Navigating the world of social media marketing and SEO can be a tricky subject matter for a small business owner (luckily, High Level Marketing offers numerous services to help elevate that stress).
Furthermore, trying to figure out the real time impact social media has on search engine rankings has proved to be elusive for even the most savvy digital marketer.
For a clearer answer on whether or not social media actually helps (or hurts) SEO, let’s go straight to the source - Google.
In August of 2015, Google’s John Mueller stated that Google does NOT, in fact, use social signals in its search engine ranking factors.
However, this statement doesn’t comprehensively cover the issue as a whole. In September, Google’s Matt Cutts released an updated video statement detailing how Google approaches social media’s relationship to SEO.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Google treats social content similar to a web page for search functionality, but is limited in how much content it can actually index.
While Google has vast resources, it simply cannot comprehensively index every single tweet, ‘like’, Facebook status update, etc that goes online.
Considering the sheer volume of new social content generated (over 500 million tweets go out in a single day!), it’s impracticable to think Google could quickly and correctly index all new social content. Social content can show up in search results, but a study in June of 2015 found that Google indexed less than 4% of all tweets.
Google CAN see all social content, but that doesn’t mean they are going to USE social content for SEO purposes - see the difference?
If your social settings are on on public, customers can find your social media content via search engines, but this content will not positively or negatively effect your website’s overall SEO rating (at this point in time).
However, because SEO algorithms change very quickly, we recommend you view your social media content as an extension of your SEO strategy, and keep all social conversation industry relevant.
Digital brand identity, across a variety of social platforms, is very hard to prove.
While you may be initially dismayed all your hard social media work isn’t directly paying off into improving your website’s SEO ranks- don’t be.
Verifying author identity and brand authority on social media is more difficult than you think, and Google is actually acting in your best interest by not indexing all social content that appears to be from your brand.
For instance, let’s say your name is Jane Doe and you start Jane Doe’s Plumbing Company in Detroit, Mi.
You spend time and money designing a quality website, curating SEO rich content and driving qualified leads through the art of inbound marketing. As the savvy small business owner you are, you decide to create a business Twitter account to grow your social impact.
You use your brand logo as a profile photo, link to your website, and all do all the right things to let customers know this is the official Twitter account of your business.
Now, to your dismay, a competitor starts ANOTHER Jane Doe Plumbing Twitter account and starts creating untrue or malicious content.
How then, is Google supposed to know the difference between the two accounts?
What if Google DID index all social content, and now a competitor could easily chip away at your hard earned SEO rankings by posting miscellaneous or harmful content?
At this point in time, there is no official way to verify ALL social media accounts across ALL channels, and that’s a chance Google is not willing to make when it comes to your SEO. it’s much more easy to verify a small businesses actual website. Google has spent years serving up search engine results users place high confidence in- and it simply cannot allow unregulated social media content to effect SEO results at this time.
What does the future hold for social and SEO?
Cutts projects Google will have a more standardized system for verifying digital identities within the the next 10 years, so chances are your social media will have a larger online implication sooner than later.
For now, keep your social media brand relevant, and make sure you have a solid SEO strategy in place on your website.
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