If we discuss the “Role of Social Networks in Search Engine Optimization”, It’s safe to say that social media is not directly linked with SEO ranking nor does it have any impact on them. However, that does not mean that SEO does not have a huge role in Social Media. When you post something on any social media platform, it creates social signals (likes, views, shares, comments, etc), these signals add to improving your brand exposure and creates an influence on Search Engine Optimization. Your posts on your socials may not have a place in SEO ranking but social signals help them reach your target audience. With the help of these social signals, you can influence SEO in the following ways:
- Increase your Brand Presence
- Distribute your content to a large amount of audience
- Have an impact on your online visibility
- Increases the lifespan of your posts
Before we proceed with more information, let’s discuss what led people to believe that SEO directly impacts Social Media. In 2010, Google’s (now) former employee Matt Cuts posted a video saying that Social Media posts have an impact on your SEO rankings. Which, in return, became a reason for most brands to shift their markets on multiple social media platforms and started posting more engaging content to attract viewers.
However, four years later, upon research, people begged to differ and Matt Cuts posted another video claiming that social media, in fact, doesn’t directly have any influence on SEO rankings. Of course, by the time this information was released most of the people shifted on social media and a whole new market was introduced, which, to this very day, is working. That is why it’s important to understand how SEO and Social Media are connected.
Social Links, Mentions and Rankings:
We’ve already established that there is no direct connection between Social Networks and SEO. However, it is possible that Social links posted on social media are credible back-links and influence SEO rankings. This discussion, however, is purely based on research and doesn’t have any authentic verdict yet.
Other than Social links, social media mentions play quite the role in the SEO rankings. In 2017, Google’s Gary IIIyes claimed that the more people mention you, the more your visibility will increase. If we take an example of any business on Social Media platforms, they promote mentioning their names to enhance online presence. This means if you’re successful on social media, your chances of increasing SEO rankings are pretty high.
Social Media is a Search Engine itself:
If I bet a penny for every time I’ve looked a business up on social media, I would be a millionaire! People were already shifting their entire businesses online but with COVID, shifting on social media became a necessity for most businesses. With this, everyone started appearing on social media and people have started using Facebook or Twitter to search for people as compared to Google or Bing.
But how does this work? Here’s how: If you’re active on Twitter (through maximum tweets) or if you have more visually pleasing content interspersed with correct hashtags, you’re more likely to be visible to people searching for your relevant field. Companies should not only rely on Google or Bing as a search engine but with the increasing demand of Social platforms, they should expand their horizons to other platforms as well.
Best Social Networks for SEO:
As mentioned above, social media in themselves are search engines. The reason behind it is that nowadays if you want to search for, let’s say, a restaurant, your first instinct wouldn’t be to check their website out, you would prefer their social media pages. Why? Because of the following:
- You’ll get a more personal look at how the restaurant looks like (Which you can’t get on the website)
- You’ll get a bunch of reviews from people who have visited that particular restaurant and nothing spreads better than word of mouth.
- You’ll get their daily/weekly updates and if there are any deals or promotions
- And most importantly, their customer support would most probably be more responsive on social media as compared to a website (Most of the places don’t even have a chat option for their websites, they just provide their socials)
Social media have revamped their websites a certain way so that if any user searches for something particular, they can be given multiple options. To take an example, let’s talk about Facebook. If you’re looking for a job and you search “Freelancing jobs” on the search bar, you will get multiple options from different companies who have posted about jobs to companies who have added a job on their profiles for people to reach out. So, you see, social media has been working very actively in behaving like a search engine.
The next question one can ask here is which social media channels do use when it comes to SEO? Here are some top examples:
Linkedin is considered the most social platform when it comes to jobs. It has been running for a while now and the algorithm of the site is set in a way that helps in generating the most leads. The reason for using social media as a search engine is to generate leads and Linkedin is the content marketing hub for about 94% of the B2B marketers. By using the right keywords, your company can be easily found on the top search results of Linkedin and if you have the relevant content and relevant headings, the youtube algorithm can push your profile to the top of the search results.
The second best and easily reachable social media is Facebook. Who doesn’t have a Facebook, right? People have been using Facebook as a social hub for all their social interactions and companies for a more personal experience for their customers. Facebook is extremely user-friendly so you know it’s easily accessible to people anywhere and Google knows that. Back in 2007, Facebook allowed Google and other search engines to use Facebook profiles in their top search results. Which turned out great for Google and Facebook both so every time you search a particular place, their social media, particularly Facebook page, shows up in Google knowledge boxes.
After Facebook, the next social hub is Twitter. The audience on Facebook might have been reduced in the past few years (particularly the younger generation) but Twitter is forever young. Everyone uses it. However, the SEO on Twitter works a little differently. For people to be easily searchable, the use of Hashtags are considered very important. There’s no specific programming at the backend that supports hashtags. However, the purpose of a hashtag is to act like a single keyword that helps find what you’re looking for, easily. A service might choose to support hashtags by scanning all the new posts beginning with a hash (#) and inserting them in a special index but that’s just a theory.
If we’ve learned anything from this article it is that the role of Social Networks in SEO has been rigorously increasing and somewhere in the near future, Social media might be the only search engine we know of. If you have a certain social media strategy, you can uplift your profile according to the needs of the niche of your profile. We’re all still learning how this whole thing works but let’s hope the social media lords come up with an easier explanation on what to do and what not to do.