How Does Social Media Impact SEO?

What is SEO and Why is it Important?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing and increasing the frequency and quality of free, organic, natural traffic to your website.  

When someone types a specific term into Google, the searcher wants the best, most relevant, timely, and accurate information to populate.  SEO is what helps Google respond with the most exact information desired by the searcher, which also provides a better user experience for the searcher and keeps them from spending endless hours digging through unnecessary information.

In today’s technological society, SEO is a necessary part of every e-commerce business’ long-term strategy to increase sales and maximize leads. But how does social media impact SEO, and why should we care?

How Social Media Impacts SEO

According to The Digital Information World, internet users spend on average 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social networking and messaging platforms. 

In 2014, Google made it clear that social media interactions (such as likes and followers) have no impact on web search ranking algorithms and, as far as we know, this hasn’t changed.

…you have this many followers on twitter [sic] or this many likes on Facebook, to the best of my knowledge, we don’t currently have any signals like that in our web search ranking algorithms. – Matt Cutts, Google Webmasters YouTube Channel, 1/2014

Although the number of followers a business has or likes they get on a post may not have a direct relationship to their page ranking, the relationship does  play a supportive role. It opens the door to opportunities that can help you rank higher on Google. 

Social media has played a role in influencing us  for years now, and business owners can use this to their advantage.

Brand Awareness

We come into contact with hundreds of brands everyday.  These interactions drive us to make buying decisions and, more importantly, where we make them.

By creating a positive presence on social media, your business can increase its brand awareness, and ultimately help a consumer decide if they want to buy from you or your competitors. 

Here are a few ways you can leverage social media to create a strong online presence:

  • The bio: Write a brief description of the company and what you do.
  • Business hours: Depending on the social media platform and the business, you will want to include business hours.
  • Contact Information: Give your audience a way they can contact you (email, phone, chatbot, etc…)
  • Images: This can vary throughout the different channels, but make sure you provide images that align with your brand and the message you’re trying to send. Images can also be a way to personalize the company, if that’s your strategy.

Most importantly, make sure all information is consistent throughout all social media channels. Inaccurate or inconsistent information can confuse your customers and actually hurt your business.

Increases Visibility and Traffic

The goal is to gain more traffic, because more traffic leads to sales and leads. How can we use social media to gain visibility and move more traffic to our web pages? 

Links are one of, if not the most important ranking factors. Google doesn’t care about  the exemplary things you say about your company. The opposite is true — what matters is what other sites think about you.. A link to your site is essentially a “vote” for your page. 

But how do we get these votes?

  1. Create link-worthy content. Listacles, in-depth guides, and how-to articles are just a few ideas. Create content that provides value to your readers. Give them a reason to be on your page. 
  2. Build relationships with content creators. Focus on growing positive partnerships for the long haul with people who give links. For example, having relationships with bloggers or journalists that have a strong social media presence can be a mutually beneficial arrangement by creating traffic for both you and the content creator.
  3. Build a following on social media. Try to steer your focus away from the number of followers you have and place more focus on the quality of your following. Having people follow you that are interested in what you have to share will make it easier to persuade them to visit your site. Use relevant keywords and/or hashtags so that the right people find your profile and avoid creating content that isn’t related to your company.

Local SEO

Local SEO is how a business optimizes their online presence in order to attract local customers through Google search. 

According to Forbes, 95 percent of smartphone users have used their phone to look up local information. After doing so, 61 percent called the business, and 59 percent visited the actual business. 

If you have a business that serves locally, have a way for customers or potential customers to find you online.

For example, when I searched for “dry cleaners near me,” the following local establishments appear in the search results:

Although there are many alternative establishments in that area, these appear because they are most likely optimized for the keywords “dry cleaners near me.” But how does this relate to social media? 

As I mentioned above, Google has commented on the lack of importance that social media interactions have in ranking web pages. However, it can improve a business’ credibility and prominence, which is key to having a great local ranking factor. 

Keep “NAP” (the name, address, and phone number of your business) in mind. Including consistent NAP information across all channels can increase your business’ credibility, which can improve your ranking in local search results. 

Social media gives local businesses an opportunity to showcase their company and services in a controlled way. Showcase what you want your followers to see and gain visibility among a local audience.

Final Word

Social activity may not play a direct role in increasing your search ranking, but the aggregate effect of what results from social activity may help boost it.  

Use social media platforms as an opportunity to place controlled content in the hands of your desired audience. Seek an audience that has an interest in what you offer and build relationships with the people that share content.

Have you used social media to impact your SEO? Let us know in the comments below! 

About the Author

Jenna Anderson FUNYLA native of Maryland, Jenna traded blue crabs for bluetick coonhounds when she headed south to attend the University of Tennessee.

With a knack for communication and a keen eye for detail, Jenna blends a background in public relations with a penchant for analytics to drive SEO results for FUNYL’s ecommerce clients.

When she’s not crafting backlinking strategies, she enjoys traveling, and staking her place as FUNYL’s resident bartending expert.