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There’s been some debate as to whether social media contributes to an SEO strategy or not. Some argue that social media has no effect while others argue that there is an effect, however indirect it may be. What seems to be clear, though, is that social media rarely discredits or devalues SEO. That being said, I’ve listed below some ways that your social media efforts can give you some great SEO returns, indirect or not.
Before diving into these tips, it’s also worth noting the importance of tracking your social media efforts. Results many times only come after experimentation, and if you don’t track your experiments, there won’t be any data to tell you the story of how you can improve. Many social media sites have some form of built-in analytics, but if you want to go a step further, you can track other metrics of your choice on an Excel spreadsheet and then move that spreadsheet into some form of Excel dashboard software.
1. Quicker indexing
Content that is being shared extensively across social media looks really good to search engines because they take it to mean that what is being shared is quality information, and they rank it accordingly. Social media can also contribute a great deal to how many links a page gets, and if a page on your website has a lot of links, search engines will index it that much more quickly.
Content that is highly tweeted can cut the time it takes to be indexed by as much as 50%. It’s not just the amount of tweets that comes into factor, though; your content will be more quickly indexed if some of those who tweeted about it have a high scope of influence.
2. Increase in domain authority
The more content about your website that is shared across social media, the higher your rankings for your site will be across major search engines. Every time a piece of content is shared on some kind of social platform, your domain authority as a whole goes up; this means more traffic and greater credibility for your site. I am currently tracking over 20 domains in Bright Edge’s SEO competitive analysis tool. In comparing DA increase to the top 5 ranking pages over hundreds of SERPs, there is clear definite correlation with social shares and metrics. Maybe not causations, but correlation for sure.
Google loves relevant and fresh content, whether it’s on your site or social media accounts. Keep the social media profiles linked to your site active by posting quality content often. Search engines see this and will consider your accounts veritable and of value to users.
3. Social signals
Have you heard this term before? Social signals seems to be a relatively new phrase when it comes to all things SEO. Basically it means that Google measures your website’s social media stats and activity and uses them to increase or decrease your ratings. So how often are you sharing content on your social media platforms? Do you have a lot of fans and followers, or not so many? Does your site have social sharing buttons? Social signals are becoming an increasingly important metric, and if your social presence isn’t where it should be, give it some love and attention.
4. Local search benefits
Businesses with an actual location where customers can come need to benefit from local search. So many people conduct searches on their smartphones while on the go, so you’re missing out if not engaged. Location-based social networks like Urbanspoon, Yelp, and Foursquare give users a great look at what is near them with ratings and reviews, so if your industry fits, hop on and make use of these networks. Make sure that you keep your address, company name, phone number, and directions up to date.
5. Bring traffic to your site
Links that you build on other sites very rarely bring visitors and potential clients to your site. More often they just sit and send some juice to your site, but not much else. Google is cracking down on link-building because it creates spam left and right, so they’re making it harder and harder to build links, even quality ones. But when you share content on social platforms, you’re more likely to bring real people into your website who could turn into real customers or promoters.
6. Get people to build links for you
One of the greatest benefits of social media is that once you get a decent follower, you suddenly have a group of people who will do work for you. If you create and post content that your followers like, they’ll share it; it’s that simple. Sometimes it just takes asking to get others to share it; studies have found that adding “please retweet” or “please RT” to a tweet gets way more retweets than if you don’t ask for the share. It’s also a good idea to add share buttons on your website right by the content; make it as easy as possible for people to build links and create buzz.
7. Drive site engagement
Even if everyone looking at your content isn’t converting, the increase in traffic to your site is beneficial from an SEO standpoint. If you’re sharing interesting infographics and blog posts, among other good content, getting people to come to your site and then to stay and look at the content will do great things for increasing your rankings. At the same time, if your content isn’t all that great and visitors are bouncing right away or are spending very little time on your site, you’ll see that have an effect on your rankings as well.
8. Profile ranking
Social media profiles rank high for brand terms, so if you want to compete for some valuable SERP space, you’ll want to create social media profiles—and then be active on them. You’ll see your company’s social media profiles appear in the SERPs instead of other companies showing up—and you know that bumping out the competition is always a good idea.
9. Motivation to produce regular content
You know that Google looks highly on sites with fresh and frequent content, and the same is true for your social media platforms. This should be good motivation to keep up to date on what is happening in your industry and providing content that delivers. And it’s not only Google that loves regular, relevant content; followers love it. You are at risk of being unfollowed if you don’t share new and interesting things.
10. Local SEO benefits from Google+
The state of Google+ at the moment has been hotly debated, and there is plenty of evidence that Google is still testing the role it wants the platform to work with search. But for now, a local SEO benefit for having a presence on G+ still exists. The Google+ Local tab compiles data that is indexed by Google, which makes it easier for customers to find the local businesses they’re looking for. You’ll have a better chance at being ranked in search results if you take advantage of this tool. Make sure you have a Google+ profile; there are features to Google+ Local that you can only use if you have a Google+ profile. Finally, ensure that you link your website to your Google+ Local page. You’ll get local SEO benefits to your website and more social love from existing visitors to your Google+ Local presence.