Do social signals influence search?

Do social signals influence search?


So you’ve just published you new post. Great! Now you need to drive an audience to it and get them to read it.

Social media is your number one port of call here. You post a link on each of your social networks, get a few likes and then even a few shares, including an influencer.

The post gets indexed by Google and when you go check it is on the second page for one of your main keywords. Boo. You keep at it, sharing more on Twitter with different headlines and tactics and next time you check, look, it’s now at number five on page one! Awesome, looks like the social media sharing must have done the trick, right?

There’s a lot of speculation about how social drives SEO. Here we’re going to explain to you exactly how that works and dispel some myths.

Do search engines take social signals into account?

What this means is when people share posts on Facebook, LinkedIn Google+ and Twitter, does it increase a website’s standing on Google? Does getting +1s increase the value of a post?

There have been a lot of studies carried out which certainly suggest that this is the case. The theory goes that if Google sees that a post is getting shared a lot, it considers that post to be more valuable so puts it higher up on the search engine results page.

However, there are some problems with this theory.

  1. Google say that it isn’t true. They don’t use social at all for SEO.
  2. Social media links are nofollow links, which means that PageRank cannot be passed to the link.
  3. Correlation is not causation. For example, eating ice cream and drowning both increase at the same time. Does this mean that one causes the other? No, both activities increase in hot weather separately from each other. They don’t cause one another.

So while good content does get shared a lot on social media, it also gets linked to a lot more, which is one of the real deciders when it comes to SEO.

So does social help SEO at all?

When you look at the bigger picture, social media does help SEO however, although it is less direct than just getting a boost straight from Twitter or Facebook. Instead, social media acts as a PR hub for you, placing your content in front of more people more easily, increasing the chances of it being linked to on websites and blogs.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you are getting a boost directly from social media or indirectly through PR through social media. Either way, it pays to invest some of your time and energy in social media and come up with an effective social media strategy to see a boost in the traffic to your website.

We’re happy to help you with any of your social media and online PR queries, just get in touch today to see how.