SEO And Social Signals: Can It Help You Rank?

In the Search Engine Optimization industry, there is always a debate about whether or not something directly and truly affects ranking. Such is the case when it comes to social signals. Many SEO experts and even Google itself will tell you that Social Signals don’t directly impact a website’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking. However, some digital marketers still believe that social signals can influence and improve a website’s chances at ranking for keywords. Let’s find out the real answer.

What are Social Signals?

First, we need to understand what social signals are. In a nutshell, Social Signals are likes, views, shares, votes, comments, pins, or any social media fingerprint people leave on social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube. These authoritative social platforms can get filtered out by various search engines like Google, which is why their influence on SEO ranking has been much-debated about. But the truth is, social signals can indicate if a brand is being talked about by consumers, which helps improve SERP ranking. Why? It’s because signals from these popular and trusted platforms are recognized as valuable by Google and other search engines. Which brings us to the question…

Can Social Signals help you rank for your target keywords?

The short and decisive answer is, yes it does. However, Social Signals doesn’t help a site’s SEO in the way you think. So how exactly do social signals affect SEO? Let’s try to break it down.

Before we go any deeper, it’s important to note that it is impossible to prove Social Signal’s effect on SEO. Google and its employees are very tight-lipped about Google’s algorithm. In truth, nobody really knows the magic formula that will solve SEO successfully. In fact, Google’s high ranking generals like Garry Illysis and Matt Cutts have both, in the past, confirmed that social signals do not directly affect how they rank websites.

Saying that, there are things we simply can’t ignore nor deny. Take this 2016 paper from Searchmetric, Rebooting Ranking Factors White Paper,

“The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high, and the number of social signals per landing page has remained constant when compared to with the values from last year’s white paper. … The top-ranked websites in Google’s rankings display vastly more social signals than all other pages…. This is primarily due to the overlap between brand websites performing strongly in social networks and being allocated top positions by Google.”

Perhaps social signals don’t necessarily cause sites to rank higher or lower in SERPs. However, they correlate somehow. If we’re talking about what makes sense, think about this scenario. Any type of content that gets viral are shared, liked, commented on in social media platforms including a link to the website source. If you take in the basic workings of SEO, it only makes sense that links from these social signals will improve ranking, right?

How Social Signals (Indirectly) Help You Rank

  1. Backlinks

Suffice it to say, the more your content is shared across social media platforms, the more opportunity you have to acquire quality backlinks. In fact, one company manage to land on the top 1 Google page result after it acquired over 130,000 Facebook shares.

  1. Audience Building

In today’s market, customers no longer just flock to you. This is the world of social media, and you need to engage. For your business to success, you need to be proactive in building your audience, which is why you need to manage your social media presence well.

  1. Promotion

What better place to promote your business than social media? Take Youtube, for instance. Although technically not a search engine itself, Youtube is the second most-used search engine in the world. You can capitalize on this and create engaging content to promote your products or services.

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