Some experts feel that social media signals are one of the major factors influencing SEO, whereas other experts believe that what you do on social media does not influence organic ranking. Whether Google factors in social signals or it is planning to do so in the future is not yet clear. According to experts, Google has attempted to include social media signals into its algorithm, but it was not able to quantify or organize the outcome in a meaningful way. Even if Google does not factor in social media, there are strong reasons to believe that SEO is still influenced by it and it can help websites in various ways to achieve a good ranking.
Your activity on Google+ is used by Google to personalize your search results if you sign in. Activity on of other people in your circle will also influence your personalized search results. For instance, when you connect with another person on Google+, and if that person has posted, reviewed, or +1ed a webpage, on the same topic you are researching, then the person’s contribution will rank higher in your results because of your connection. Bing has also started on similar lines by including Facebook friends’ activity. However, personalized results will not influence rankings.
Businesses use social media to promote awareness of their brand or product, and these posts can lead to more linking. For instance, a company posts a video demonstrating a new feature of its product, and this video is shared 30 times on Facebook. Now, suppose a blogger picks this news, decides to review this feature, he might provide a link back to the company’s site. This link would not have happened if the content were not shared through social media. Hence, even though, posting of the video did not directly facilitate into the link profile, it was still able to contribute towards the overall link profile, which in turn influences SEO.
Google has started including author identity into their ranking system, which means an author who has gained a bigger audience, higher authority, and is most relevant to the topic, will be ranked higher for particular queries. This is particularly in play for verified profiles, whereas posting by unverified profiles is being ranked lower. Social media, in turn, can help the author gain more audience, establish authority, and so on, which in turn will help the author gain better ranking.
The profile of a brand on social media could be ranked high, and this can show on the first page of search results. Secondly, the knowledge box that shows in the upper right corner will usually be the Google+ page of that brand. This may not send traffic to the company’s website; however, it does enable the company to have influence over SERP with a more robust branded coverage. Therefore, SEO strategies should include social channels, which promote placement in organic searches.
Most people consider only Google while planning their SEO strategies, since this search engine enjoys more than 67% of the market share. However, there are other search engines gaining popularity, and it would be prudent to study how Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo views social signals. Secondly, SEO is not meant only for search engines, as social media networks have their own search functions. For instance, 2.1 billion searches are done on Twitter every day, whereas YouTube is ranked second as a search engine after Google. Therefore, while developing strategies consider the different SEO factors that can influence rankings on various social media networks.