Social media is increasingly impacting search rankings. There are various factors such as keyword optimization, quality of inbound links, site architecture etc that determine the position of your website on the search engine results page (SERP). To this mix, now social signals have also been added. So presence and activity on social media is something you just CANNOT ignore while working out your SEO strategy.
So What are the Social Signals for Search Rankings?
There are essentially 2 kinds of social signals.
- Large numbers of social recommendations for content and widespread social sharing of content are social signals for higher search rankings. This means if your content receives maximum Facebook likes, Twitter tweets, Pinterest pins and so on and/or is shared widely by people on their social networks, it has higher chances of ranking high on the SERP
- Another important social signal for enhanced rankings is your content being shared by high authority social media users. These social media users are usually leaders in the niche, thought influencers and have a mammoth social media following.
Let us now try and understand why these social signals are good for SEO.
Decoding the Social Signals that Enhance Search Rankings
Social Signal #1- Social Recommendations and Social Sharing
Search engines like Google are constantly endeavoring to offer maximum value to their customers – their searchers. So Google wants to throw up only those results that are relevant to the search term and which add value to readers. When the search engine notices that a particular piece of content is being liked by tons of people and many people are tweeting and retweeting it, the obvious conclusion is that this content is adding value to readers. The logic here is that social media activities are carried out by real people and no one would share crappy content with their friends.
Thus increased social recommendations and social sharing of content enhances the search rankings of your content.
Social Signal #2- Social Sharing by High Authority Social Users
Niche influencers are the experts in the niche (industry) and are super busy people. It is but obvious that they will not share on their social media platforms content that is sub-standard or incorrect. In fact, even if your content is well written but offers nothing new to the audience, it is unlikely to be retweeted by a niche influencer. These high authority social users will only share content that is not only well written, but which also offers something new and extremely valuable to readers. Search engines know this and thus such content is bumped up in rankings.
Besides, content that is shared by influencers gets the widest possible exposure (remember, the influencers have massive numbers of followers). Some of these people may further reshare the content (“after all it was good enough for the influencer to share, so why not me” may be their thinking). And so the cycle continues, generating more shares for content, which is also a social signal for SEO.
What strategies have you used to maximize these social signals to your advantage?