The digital marketing industry will give you different answers about the impact of social media on SEO. When it comes to the decision of social media’s effect on SEO, some experts will adamantly say, “YES,” while others reply with a resounding “NO.” Each of these camps have their own ranking reports to support their claims, but what the “YES” camp understands is that search engines use – wait, need – social media to understand what is popular, relevant, and credible on the web. ClickZ’s article about the “7 Legitimate Ways That Social Media Impacts SEO” clearly argues the point that social media has a much needed presence in internet marketing and SEO ranking. Understanding this information, and the hope that social media and SEO may be more integrated one day, may just encourage you to continue, maintain, or startup your social media strategies.
Social media impacts SEO in ways that are not direct or obvious. The impact, however, has everything to do with popular, relevant, and credible topics, posts, and tweets. The seven ways in which ClickZ shows how social media can contribute to the overall organic success of a website are as follows:
- Link Potential
- Search Query Volume
- Brand Signals
- Traffic Volume and Site Engagement
- Profile Ranking
What does this all mean? It means social media activity helps increase brand awareness, and Google has numerous ranking features. Simply put, a popular or relevant post, picture, video, or Tweet will increase familiarity, which leads to shares and links. If these links are placed on a site, this will contribute to the overall link profile, which does have an SEO impact. Furthermore, if more people begin searching for your brand as a result of a social media post, the search engine will view that brand as more popular and well know, and thus award it a higher ranking. Same thing for site visits and traffic volume on your site, the higher the volume, the higher the search engine ranking. Finally, if your content is interesting enough to keep the visitor on your site long enough to read an entire page or watch a video, rather than quickly leaving (contributing to “bounce rate”) your site, you may be rewarded in organic search results.
Search engines measure metrics like bounce rate, pages per visit, and time on the site to inform search results and ranking. However, search engines have to “become more sophisticated at interpreting search intent, delivering relevant results, and fighting organic spam…” so that your searches produce better, more accurate results. One way to fight this battle is for search engines and brands to turn to social media to understand what audiences find popular, relevant, and credible.