Today we are delighted to share this blog post from our SEO Expert, Elaine Pasini, on social media, and how to rank higher on Google! We hope you find it useful!
QUESTION: Do social SHARES matter for ranking?
I get asked the question all the time. How do SEO and social media blend? How does it work for optimisation? What’s best practice? What content should I put out? Should I engage? How does the algorithm work? You get my drift.
According to Google, social media is NOT a direct SEO ranking factor. HOWEVER, there is a plethora of research, statistics and evidence confirming that social signals such as shares, engagement and likes ARE related to your ranking.
Even though social media signals don’t have a direct impact on search rankings, they affect your search engine optimisation efforts by….
- Increasing online visibility and traffic to your website
- Increasing online authority and brand recognition
- Broadens content distribution and longer content lifespan (see image below)
- Improves local SEO (if you don’t have Google My Business…you should!).
What is Social Media SEO (or SMO)?
Creating your social profile needs 100% input because search engines (let’s focus on Google) favour profiles with complete information available. It creates a professional and best practice user experience (UX) for others in your network. So all the contact information across your social profiles should be exactly the same as they are on your website. This is where the NAP citations kick in. (SEOs like me love an acronym. NAP is simply Name, Address and Phone.) Google will crawl the platforms and see the relation, in turn matching the best and easiest answer to its searcher.
Google’s very own, Matt Cutts said
“Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index so if something occurs on Twitter, or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it, then we can return that in our search results. But as far as doing special specific work to sort of say “you have this many followers on Twitter 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.”
How can I help myself?
On average, the higher a website is in search results, the more of a social presence that website has. Fundamentally it’s about brand awareness.
So you will see from Matt Cutts’ comment above, social media may not be a ranking factor for Google, but it can increase the volume the ranking factors that Google DOES consider.
I bang on about LINK BUILDING the whole time and how powerful GOOD (not spammy) links are for your website, if lots of people share your content on social media, then it’s likely more people will link to it, and links ARE a hugely important SEO ranking factor.
IMPORTANT: quality is more important than the quantity of links. Create links that look natural and add value to your audience. Don’t be penalised by Google for over doing spammy techniques. Never buy links. Just don’t do it. Ever.
Try following these 5 social media optimisation tips for search engine best practice:
- Optimise your social media profiles (branding and company name…NAP)
- Optimise your social media content (use keywords)
- Build links by making your shareable content (Give a testimonial. …Start a blog. …List your site in trustworthy directories..Write a good guest post….)
- Use high resolution images (research which size is best for each platform).
- Ask clients to give you a review for all your work done (Google pulls reviews from other social sites like Facebook).
How long does my content last?
The image below shows how long your social media content lasts, and also explains why time spent on writing great content needs to be strategic. Write your blogs with keywords in first sentence, headline hooks over all the platforms to grab the reader’s attention – save anything you write (that you’d like to go back to, chunk up and re-use, in a Word document.)
In conclusion – how to rank higher is about content, engagement and link building. If you build your brand awareness through social media with fabulous content that engages, educates and entices to warrant others linking to your site, your ranking will reflect this. Be consistent in listing your business across the web – this is essential for local SEO. AND don’t be too British about asking for reviews, the more you ask, the easier it becomes!