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8 Ways Social Media Affects Your SEO

Social media directly impacts your business’s search engine optimization efforts and search engines influence your social media presence.

In recent months, many have claimed that SEO is on the outs and that social media is going to be the sole way in which we find the information we’re looking for online in the future. However, that’s not currently the case and I don’t think it ever will be with the current relationship that search engines and social media have with one another today.

There is merit to this argument because social media has greatly impacted the way in which discover and share content, but hasn’t completely taken over the way in which we look for a website or content using Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

Since social media has become one of the many factors search engines take into account when indexing content across the web, let’s dive into how social media could continually impact your company’s rankings in the major search engines.

1. Social Shares Are the New Form of Link Building

Link building has always been an important factor taken into consideration by search engines to determine whether other websites across the web deemed your website to be a quality source of information. For years businesses would apply various link building tactics both credible and illegitimate to garner more links to their website to gain higher rankings.

Today, links are mainly achieved through developing original content that is in turn, shared across social media. Links to your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and other social networks help the search engines understand what websites are credible and should be ranked for what keyword phrases.

For instance, a link that is tweeted many times as opposed to a link that was never tweeted, will have higher visibility in search engines since it is assumed it is better content because many have decided to share it with their social networks. Be sure to share your most compelling content on social media to not only gain traffic from your audiences on each channel, but from search engines over time. In the end, engaging with real people is what social media helps you do on a daily basis giving you the opportunity to build the trust of your audience overtime and hopefully some love on their favorite social network.

2. Author Authority – Google Author Rank

Ever since the launch of Google+, Google’s search engines have become more integrated with social cues and features for the growing social network. Google allows an author to associate his or her content with their Google+ profile to ensure that their account and bio are linked to the content in search engine results. By including the rel=”author” tag on your website, linking the websites you write for in the bio of your Google+ profile, and including a link to your Google+ profile in every article you’ve written, your author listing will appear in the search engines.

This is important to build credibility for your content appearing in search engines, further driving recognition and trust with your audience and content creators. The listing will pull in the name, photo, and the amount of followers the author has on Google+ in addition to the URL, title tag, and meta description of the web page.

The benefits of how an author is ranked are continuing to grow past a listing in the search results to more visibility in search engines overall called in-depth articles. Google has suggested that the authorship markup will be taken into consideration when it lists more in-depth articles on a broader topic a person is searching for. The author tag also ensures that when your content is syndicated or scrapped that it is correctly associated with the original author of the content, avoiding duplicate content issues in search engines.

3. Speed Up How Quickly Content Gets Indexed

Again, content shared across social media is taken into consideration by search engines as indication of quality information that should be ranked accordingly. The more links a page on your website has, the quicker the search engines index this content in the rankings. Since social media can help influence the amount of links a piece of web content receives in a shorter period of time, it can often speed up the process of indexation of the content in search engines.

Content that has been extensively tweeted about can cut indexation time by 50%, while reducing the time it takes Googlebot to find your content from 2 hours to 2 seconds. The speed at which your content is indexed is affected by many factors such as how many people tweeted the content, the influence of the people who tweeted the content, and the time frame in which this content was shared.

Content that is gaining social traction will be indexed more quickly in search engines. This article, as seen above, was published at 6:38 AM EST September 5th and then was indexed that morning by 9:10 AM EST. The fact that the website is USA Today, a major news publication, is definitely a factor in the speed of this content being indexed but nevertheless, the social influences to its indexing shouldn’t be ignored.

4. Better Ranking for Social Connections and Followers

Similarly to how search engines interpret more social shares on a piece of content as a sign of credibility, the amount of quality connections, followers, and friends on social media that a user has is also a factor in how content will be ranked. This shouldn’t be confused with simply focusing on the pure number of followers an account has. It is all about the amount of quality connections, followers, and friends an account has that helps to determine whether they are a reputable source when they share content and not just an account with a lot of spam followers.

An influencer or well-known company’s social account are more likely to rank for the content they post than users with a following with low quality or a low number of followers. Look to connect with influencers and advocates online that are genuinely interested in your offerings to ensure that they begin to share your company’s content with their network and help your business gain further traction in search engine results.

5. Boost Relevant Keywords from Shared Content & Your Profile

The keywords used throughout social media factor into where content ranks in search engines from two sources: The content being posted and the profile of each social account. Start by ensuring that all of your social media profiles are filled out as much as possible with relevant information about your business, while naturally incorporating the name of your company and your most important keywords.

The name, URL, and bio are typically the most important aspects of your social media profiles that search engines take into account. For example, when searching Oreo, most of the top results on the first page of Google are Oreo’s social profiles, next to their website and recent news articles.

Another factor to consider when thinking of improving your SEO is continuing to use your keywords in the content you’re posting across social media. Naturally incorporate them into the content you’re posting by covering similar subject areas to the types of searches people are making on search engines to find your type of products or services.

For instance, if your company is Oreo than it might be prudent to create content about different dessert recipes using Oreos and then share this content across social media. By providing the content your audience is looking for in the search engines, you might able to attract some of the traffic around those keyword phrases.

6. Leverages Local Search

Local search is increasingly important to businesses with a physical location, especially small businesses. With the rise of mobile use, a majority of local searches for business are conducted on the go with a smartphone. Be active where users are searching for your business or service offerings on every relevant location-based social network like Yelp, Foursquare, Urbanspoon as well an updated location listing on each search engine. For Google, their business listings are on Google+ local pages but for Yahoo and Bing, these listings are more static profiles.

Ensure that your various local listing, whether on Foursquare or Google+ are kept up to date providing the correct address, company name, phone number, and accurate directions to your location. By keeping these profiles up to date, your business on Google+ or elsewhere will more likely come up for relevant searches from customers in your area.

7. Increased Ranking of Your Domain

Overtime the more content that is shared about your website across social media, the more rankings your website will receive across the major search engines. Each piece of content shared publicly on social media increases the authority of your domain as a whole, driving traffic and credibility for the long-term success of your business.

Google appreciates when a website is updated with fresh and relevant content often, which is also true when it comes to your social media accounts. If the social media profiles associated with your website are active with frequent, quality updates then the search engines take into consideration that your business is authentic, engaged, and valuable to readers.

The benefits of SEO often take awhile to drive value to your business when it comes to driving relevant traffic to your website that converts to sales. This factor among many taken into consideration is looked at as an accumulated score over time as to how credible a website is to social media users across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and elsewhere.

8. Personalization Based on Your Network

The social connections and interactions a person has with your brand on Google+ and other social channels affect what results show up in many major search engines. Google is obviously heavily integrated with Google+, while Bing has integrations with Facebook. Take this into consideration when trying to expand your audience on social media because this audience will have an altered experience in their search results due to your connection.

What ways have you seen social media impact the traffic to your website coming from search engines? Do you have an SEO strategy in place that factors in the potential benefits of social media? Please share your best insights or questions in the comments below!

Updated November 17, 2017.