When Does Social Media Affect SEO and Search Engine Results?


One of the notable developments in the Internet over the past few years is the rise of the popularity and influence of social media networks, not only in the personal lives of the public but also in the online business industry. As social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube became more ingrained in the daily routines of consumers all over the world, it only makes sense that webmasters who aim to generate conversions in their websites will take advantage of the popularity of social media and use them to promote their websites’ products and services.

In fact, many business entrepreneurs today would expect every trustworthy SEO company to have search engine optimization via social media as part of their basic services. Creating social media accounts has also become a habit among entrepreneurs. No one can deny that social media accounts can funnel traffic to a website, promote products and services much more effectively, and provide businesses with a venue to interact with their target customers. Most importantly, social media has also become essential for SEO since it can influence search engine results.

Why do search engines pay attention to social media?

SEO is all about making a website become visible to the public. Now what better way to do that than to make sure your website makes it in the first page—and if you can push it, the first spot—of the search engine results pages? There are so many methods and strategies for SEO, but all of them share this same, central goal.

Passing the parameters set by search engine is not the only important thing that will land you a spot on the SERPs though. Search engines also use other ranking signals, and users’ trust ratings bear significant weight. Thanks to social media, readers and Internet users can now directly show their pleasure and confidence in an article or website. Search engines consider it huge points when people are sharing articles, images and other links on their social media accounts.

Webmasters now affix social sharing icons in their webpages. Sharing indicates a vote of confidence that the content is excellent and valuable—the ultimate requirements for search engines to index and assign a high ranking

When do social media posts matter enough to be an asset for a website’s SEO efforts?

Bing and Google have admitted that they do consider social media as a ranking signal. However, that depends on the following conditions:

When a social media post is made by an authority.

Popular personalities in most niches often have their own social media accounts where they keep in touch with their followers and share ideas with them. If these people in authority create posts that include your website or a link to your article, then those can be valuable ranking signals that will boost your SERP ranking. It is assumed that people in authority are knowledgeable about their niches and can be trusted to give excellent references to their fans or followers.

Of course, the term “authority” also raises questions. Who can be considered as persons in authority, and how do search engines identify them? Bing for one considers the number of followers, the people followed, and any association with other famous people within the niche. People in authority also know what they are talking about, so they tend to use exact-match keywords. This in turn gives their social media posts heavier weight in the SERPs.

When many people are posting/talking about a website, article, URL, etc…

Search engines also consider the popularity of the website, article, or page, and one way to measure that is by the volume of mentions in the social media networks. Let’s say an authority figure tweeted an article that caught his eye. If his followers all retweet that post or continue talking about it in other social media sites, then that’s definitely going to help boost the article’s SERP ranking.

An abundance of diverse posts from different people is a much more credible measure of popularity too, than when the same people create multiple posts over and over again. Take note too that Google, Yahoo, and Bing have all made their organic results as universal as possible and are including social mentions in their organic and news results.


Yahoo! SERP

Google SERP

If the social media mentions are picking up pace.

If there’s one disadvantage with optimization via social media, that would be its extremely mercurial nature. Posts referencing your site may be viral today, but several months down the road its circulation will surely diminish. This is why it takes a lot of effort to make social SEO work. SEOs need to figure out what makes the target audience tick. They need to be very creative and think of new, fun ways to make each post, tweet or interactions with other people become engaging and worthy of being mentioned repeatedly by others.

For as long as your site earns a high rate of social media mentions, you gain additional SEO advantage for the SERPs. Here is where the saying, “Strike while the iron is hot,” can be applied. Going full steam ahead with your other SEO strategies at a time when your optimization via social media is also at its peak may just propel your site further up the SERPs.

If the website itself has social media accounts.

Notice that if you search for a celebrity or even a product brand, their social media accounts also make it to the first SERP pages. Clearly they can also be considered by search engines as authority sites, especially if they have plenty of followers. The fact that you can use as many exact-match keywords in your posts or profile info (inserted within sensible content, of course) without getting penalized by Penguin for excessive SEO is also an added advantage. If your social media account gets into the first SERPs for general searches about your products/services, people can easily find a link leading to your website.

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Emma, aka the "Foxy Lady", writes and promotes Pitstop Media's articles about search engine optimization and social media. She is a fun loving person and likes to help others with good advice. She is also a caring mother of a beautiful daughter.


5 Responses to “When Does Social Media Affect SEO and Search Engine Results?”

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