Google has said a number of times that social media is not a factor in SEO. So of course those in the SEO world that only read the headlines start throwing that around when they talk or meet with prospects and clients. However, as is often the case with SEO and the world in general, we need to look at things more closely to fully understand the point of this. Like many factors with SEO, it is not a black and white issue. A number of things that may not be direct ranking factors, are definitely indirect factors, and social media is one of those that leads the way in being an indirect factor.
Why Social Matters, even if not a “Factor”
Saying social media is not a factor in search rankings is like saying gasoline is not a factor for fast cars. Even if Google doesn’t specifically count social shares and likes as credit to your ranking, there are important indirect benefits that are extremely important. Google parallels the offline world by giving credit to you for links as “virtual referrals”. Links are one of the biggest, and some say the absolute biggest ranking factor for SEO. Where networking meetings, chamber meetings, and conferences, may be an offline way to share referrals, social media is the online way to spread this information.
The world has adopted many of the top social media platforms as their online networking meetings, and getting your information out to that world is a key part of getting it noticed, which often leads to links. If you write a great blog post about something to gain links, it won’t gain links if people don’t know about it. What is the top way to tell the world about your blog posting? Share it on social media. That is a key way to gain the links that help fuel your site strength with SEO. In the SEO world, they say “Content is King” and links are the #1 factor. Great content is supposed to generate those links. Unless you are already an extremely high traffic site, nobody is going to know about your content unless you share it on social media. Social media is a factor for that reason. It is an important tool in generating the strength you receive from other factors.
This doesn’t even take into account that traffic is a factor in itself, and sharing this content leads to direct traffic coming to your website as well.
Social Media matters. Links matter. Good content matters. Just do it honestly and naturally and it will help build your online presence. Our businesses have become online entities. It doesn’t matter where your next client found you online, as long as they found you. These pieces all help each other and lean on each other to help your business succeed.