say, hey, social media shares doesn’t pass any social juice so it doesn’t affect SEO

and while you’re technically right, let’s see how Social media can indirectly affect SEO.

The question of whether social media has any impact on SEO has been long debated. In 2010, both Google and Bing admitted to using social signals to help rank pages within their results. In 2014, Google’s former head of webspam, Matt Cutts, released a video explaining how Google can’t rely on signals that might not be there tomorrow.

That’s where the conversation last stopped. Since 2014, Google has publicly denied that social has any direct affect on rankings.

But now it’s 2018. A lot has changed over the past four years. One noteworthy shift is that social networks started appearing in search engines at a much larger scale.

Just look at the knowledge Card on Google for brands, along with websites it also brings up the social profiles of that brand.


social media seo


So now the question is, How much does social media really affect your search rankings?

Here’s a lil brief history before we delve in…

We know that Social Media ≠ Ranking Factor

So what’s the ranking factor that Google uses? 

They broadly are: –

  • Domain Factors
  • Page Level Factors
  • Site Level Factors
  • Backlink Factors
  • User Interaction
  • Special Algorithm rules
  • Brand Signals
  • On and Off Site Web spam factors

((That’s a lot to take in and remember these are just broad level categories. To learn more, you can read it here.))


As you can see, social media isn’t mentioned here anywhere. So what is the deal here? 

Keep reading to see exactly how social media affects SEO.


1. Social Links may/may not boost your search rank:

So, it’s already established that social profiles do not give social signals. But does Google consider links published on social accounts to be credible backlinks?

What happens when a blog goes viral on any of your social media platform? Do those new links boost the post’s search ranking?

Even though Google says they’re not, here’s why a lot of marketers believe they do:

Matt Cutts, the former head of the web spam team at Google says,

Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index, and so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it then we can return that in our search results.


Takeaway: What this implies is that while the authority of a social account has no effect on the search rank, links published on social media could be marked as credible backlinks and therefore influence the rank of a page.


2. Social Media Profiles Rank in Search Engine

While social shares may or may not affect the search listing position of a web page, your social profiles definitely affect the content of your search results. Actually, social media profiles are often among the top results for brand names in search listings.

Just look at the search results when I type Ubrik, our social profiles come up.


ubrik social


Takeaway: Your search profiles matter to Google. If someone is looking for your brand online, having your social profiles pop up makes the experience smoother. So optimize your social media profiles!


3. Social Media Channels are Search Engines too.

People don’t just search on search engine, they search within social media channels as well, think about that #hashtag you are searching and/or following on Instagram … my point exactly.

Neil Patel says in his article, Why Social is the new SEO that:

We need to understand that search engine optimization includes the search that happens on social media search engines. 

Now you’re probably wondering how so, here’s how:

If you’re actively tweeting about content marketing, it’s possible that people might discover you based on your tweets and then land on your website because of them. Similarly, if you’re into visual content, Pinterest might be the search engine for you.


Bonus: If not now then maybe never?

Just because social signals don’t directly impact search rank at the moment, doesn’t mean they never will. Social Media shows no signs of slowing down. And considering how other link building strategies such as Guest Posting are becoming less reliable, it makes sense that in the coming years/updates social media *might* be taken into consideration.


seo ranking factors


Takeaways: There’s no reason why social signals won’t begin to affect search rankings in the future, so smart brands will continue to build their authority in key social channels and think about social when designing their SEO strategy.


Wrapping up:

We don’t know if Google will ever consider social media signals in it’s ranking but doesn’t mean you should exclude social media from your SEO strategy.

Although social media is not a direct factor in Google’s ranking, it is one of the best ways to promote content and find it online. That’s what SEO is about, ultimately.

Okay, your turn: How else do you think social affects SEO?

Let me know in the comments 👇👇

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