Does Social Media Impact SEO?

One question that we’re often asked is whether or not social media impacts SEO. We know that both SEO and social media marketing are important aspects of digital marketing because they can both help you get found online, but the goals of each are fundamentally different. Social media helps you connect with your existing audience, and in the case of social media advertising, reach and engage with new audiences on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. SEO, or search engine optimization, increases your chances of getting found on search engines when prospects are looking for your products and services.

So, does social media impact SEO in any way? And if so, how?

Yes, Social Media Impacts SEO

Social media does impact SEO, but the way it impacts SEO is different than the ways ranking factors like relevancy or keywords impact SEO. Search engines don’t see social media as a ranking factor. Rather, there are a number of ways social media can, directly and indirectly, affect SEO.

Here are some examples of the ways social media impacts SEO:

1. Link Sharing & Increased Website Visits

One factor search engines look at is whether or not relevant sites are linking back to your website. When you share links on social media sites like Facebook that are then re-shared by your audience, you’re sending signals to search engines that your site is credible and relevant, thus increasing your chances for ranking on those search engines.

For example, say you share an article from your blog about how to clean your gutters that’s then shared on Facebook and Twitter by other users. That amplifies the link to their audiences and likely increases the number of visits you’re getting to that page. This sends a signal to search engines that your page is credible, which can increase your chances of appearing in the search engine results page (SERP) for searches around how to clean gutters.

2. Boosted Brand Awareness

Have you ever seen your Facebook friend share a post from a local business you’re not aware of? What do you? I typically Google that business to learn more. And the same goes for businesses advertising in my News Feed – I want to learn more about them, so I search for their business name on Google or Bing.

Social media marketing can increase your brand awareness, which can, in turn, increase the number of searches for your business name on search engines, and the chances that searchers click on information from your business in search results. For example, if I search for a place to get my car washed and see a result from a company that advertised to me on my News Feed, I’ll probably click to their website rather than a result from a company I’ve never heard of before. This can increase a business’s clickthrough rate, which is a ranking factor search engines take into account when determining where to show your site.

3. Additional Branded Results on Search Engines

One of the goals of SEO is to own as much of the “shelf space” on search engines as possible. This means that when someone searches for your business name, you want the majority of results to be results you can control, like your website, blog, etc. Social media pages typically appear in SERPs for your business name. If you don’t have social media pages, then these spots may be occupied by your competitors. What would you rather have prospective customers click on: a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account that regularly shares helpful content about your business, or a competitor’s website and social sites?

Managing your social media pages is important for many reasons, including reaching new audiences, engaging with your current audience, and creating a positive web presence that includes great SEO. Learn more about why you need SEO, social media (and PPC) in this blog post, and visit our website if you’d like help running your digital marketing campaigns.

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Stephanie Heitman

Stephanie is the Strategic Communications Marketing Manager at ReachLocal. She has experience in digital marketing, social media management, and content creation for SMBs. Stephanie specializes in helping businesses improve their online reputation and appreciate the impact social media and digital marketing can have on their brand. When she isn't researching the latest online marketing tips and trends, she enjoys eating pizza and watching too much TV with her husband and her dogs.

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