If you know anything about SEO, you know that social media does not help it, right? The general consensus is that to rank better in Google you need “do follow” links, and all major social media sites add the rel=”nofollow” tag to links – therefore, social media cannot help with SEO. Well, although technically social media may not help SEO, a good social campaign can go a long way to getting your business closer to the top of the SERPs.
There are now over a billion people registered on Facebook; almost every adult in the developed world under the age of 50 has a Facebook account. As well as Facebook, there are Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. According to eMarketer, nearly one in four people are using social media to some extent in their everyday lives. With this figure in mind, it is hard to believe that having a social presence cannot help your website grow in organic search.
Social media does help with SEO, both directly and indirectly. Let’s look at how.
Tweets in Google Search
Google has started indexing Tweets again. In February, 2015, Google and Twitter agreed to a deal to allow Google to index Tweets in the search results.
Google first included Tweets in search in 2011, as part of its real-time search feature. However, Google chose to stop real-time search, probably due to the huge resources not being met by sufficient demand.
Google is now indexing Twitter’s top 50,000 hashtags as well as indexing individual tweets. If you plan your Twitter campaigns with this in mind, you may be able to get your Twitter posts on the first page of Google.
Social Profiles are Indexed Search
If you create a Facebook page, this will be indexed by Google. Optimizing the content on your Facebook page can increase its position in Google search, and this will help drive more searchers to your social media profile, which in turn, should send more people to your website.
Social is more important in Bing
Bing has stated that it considers, to some extent, the social authority of people and link this to how well their content is ranked. For example, Bing’s Local Search service will push Tweets from more popular business owners to the top of the listings when they match the terms used in the search query.
Social Media Search Engines
When we talk of search and SEO, we often forget that the various social media sites are search engines in their own right. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest all allow people to search for information. By creating a strong social presence on these platforms you increase the chances of being found by their users.
Social media can also help make influencers aware of your website. For example, if you release an important news item that is shared across Facebook and Twitter, it may be seen by the local press or bloggers who will then write their own report and link to you.
In the early days of the web, webmasters would contact other sites to ask them to link to their latest page. Because the web is so crowded, this is rarely effective. However, if a website owner sees something interesting in their social streams, they may “blog it” and this will help boost your Google SEO.
Developing an effective social media strategy is a combination of science and art. If you wish to see your brand rise up across all search engines, consider hiring an SEO company to create and implement a campaign on your behalf.
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Danny Hall is the Co-Director of Freelance SEO Essex, a leading digital marketing agency that covers Essex, London and surrounding counties.