Understanding the Impact of Social Media on Google and SEO
Social content matters because it is crawlable content that lives on an authoritative domain. It can appear alongside your own site content in the SERPs, especially SERPs for branded queries using a content calendar. Backlinks on social media platforms, however, are all NoFollow, and Google itself has stated that "tweets and likes" are not a ranking signal in its search engine. So does that mean that the impact of social media activity doesn't matter for SEO?
The answer is that it's not so simple. Read BrightEdge's exclusive point-of-view on the impact of social media and SEO to find out why.
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What is the Impact of Social Media on Google and SEO?
Are Twitter and Facebook tweets and likes an SEO ranking signal? Do they matter for search?
Social media impacts and matters because it is crawlable web content on an authoritative domain that can appear alongside your site content in the SERPs, especially on branded queries. But the social web is a separate environment that Google has decided not to interpret for ranking traditional web content.
Matt Cutts of Google explained that social signals, like tweets and likes, are not a ranking signal in the Google algorithm in this video because “We are sampling an imperfect web. We have to worry a lot about identity [and relationships] when identity is already hard.”
BrightEdge checked in with Eric Enge, author of The Art of SEO and GM at Perficient, who said, “All links on social sites are NoFollow. Reasons people share on social media and their popularity are not as related to authority, so are less relevant for deciding rank in the SERP.”
Benu Aggarwal, President of Milestone Internet, says, “Social is top of the funnel and very critical for the engagement and awareness stage. It is not a ranking factor, but it helps in overall customer journey.”
6 Ways the Impact of Social Media Supports Healthy SEO
So should brands worry about social with regard to SEO? Yes. Here are 6 reasons why social media impacts SEO:
- Share of SERP
- Preempt competition
- Reputation management
- Build awareness and familiarity
- Improve engagement
- Build backlinks by making your web content more discoverable
1. Share of SERP. Because Google can allocate a large amount of above-the-fold space to the Twitter carousel, it creates exposure and distribution for your Twitter feed. The more coverage of the SERP your brand has the more dominant your brand will look.
2. Preempt Competition. Search is a zero-sum game. If you are not prominently placed, you leave the door open to your competition to claim that space. Competitive threat is often a better motivator for management and colleagues than an emerging opportunity.
3. Reputation Management. One objective for using Twitter is to displace non-brand content and proactively manage your brand’s reputation. When doing a Google brand search of a major brand, you’ll notice on the top of the search results the Twitter stream pops up, (i.e., a tweet carousel) below the site links. The tweet carousel takes up vertical space on the results page and pushes any potentially competitive information downward and thereby increasing brand visibility, share of voice, and content control. In addition, the tweet carousel allows customers to easily interact with the brand via Twitter, allowing for retweets, likes, and comments.
4. Build Awareness and Familiarity. Being in many communication channels allows you to interact with people in their preferred medium. People who get most of their information from Twitter will only find you if you are there. Once they engage there, they will be more likely to recognize and engage or click elsewhere, like in the SERPs.
5. Improve Engagement. Getting people to interact with you socially is likely to familiarize them with your voice and content and improve engagement with other content, and dwell time after click through from the SERPs is a ranking factor.
6. Build Backlinks. As mentioned, backlinks in social do not count as SEO backlinks, however the more people are exposed to and consume your content, the more chance they will add a backlink to that content in their site or blog, which will contribute to link equity, which is a ranking factor.
So, what is the takeaway on whether social media impacts Google and SEO? Download the full POV to find out more...