Does Social Media Influence SEO Results?
Since the first day social media got into the mainstream, there was one question being asked – do they (and how) influence SEO results? The answer to this question is a definite yes, but probably not the kind of "yes" you think.
With the recent announcement of Google+ being shut down, it's important to look at the answer from a new perspective.
Social media as a ranking factor
The main question on everyone's mind is – are social media results a ranking factor. In other words, does our performance on a social network influence our position in search results?
The answer to this question changed over time, but since 2016. it was confirmed that Google doesn't use the social media behaviour as a direct ranking factor in its algorithm that determines search engine results. In other words, Google doesn't treat social media pages differently from other pages.
Google+, which was for a long time considered to be a part of Google's algorithm, is shutting down and this is widely considered as the newest in the series of confirmations for this. This is no way means that social media isn't important for SEO results because social media results accomplish or help with other important SEO factors.
Links are the bread and butter of all SEO results. If your website and the content you create have really good results on social media, there is a bigger chance someone would like to link to you – independant of the social platform.
Trafic and visitors
Google likes websites that people visit, read and return to. Social media platforms give an excellent opportunity to build an audience, attract people that'll regularly visit your website and be active overall.
Apart from classic traffic to the website, there's a greater chance that crawlers will find links to your website more often, which will in turn help with quicker and deeper indexing of your website.
Building a brand
Getting people familiar with your brand is connected with both traffic and visitors. Reliable brands, that are recognized on social media platforms, have a higher click through rate if searchers recognize them in search results.
Also, a brand built on social media "creates" searches that you are sure to rank for. E.g. if you follow us on social media, and are familiar with the services we offer, you might search for "Nivago SEO".
A large number of branded searches such as this is a strong signal for Google. If a large number of people searches for "Nivago SEO", Google will recognize that this page should also rank for a more narrow keywords, such as "SEO".
Google uses a variety of sources when showing their rich results. However, the sources are primarily social media. Google will often pull Facebook reviews for Google My Business or show Tweets within search results.
Do I need to focus on social media for SEO results?
Definitely. Although social media isn't a direct guarantee of SEO results (for example, just having a Facebook profile has no practical effect), the benefits that social media creates surely help achieve good SEO results.