For some time now, the relationship between social media and SEO – particularly regarding rankings – has been the subject of considerable discussion and speculation. Several seemingly contradictory statements from official sources at Google and Bing have done little to clarify the matter. The professional SEO community continues to go back and forth over this, meticulously analyzing our prized glimpses into the search engines’ complex and opaque algorithms. But for those just looking to help out their rankings with their social signals, the simple question remains: does what you do on social media affect your site rankings?
In short, yes.
The current consensus among pro search engine optimizers is that social signals are not a direct ranking factor, but they do influence ranking. While the use of keywords in social content doesn’t directly cause a site to rank better for those terms, there is a strong correlation between social signals and high rankings.
The reason for this is pretty simple: popular, well-written social content that is followed by large numbers of people generates site traffic and links to your site. It allows your site to become a trusted source for the topics your social content discusses. And all of those things do have a direct effect on rankings.
So, what does it mean to you, the person creating social content and hoping to get a little search ranking boost out of it? Here are some dos and don’ts:
- Do write for your audience, not for the search engines. This should be the rule for all site content, but it may be most important in social, since there is no direct effect from keyword use, etc.
- Do create value. Give your social followers something they can use, something they can talk about. Useful, actionable information not only generates shares, it results in site visits and backlinks, which are SEO gold.
- Don’t stuff your social content with keywords. It doesn’t work, and it’s a red flag to the search engine ranking algorithms. Again, write for your user, in a natural, readable fashion and your SEO will take care of itself.
- Don’t go for the hard sell on social. Pushing your products or services too hard is something most users are leery of on social. They’re on social sites to participate in communities, to entertain themselves, and so forth. They’ll resent a hard sell approach and they won’t share or link to that sort of content.
Still a little uncertain about how to incorporate SEO into your social presence? Have other SEO questions? We can help. East Bank Communications offers a full range of SEO services, ranging from technical site audits to helping you craft a social media presence that incorporates SEO best practices.
Contact Us to learn more!