Do Social Shares Really Matter for Ranking?
Are you spending time and resources promoting your content on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks in the hopes of boosting your search engine rankings?
Actually, there’s plenty of evidence that social signals such as likes and shares ARE related to your ranking… somehow. You can see it here for yourself. … Despite what Google says, Searchmetrics’ white paper on ranking factors is clear: The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high.
In this guide, we’ll share the latest advice on the relationship between social media and SEO, and what you need to do to get search ranking benefits from your social presence
Google is a lot more mum about their algorithm. The general consensus is that social signals are a correlative factor to high SEO rank in Google, but not a causative one. Hootsuite ran an experiment using 90 articles to test how social media promotions boosted rankings. They found a strong correlation. They also found that paid promotion had nearly double the SEO power than organic promotion, though Hootsuite only tested Twitter. PPC companies should take note.
Why do top-performing posts often also have a high number of shares? What exactly is causing these observable correlations?
Some SEOs believed that Google was somehow factoring social share counts into the algorithm like links (though not with nearly the same amount of weight).
Always controversial, the number of social shares a page accumulates tends to show a positive correlation with rankings. Although there is strong reason to believe Google doesn’t use social share counts directly in its algorithm, there are many secondary Search Engine Optimization benefits to be gained through successful social sharing.
It’s not shares, it’s engagement
What percentage of total unique people who saw your update clicked on it and/or shared it? The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high.
The same emotions that make people share things also make people click on those things in the SERPs. This is particularly true for headlines with unusually high CTRs.
We’ll look at some of the reasons why in the next section of this guide.
There’s one more thing to know about social media and SEO ranking. Though it often seems like it, Google’s not the only game in town when it comes to search. This matters because if you care about search traffic from Bing, then you will definitely need to optimise your social media presence.
That’s because social likes and shares ARE a direct ranking factor for Bing.
But if they’re not for Google, what’s up with that correlation? Let’s take a closer look…
Finally, you’ll need regularity in your posting. Content moves so fast on social media regular posting is necessary to keep your brand in the minds of your audience. The regular posting also makes it more likely that social media channels will show your content more often. Shoot for at least three postings a week for each channel if you’re new, but many businesses try to post something every day if they can.
We can definitely say that social media does have an impact on SEO, whether it’s through direct measurements like Bing does or through the ripple effects of audience responses like Google seems to measure. However, getting on the social media train is a trip you can’t stop due to the content requirements. Make sure you need the boost before you get on.
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