Take a deep dive into some internet marketing blogs, and you’ll find there are a lot of different – and contradictory – opinions on how search engines and social media relate to one another. Some claim that the two are distinctly different, and should be treated as such; other are sure there are complex algorithms and crossovers that allow Facebook to influence Google, for example, or vice versa.
Who is right? Can you boost your search engine optimization campaigns by using social posting? Does your social engagement rise with a better search ranking? And does any of this matter to the average business?
To get to the answers, there are a few things you should understand…
Social Activity Doesn’t Directly Affect Search
Google’s programmers have been clear that they aren’t currently using social media activity or engagement as a search signal. So, getting more “likes” or “shares” on your posts won’t help your website draw more organic search traffic.
However, there are indications that might change in the next couple of years (or possibly sooner). That’s because content is being added to social media sites at an incredible pace, and social platforms provide direct feedback from users about which people, brands, and ideas are or aren’t popular. So, we may see a day in the near future when Google considers your website to be better or more trustworthy because people engage with you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.
Social Engagement Does Lead to Increased Search Traffic
Even though social activity doesn’t boost your search visibility directly, that’s not to say that it can’t help you with SEO. To make sense of that statement, we have to dig just a little bit deeper and see what happens when you have a lot of engagement on your social profiles.
When you have users seeing and interacting with your profiles on sites like Facebook, the more likely they are to Google your company name, visit your website, and spend time on your pages. They may also leave comments on your blog, which adds more content and interaction to your business website. Each of these events is a positive search signal, so even though the engagement itself isn’t noted by Google, all the side effects are.
Social and SEO Benefit and Complement One Another
in the same way that social engagement can lead to more Google searches, a healthy SCO campaign is going to cause spillover visits, likes, and shares to your business pages on Facebook (note that we are using the biggest examples – the same could be said for Bing, Twitter, and so on). Getting people to know your company and brand is the name of the game, regardless of whether they are coming to you through search engines or social profiles.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to have a detailed flowchart on search engine optimization and social media to know that both get better when you’re more visible online. The more visits you’re bringing in through Google, the more followers you’re going to have on Facebook and Twitter. When your LinkedIn contacts are engaged, they’re going to Google your business, and so on.
Knowing that, the best think marketers can do is ensure they are active and easy to find in all the places customers look and interact. Then, everything starts working more efficiently and new leads are coming from multiple different platforms at once.