How Much Does Social Media Influence Play A Role In SEO And Keyword Rankings?

Social Media Working With SEO

SEO, Social Media Influence And How It All Works

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 10 years performing and consulting for SEO projects, it’s the fact that SEO ranking factors are always changing. While that’s so true, the more things change, the more they stay the same. We’ve seen some SEO ranking metrics stand the test of time, such as backlinks and publishing high quality content. In the same breath, we’ve seen design, user metrics evolve to add more weight to your SEO value.

But what about social media influence? How much does social media influence play a role in SEO and keyword rankings? The truth may just surprise you. Is social media signals enough to take a 10th page SEO rank to the first page of Google? The answer is yes.

Social Media And SEO

Truckers Logic is a platform that delivers useful topics to truck drivers. Naturally, the keyword “deaf truck drivers” would be a term they wanted to rank for. While they did target the keyword, it was never higher than 6th-7th page. That changed when the article went viral for a few days.

Social Media Influence On SEO

Once the article caught fire on Facebook, it went straight to page one, position one. As you can see now, the page has over 7K Facebook signals. 2.4K when the page first appeared on the top spot of page one.

Facebook Is The Top Social Media Signal

While we see so many people say Google+ is the top social media signal, our case studies and experience tells us Facebook is. We’ve seen Google+ carry weight but off and on. Facebook remains consistent and most certainly the social signals you want to push to increase SEO rankings.

My team and I work on a variety of different SEO projects over the past year. From hands-on SEO strategies to search engine optimization consulting, we’ve worked at every end of the spectrum. I’ve seen social media influence peak and I’ve seen it fall. With our case study, it’s important to note that the domain had decent web metrics.

At the time, it had a 22DA. Over 23,000 backlinks. So we know that if website A has more backlinks and authority, social media influence is going to be higher. That’s probably more natural than influenced, but worth noting.

Social Media Marketing Success

Social Media Influence Heavily Among Top Ranking Factors

Going back to the information in that article, we find that 7 out of the top 10 SEO ranking factors were related to social media influence. 4 social media platforms that drive results are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. I believe LinkedIn will certainly be included in 2016. The company is taking a great approach that I feel Google likes. LinkedIn has become a publisher and you’re hearing it now, in 2016, LinkedIn will have something to say about that as they try to become part of the big 5.

But right now, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest are the four social media platforms that play a role in your SEO efforts. Why is Google giving social media such an impact on SEO and organic results? I have a theory. I think it all relates to another major SEO ranking factor, “backlinks.” For years, backlinks have been a ranking factor for SEO. Not just a notch in the algorithm, we’re talking about a major contributor to how your website ranks in Google’s search engine results. Think about this, backlinks are often very questionable, they are no longer a trusted ranking factor due to spam and link building strategies. Does backlinks still have major SEO weight? Absolutely, but we’re seeing backlinks play less of a role in SEO and we’re seeing social media influence and social media signals reigning supreme over backlinks.

Why Trust Is Important To Google

There’s one major reason why social media influence is ranking above backlinks, “trust.” Social media influence is more authentic. If a webpage is being shared thousands of times, Google knows that the content is likely good. Before, Google would look at the backlinks to that domain. Now, social media signals can be enough to pull first page ranks in Google depending on the level of competition for the keywords associated to the page. But no matter what market you’re in or what type of niche you operate, social media signals is a strong ranking factor for your search engine optimization.

See, it’s much easier to get a backlink than to fake a social media share, like or tweet. Backlinks can be created on autopilot with the right software. But social media signals are often authentic and a much higher trust rating than backlinks. Authority backlinks are still important, so don’t get me wrong. Backlinks are still a strong ranking factor, but social media is pushing ahead because for the most part, Google can trust the data given.

Google Favors Social Media As A Ranking System

I thought carefully about this, but I feel confident that this is fair enough to say, Google favors social media as a ranking system. In SEO, we’re taught that backlinks were like a rating system. Popular content gets backlinks, these backlinks are like a positive vote for a website. Think about it, if you’re publishing content on your website, do you link to just anyone? Perhaps back a few years ago, but now? You don’t. Unless, you know the link you’re sending is going to a trusted website. Why? Well, if you link to bad websites, sites that Google view as spam, it can hurt your rankings. And this still holds true today, you can’t link to just anyone.

The subject of link building, we can go on and on for days. But we’ll leave that for another article. Now, SEO 2015, we’re seeing social media signals as votes of trust. Why? Because we just don’t share anything, unless we’re marketing for someone. We only share things we like, things we find an interest in, articles that we feel connected with. We’re not the only ones that know that, Google does too. And due to this, Google can measure a large percentage of the quality of any given webpage by social media metrics alone. This is due to the fact that Google views social media influence as a heavy weight SEO ranking factor.

Finding Success On Social Media

The Keys To Success On Social Media

For those of you that have played your hand in social media marketing,  you likely have some insight into how social marketing works or doesn’t work. And keep in mind, every social media platform is different, markets are different, there’s no one approach or solution to successfully making a webpage go viral. There’s a lot of strategy and techniques that go into the process of marketing on social media. But none the less, there’s a lot that is in your control and you can make your website successful on social media. And in return, you get that extra SEO benefit.

If you’re selling a product or service, you just can’t approach your social media platforms expecting people to buy. It doesn’t work. You have to build your social media platforms and following with real authentic users. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Let’s take Facebook for example. When you get on Facebook, are you looking to go shopping? While some of you may be thinking “or course I do,” the majority of people don’t visit Facebook to buy. Yet, Facebook is full of potential prospects in all markets, age groups, classes. The key is turning a non-buyer into a prospect, lead or sale.

Again, think about how you use Facebook. How many times have you been looking through your Facebook feed and see something that catches you eye, catches your attention? This is where we make our living. Your content has to be interesting enough to capture the attention. Once you have them, you can control where they go, send them to a offer, a product, or landing page. What ever it’s you do. But the hardest part is the first step, getting that click, gaining the attention of another.

What about emotions? We’re taught in marketing that emotions do play a role in the buying process. Those who promote on social media successfully knows this. So in the end, there’s a lot of different ways that you can see success in your social media marketing efforts. Companies have seen great results with polls, free giveaways, engaging content and other techniques. The key is finding what works. And in turn with SEO, you want to make sure you use your hashtags. You should be using the same keywords you want to rank for in your hashtags.

Social Media Influence And Signals Matter

If you don’t have social media sharing buttons on your website, the time is now to add them. This is going to give customers the opportunity to share your content. If you’re on WordPress, there’s a ton of great social media plugins that can give you these features. Make sure you make a genuine effort on all of your social media accounts.

If you’re an active reader to my blog or have read other articles onsite, you may have read me talking about one of the biggest mistakes I made in social media marketing. I failed to make real connections to others. I failed big when I first started my career in SEO and Web Development years ago. Connecting with authority social accounts and influencers is very important. Building last-longing relationships is important to anyone trying to grow and develop a name or brand.


SEO Is Only One Piece Of The Puzzle

For those that truly don’t understand SEO, search engine optimization alone will not get you where you need to be. Can you see good results from our SEO efforts? Sure. However, it takes a total effort of all online development phases to see a high level of success online. Working both SEO and SMM is a good start to achieving maximum results. Social media and SEO work together, and the better you understand that relationship, the better off you’ll be.

Learn how to grow your online business, learn all the different strategies and techniques that can be applied to your development plans. If you’ve struggled online with your SEO rankings, this may be the reason why. Those who are achieve the highest level of success online are the companies that have the complete package, working SEO, SEM, SMM, SMO, PPC, online marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, email marketing and all the other strategies that can be used to grow an online business. When you

If you want to see the best results in terms of both SEO and social media, the two have to work together. It doesn’t matter if you want to choose one or the other, you now need them both. And as we’re quickly approaching 2016, don’t be surprised if social media influence, signals and engagement have more value as a SEO rank factor. I just can’t see why anyone would not want the added value of SEO and SMM working together.

Don’t Forget Your Social Media Tools

Lastly, it’s so important that you respond to your engagement. Look for genuine conversations. Try to answer questions in a reasonable time. Treat your social media as a form of your customer service. You ALWAYS want to keep customers happy, so do make that effort.

There’s a lot of great tools out there to help you with your social media marketing. I’m not referring to a tool to help you post, but rather a tool or SMM software that allows you to know engagement, social signals, social media mentions and so on. This is for those of you that want to make a serious effort on social media. Take the time to do your research and find the needed tools and software within your budget. You won’t regret it.



Richard Hale is the Founder of Hale Associations, a company that provides Web Development, SEO and Marketing services globally.