The relationship between social media and SEO is complicated. Several search engine companies dispute whether or not social media has any impact on SEO, and some doubt it all together. But this assumption often surprises those who have worked to integrate social media as a strategy, as they have had contrary experiences. As Gary Vaynerchuk has said over and over again “Most businesses are not playing the marathon. They’re playing the sprint. They’re not worried about lifetime value and retention. They’re worried about short-term goals.” While it is not clearly understood if Google uses social signals to determine organic ratings or not, to doubt the power of these social signals for their impact on creating visibility for your website and business, and on its impact on the creation of a community for your brand, is a chance one should not take. Plus there are indirect benefits of building an online presence through commonplaces where people hangout like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, like the inbound links, referral visits, and conversions, that come directly from posts on your social media.
Understanding how social signals impact your websites SEO rankings are important. Search engines like Google and Bing take community size into account because it helps measure content value, as it takes a lot of great content to build a large and authentic community. A large community network tells the world that you are an authority in your industry or niche, and that your brand is trustworthy enough to earn the exchange of people’s dollars. Anything shared from your website is an opportunity to hook a new follower, because when people reach your website they have options. They can choose to engage with you on your blog, share your content, or sign up for a free trial. Any option that they choose is worthwhile because your website stats will improve. Community building is an indirect ranking factor but utilizing this strategy goes right in line with Google’s content valuation philosophy.
To help people search for and discover your content it is in your best interest to use social SEO for the same reason you use traditional website SEO. Don’t forget that content from social networks often appears in Google search results, so the larger the community size and the more it shares your content, the more opportunity you have for additional search engine visibility. Facebook and Twitter pages can rank up on Google, so sharing can become commoditized. For every piece of useful information that you post, community members who choose to will share that content, and as they do people outside of your community will see your posts and your content. This sharing cycle is great because it integrates people into your sales cycle. Create content that people want to reference, attract fans, backlinks, and traffic via these posts, as people link back to your website. This approach is in line with Google’s philosophy, so building great content and creating a loyal fan base will help you and your business in capitalizing on the long-term valuation of followers and fans who love and trust your brand.