One question we often get asked is, is there a relationship between SEO and Social Media? The easy answer is yes there is, but it’s complicated!
Let’s go back to 2014, when Ryan from Michigan asked Google “Are Facebook and Twitter signals part of the ranking algorithm? How much do they matter?”. Googles then Head of Web Spam team Matt Cutts replied with a video which basically stated that yes there is a relationship between search and social. However, although Google does treat Facebook and Twitter posts as webpages, even Google has its limits and can’t index every social media posts. After all, there are 3.03 billion active social media users on a daily basis – and that is a lot of posts!
In 2015, Google and Twitter announced a new deal which meant that Google was able to see every tweet in real time, without having to index them all. However, a study by Stone Temple Consulting at the time shows that Google were still only indexing less than 4% of all tweets, and in a recent update they showed that actually Google’s indexing of tweets has declined over time. As Matt Cutts explains in the video above despite the fact that the Google bots will crawl social pages, the search engine itself doesn’t factor either Facebook likes or Twitter followers into their search ranking results.
Google is notoriously secretive about how it calcualtes search engine rankings, and their are so many factors that affect ranking that it is really difficult to acurately pinpoint exactly how social media impacts on search engine results, although it can be shown that a strong social media presence does correlate with good SEO rankings. This is one of the main reasons why a lot of businesses focus significant effort on social media but their goals tend to be more about consumer engagement and brand awareness than SEO.
If you think about it having a presence on social media legitinises your brand, and shows the search engines that your brand actually exists. Social media is especially important when it comes to SEO as a brand tool, focusing on a brand term such as your company name, as social media profiles have now started to appear at the top of search engine results pages. Therefore, every business should create social media profiles and regularly share content on them. If you have a search-friendly website and a Google My Business listing as well, then you are well on the way to the search engines realising that your brand is legitimate and helping you to rise up the SERP’s.
Another reason why social media and SEO work well together is that a lot of people are now using social media networks as search engines in themselves. Back in 2012, Mark Zuckerberg himself announced that facebook was serving a billion search queries a day. At that time the searches were mostly for people, but the Facebook search team were also seeing a rise in the number of people searching for businesses and apps as well. This makes sense in a lot of ways, as Zuckerberg said at the time: “Search is evolving to giving you a set of answers… ‘I have a specific question, answer this question for me.’ Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer a lot of questions that people have.” Twitter also announced that they were serving 2.1 billion search engine queries a day as well.
So what does all this mean? Well, basically, the content that you share on your business social media profiles can have an affect on your brand recognition and SEO, although we are not sure on how exactly this works. But, if you have a great search engine optimisation strategy and a great social media strategy then you are probably doing the right thing.
If you need help with with either you SEO strategy or your social media then we are the people to talk to! You can call us on 01625 238 770 or alternatively send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org