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Do Social Signals Affect SEO and in What Way?

INSCMagazine: Get Social!

By Mike Young

The impact of social media on SEO is a hot topic and there’s a lot of conflicting information floating around. What is clear right off the bat is that social media does help SEO efforts. However, the fact that social signals don’t act as official ranking factor stir confusion and lead some people to downplay their importance.


This can be a costly mistake though. Rest assured that even without the distinguished title of a ranking factor, social signals influence ranking in various ways. The two worlds are tightly interwoven, as you are about to find out.

Mixed signals

In the past, Google has been eager to clarify that social signals aren’t used as a direct ranking factor. This comes as no surprise considering that major social platforms belong to the realm of the Google’s competition. On the other hand, it’s clear that the king of search engines cannot ignore booming and ever-expanding social hubs: the Facebook alone has over 2 billion active monthly users.

We even had some high-ranking officials of Google admitting that links shared on social networks do qualify as signals. After all, links are one of the major ranking factors, and link-building stands as a staple SEO tactic of today. This is to say that although social shares don’t count as links, they likely affect the ranking allocated to specific websites.

The more shares on social networks you have, the more people will see and interact with your content. But, what makes a real difference are links that come with those shares and links to reputable websites in particular. Likewise, all the clicks matter in the long run as click-through rates (CTRs) represent one of the official ranking factors.

Here, we see the fine layers that render SEO and social media entwined.

A multi-faceted relationship

So, the crux of the matter is this: There is a high correlation (not causation) between social signals and search engine ranking.

In other words, SEO methods hold great promise in terms of extending the social reach and social media in turn, enhances your optimization endeavors by providing a platform for engaging the audience, growing a number of followers, brand-building, and delivering quality content.

Hence, top-ranking sites in Google are all brimming with social signals and in this regard vastly outperform other, lower-ranking sites. So, if you create quality content, promote it on social media, and attract and avalanche of social signals, you are going to improve your ranking considerably.

One of the best examples is creating videos for YouTube, the second largest search engine in the world. Most of the videos are not searched with commercial intent in mind, but they do bring links and immense promotional value. Moreover, note that your videos on YouTube can rank organically in the SERPs, and even be displayed at the very top.

A matrix of moving parts

The content alone can take you a long way, but there are many technical aspects to grasp. Therefore, always keep track of the SEO-friendliness of your pages. Use SEO agency software to identify any problems like broken links and fix them promptly. This can boost your traffic substantially and enable you to keep up the pace with the SEO best practices.

Yes, this may seem like a lot of handle and a rather indirect way to achieve your goals, but in the long-term, social media actually is a surefire way to make strides towards greater visibility. You have a chance to promote your brand and ensure you are found and recognized online.

Ultimately, it all comes down to having a social audience that cares about what you have to say and is interested in what you offer. So, find a way to embed your branded messages and quality content in the ecosystem that revolves around entertainment, hobbies, and interests. Get in front of the people out there and spread brand awareness far and wide, rising above your competition.

A match made in digital heaven

A growing body of evidence proves that brand websites that are dominating social networks are being awarded with a high ranking in Google. This kind of overlap points out to the strong correlation between social media and SEO.

So, regardless of whether the signals will become a ranking factor or not, they will continue to play a pivotal role in the world of ranking. To capitalize on this, step up your social game and avoid getting lost in the noise out there.

Make an effort to build an engaged and devoted social audience and let a steady stream of social signals elevate your whole online presence.

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