As early as 2010, Google revealed that it used social signals to help rank pages. However, in 2014 there was a very memorable controversy – the ‘beef’ between Matt Cutts (Google’s Head of Web Spam at the time) and Twitter. It began when Twitter blocked Google from crawling its pages for about 6 weeks.
As a result, Google decided it wasn’t worth continually investing in special engineering work to extract data from such web pages. From Google perspective it makes sense, because at any moment a website can block Google’s site crawlers.
Matt Cutts at the time made it clear that you shouldn’t rely on social media for SEO. However, since then the world of SEO has moved on. Notably, in 2015/2016, the amount of Facebook and Twitter URLs ranking within the top 100 in Google search results, increased over 5-fold. A sure-fire signal that social media sites are not seen as spammy buy Google.
Why you social media should be a key part of your SEO strategy
Even if social media signals (such as likes and views) independently had zero impact on your search rankings, there are a couple of very key reason why you should still work hard building your social media followings – website traffic and organic link building. SEO’s and webmaster’s all over the globe desperately try to create fantastic content and ‘linkable assets’.
But many are ignoring the importance of social media as a component of content marketing. It’s simple – cultivate awesome content, and let social media help people find it. If people love your content, then you’re probably going to organically attract some links from blogs in your niche, and drive a whole bunch of engagement with your site.
In the 2017 SEMrush ranking factors study, found that the top 3 ranking factors were
(1) direct website visits,
(2) time on site, and
(3) pages per session.
By cultivating a social media following that engages with your website, you can boost all 3 factors. As well as driving visitors to your website, a buzz around your brand on social media will give your brand more authority and trust to readers. This should implore readers to spend more time on your site, and look at more pages on your site.
These top 3 factors are all byproducts of user behavior, not technical SEO or link-building schemes. Implementing a solid social media strategy could be your ticket to satisfying the top ranking factors. Do it right, and you could see your website sitting at the top of Google for all kind of keywords.
Should You Buy Likes?
Buying likes, followers, views, and subscribers is very common in 2018. It certainly is a step away from the more white hat methods. But if you’re going to do it, do it right. Use payed-for followers as a subtle indicator of credibility.
For example, buying Instagram likes easily gives you some traction in building a larger following. It’s all simple psychology – if people see that a whole bunch of people is already following a page, then that page has instant credibility. Therefore, the page is more likely to get a follow from new visitors. However, this method should be approached carefully and with some strategy.
Blatantly manipulating social media buy buying likes and followers is obvious – both to the platform and to most users. Buying followers in small amounts at strategic times is key. Basically, don’t put up a couple of posts and then buy 10k followers. The key is to supplement the growth of your following. The more followers you have not only gives your brand more credibility but also indicates a buzz around your content. And so, users should be more likely to click on your links to new content.
The future of social media and SEO
Social media as a core component of your SEO strategy is a winning formula right now. And the future is certain to favor those sites with big and engaged social followings in search rankings.
Social media is a tool for driving traffic to your sites, and a buzz around your brand and content. Allowing you to hit the top 3 ranking factors we mentioned earlier.
And of course, you should organically attract some good old fashioned backlinks.