How social signals can affect SEO

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Social signals are the currency of social media sites, and are a key feature in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and almost all popular social sites, in one form or another. With the average person spending 2 hours a day on social media, getting attention on these platforms is integral to any marketing strategy. Social media marketers often base their content’s success on these “Social Signals” such as impressions, views, likes, shares, comments, retweets and more, which are usually the key goals in all forms of social media marketing. But how do these small bits of engagement affect a website’s SEO? It seems that, indirectly, these small pieces of engagement can build to a significant impact on your visibility online.

Although high engagement and social signal volume will look impressive to customers and competitors alike when checking up on your social media accounts, social signals do not directly affect Google SEO – something that the company has recently officially stated.

In past years, social signals were proven in the past to impact Google. However, with their ever-changing algorithms, this research now seems to be outdated.

Bing, however, which makes up over 20% of yearly internet searches in the UK and US, does factor social signals into its SEO rankings. Although Bing may not be the go-to search engine, it seems to be making a resurgence in recent years, and optimising your SEO for multiple search engines means maximising your chance of being found online.

With the right strategy, there are lots of ways that these forms of social media engagement can impact your SEO in an indirect but very significant way.

How you can boost SEO with social signals:

  1. Linking to your website - Ensure that all of your social media accounts include links to your website, not only in the “About” information section of your profile, but also in your written content for outgoing posts. Each time a social media user follows one of these links to your site, you will be gaining website traffic, which does boost your SEO.
  2. Using catchy hooks (clickbait) to link your website content - Often known as clickbait titles, these are often exaggerated messages that make the reader crave more information - typically with controversial or bold statements which make the reader want to know why or how the author has come to this conclusion. This compulsion to click and read more again is an effective way of building website traffic and SEO as a result.
  3. Adopting a strong CTA - The wider your content is spread throughout social media, the more likely it is that people will engage with the message and click onto your website (which you should be linking to most content). Asking your audience to actively like, share, comment on your content will ensure your message is distributed further, and in turn increase your clicks to your website.
  4. Only use your best content - Although it is tempting to flood your social media channels with plenty of mediocre content to promote more engagement, this method often does more harm than good where social media visibility is concerned. For example, Facebook ranks its content and visibility of an account’s posts on their average overall engagement across posts. So, if you are posting 5 times a day and getting a low level of engagement, this will negatively impact your visibility in comparison to a weekly post which gains lots of traction including likes, comments, and shares.

Social media marketing can not only positively impact your SEO, but there are also lots of other constructive advantages to a strong social media strategy within your marketing plans.

If you are unsure of the best way to utilise social media for your business, contact us to discuss how we can support your marketing goals.