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Daria Voronina

Peas and Carrots or Apples and Oranges: Can Social Media and SEO Work Together?

Daria Voronina
Peas and Carrots or Apples and Oranges: Can Social Media and SEO Work Together?

The growing popularity of social media has led to the drastic changes in the whole web space. As a result, SEO and SEM specialists are now concerned about whether or not social media somehow impacts search engine optimization.

Should we pay attention to companies’ social audiences, activities and engagement on Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networks? At first, this topic may seem a little bit vague. Therefore it is really important to understand the relationship between these two elements and eliminate any ambiguity.

In 2014, Matt Cutts released a video with his answers to the following questions: “Are Facebook and Twitter signals part of the ranking algorithm?” and “How much do they matter?” This video provoked a lively discussion on the Internet about the relationship between social signals and SEO. And the answer was that Facebook and Twitter pages are treated the same way as any other pages in Google’s web index.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udqtSM-6QbQ

This means that if something occurs on Facebook or Twitter and Google can crawl it, it can return that in Google’s search results.

Still, the search engine doesn’t have any signals like Twitter followers and Facebook likes in its search ranking algorithms so far. This statement seemed a bit confusing, because previously in 2010 Matt Cutts released another video in which he explained that Google uses Facebook and Twitter links for ranking.

Also, he added that it tries to figure out a little bit about the reputations of authors and creators on Facebook and Twitter as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofhwPC-5Ub4

Nevertheless, in the modern world of Internet socializing it is not particularly wise to ignore audience activity on different social media channels. So, in what way does it influence SEO? Let’s try to summarize and analyze the key points of the topic that we have so far.

Social Sharing Equals Social Link Building

For all we know, millions of links are being published on social accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social platforms. But do search engines count these links as credible backlinks? In his interview, Danny Sullivan writes, quoting Bing, that search engines take into consideration how often a link has been tweeted or retweeted. Also, they calculate the authority of users who tweet.

Now, back to Matt Cutts’ video. According to his words, Google treats a Facebook page or Twitter post just like any other page, and it tries to understand the reputation of a creator on these social media platforms. These facts allow us to assume that links published on authoritative social accounts could be defined as credible backlinks.

Food for thought: You can connect your website to social media via your social profile links. If you generate quality content and stay active on popular social networks, more people will be willing to share your content. Just make sure your content has real value.

The Human Element

Jayson DeMers outlines the importance of humanizing your brand. He explains that social media channels give brands an opportunity to communicate with their existing and potential customers. In other words, they can act like human beings. Your social media followers and connections serve as a kind of social proof. They confirm that your brand is trustworthy and credible. Even if a disappointed customer writes a negative comment about a product or a service on their profile page, a brand representative can reply as soon as possible, apologize and take measures to remedy the situation. Otherwise, if a client is satisfied and pays compliments in the comment section, a brand representative will have the opportunity to thank them and introduce them to the brand’s other products.

Food for thought: Interact with your audience, react when something happens on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social platforms’ pages and build your social media audience. All these actions can increase your conversion rates.

New Search Engine Types

We all know the major search engines, like Google, Bing, Yahoo! and others. But how else do users search for what they need? Neil Patel assimilates social media with search engines and calls them social media search engines. It is quite an interesting and fair point. If users are looking for something, they will utilize both search engines and different social media channels.

For example, YouTube is a separate website that has its own search algorithm. A huge amount of content is indexed on YouTube; users from all over the world visit it to perform searches everyday. Neil Patel says that it is a video-sharing site, which means it functions as a social media platform.

Other good examples are Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has its own developed search engine that differs from Google’s. Using Facebook’s Graph Search helps us find not webpages, but specific things, like objects, places and people. It is just another type of search. With various filters, we can pick the exact results we need. Neil Patel points out that Facebook’s search bar provides users with the possibility of instant searches on practically any topic, organization, individual or idea.

Twitter has a search engine too. It contains a range of filters for optimizing your search. Moreover, it also includes the Twitter Advanced Search functionality. Obviously, this type of search is intended only for Twitter results. Still, it will benefit marketers and business owners, if they make the official social profile of their brand easy for users to identify.

The above mentioned examples are not intended to suggest that social media platforms will someday take the place of search engines. Nevertheless, people spend a great deal of time on them and use them to search for what they need.

Food for thought: Don’t neglect the power of YouTube. Use it to enhance your online and social presence. Link your YouTube video back to your website in the description. Provide sufficient information on your product or service on your Facebook page. People use the platform a lot and every so often check to see how a company is presented on different social media channels. Also, if you want to rank in Twitter search results, you should tweet regularly and bring up the hottest topics in your niche. And don’t underestimate the value of using hashtags.

It’s All About SERPs

You might have noticed that social media profiles appear in Google’s top 20 search results for branded names. For example, try googling “IMDB.” Besides popular websites with movie and TV content in the search listing, you’ll see its Facebook and Twitter accounts in the second and third positions, respectively.

People use social media channels on a regular basis. If they want to find information about a brand they’re not very familiar with, they can click either on their website or their Facebook/Twitter page. Social profiles with quality content that are consistently updated can make interacting with a brand really interesting and fun.

Food for thought: Make sure your social profile contains updated information and engaging content. Take the opportunity to write interesting articles and use colorful infographics and informative videos in your posts.

In Conclusion

Today we can’t deny the importance of social media for SEO or even separate these two entities. Modern and forward-thinking companies will continue to strengthen their brand image in popular social channels.

Even if social signals don’t directly influence your SERP positions right now, you can use the ample opportunities provided by social media channels to develop an effective SEO campaign.

Have you put this into practice? Let us know about it in the comments.

Daria Voronina is a Copywriter at SEMrush. Her major interests are different types of content marketing. She enjoys writing and learning new things that happen in the field. In her spare time she likes writing prose and reading in Japanese.

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