Social signals are contributing more and more to successful SEO campaigns. While social media does affect SEO, it’s not a black and white issue and it’s an indirect effect at a domain level (according to Simon Penson’s article in Search Engine Watch in May, 2015).
Like good content, social signals are an engagement metric, which generally translates to more sites linking to your content and an increase in visitors from referral sources.
Users engaging with content on social media will likely spend more time on your site (increasing average session duration) and are more likely to view other content on the site (decreased bounce rate and increased returning visitors). All of which are rumored (not conclusively confirmed by Google) to contribute to improved organic search performance. Because of these reasons, website visitors need to be given an easy way to share your content. Social sharing icons are a must.
In 2014, Google’s Matt Cutts clarified the relationship between social signals and organic search performance. Matt highlighted that the number of followers or likes that someone (or a brand profile) has is not a contributing factor to how Google ranks a website. While Google may not be tracking the number of people who like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter, the actions of your audience (such as reacting to content on Facebook or liking/retweeting on Twitter) and the impact of these actions is noticeable.
Social signals tell Google that your website/brand is being talked about online and that it’s a genuine brand and potentially trustworthy.
How can you use social signals to improve domain strength
When speaking about domain strength, you can interchange this with DA (domain authority), Majestics/Ahrefs domain rating or whatever you’ve replaced Google’s PageRank with.
When you share content to social media and invest in ‘boosting’ content on the platform, you can reach new audiences and users. Some of these may then feel like sharing the content themselves and some may even link to it from their own websites. These links are naturally occurring and will improve Google’s perceived value of a website, impacting it’s rankings.
Social media helps with content sharing
With approximately 2.34 billion social media users worldwide (source), it’s now almost inadmissible that social media has changed and formed our online behavior. Along with the invention of Facebook Instant Articles and Snapchat Discover, Internet users are adopting social media platforms as a place to consume news and other content, as well as engage in social activities.
Great content increases engagement on social platforms with like-mined people. These are the same people you want visiting your website to engage with your brand and learn about your products and services.
Guest Post by Dan Taylor. Dan is an SEO Account Manager based in Leeds, specializing in technical and international SEO. He’s an unashamed SEO nerd and data geek, with a thing for spreadsheets, gin and Hull City. Find Dan at Twitter LinkedIn