SEOs have long considered how to leverage Social Media to create better SEO campaigns. Just with much of Google’s algorithm, not much is categorically stated and SEOs must either take Google for their word, or preferably use experiments to test things. Over the years, the general consensus has changed, primarily because Google is so ambiguous and large scale, rigorous experiments are difficult to carry out.
The thing with taking Google at their word, especially on this subject, is that they have contradicted themselves. In 2010, Matt Cutts, formerly of Google, released a video stating that social signals do in fact impact search rankings. However, in 2014, Matt Cutts uploaded a video claiming that Facebook likes and Twitter followers have no impact on search rankings.
In this article, we attempt to cut through the noise, find out if a relationship exists in 2019 and share knowledge on how to best leverage the relationship between Social Media & SEO.
Is there a direct relationship in 2019?
As we’ve seen, the formal stance on this relationship changes over time, and Google are renowned for making changes without any release, so where do things stand in 2019. Hootsuite completed a pretty thorough experiment testing a relationship does exist and to what extent.
In summary, Hootsuite conducted a rigorous and scientific test that took 90 blog articles, split equally into three buckets of:
- Control group (no organic or paid publishing)
- Group A (published organically on Twitter)
- Group B (published organically on Twitter and then boosted for two days with $100 for each article)
The results of this experiment concluded, that there is in fact a significant (22% increase), and direct correlation between improvements in rankings and social engagements. The results showed that the increases in rank were separate to any increases in links due to social visibility.
The experiment is a fascinating read and it should certainly be read in full.
Are there indirect relationships?
Yes, there are a couple of other ways that Social Media indirectly affects a search presence.
We touched on the fact that by sharing content on Social Media, more people are seeing it and therefore the content shared is more likely to receive links. Link building is still massive in SEO and using Social Media as a tool to generate more links should not be understated.
Social Media on Search Engine Result Pages
Another aspect to consider when evaluating the relationship between Social Media and SEO is how crawler bots index social media sites and display them on SERPS. Google, in particular, has increased its index of Twitter massively.
But what does this mean for websites competing for business on Google? Well, it means that the way you have set-up and managed your business’s social profiles will affect the search results related to your site. For example, a search for “Sony” on Google.com brings up the following results.
Social Media Platforms Are Search Engines
Although Google is by far the largest search engine in the world, social platforms are used by a lot of people to find information. This means that the principles of SEO should also be applied to Social Media profiles. A common mistake, especially from less established businesses if having multiple different accounts on the same social media platform. This looks incredibly unprofessional and will diminish the brand and likelihood of somebody enquiring. On the flip side, if your business has one clearly titled and well optimised social media profile per platform, you will certainly be at an advantage.
Despite Google’s official stance on the direct impact of Social Media on SEO, there is strong evidence to suggest otherwise. All good marketing strategies should have an interconnected structure between each channel, and this is further evidence of why SEOs should use Social Media to help with their SEO campaign.