How does using social media benefit your efforts with SEO? Back in 2008, Search Engine Watch published the article ‘Social Media and SEO – Friends with Benefits‘, and I’d highly recommend reading it back now for a stark reminder of how far the digital world has progressed in the last nine years. Some of the key statistics and points featured in the article (although contemporary at the time) may seem somewhat archaic in 2017: Facebook having 140 million active users (when they are now over 2 billion) LinkedIn having 30 million users (less than 10% of their current user base) Popularity of now defunct social platforms like Digg (which sold for just $500,000 back in 2012) MySpace being mentioned in the same breath as Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit and Twitter (ha!) Use of ‘SEO friendly’ anchor text when linking from social profiles (ahem… ‘money keywords’) Nobody could have guessed what social media would become in such a short amount of time. Nearly a decade later and Facebook is nothing short of a social media superpower, Instagram has grown from zero to over 700 million users in the space of just seven years, MySpace has fallen out of popularity into the depths of dated pop-culture references, and using ‘SEO friendly’ anchor text is a very dangerous game to play in light of Google’s almighty Penguin updates. It’s safe to say that everything is very different now, and as the social media landscape changes so too does its relationship with search engines and SEO practices. But what exactly is this relationship in 2017? Social media and SEO: It’s complicated In the past, Google have made contradictory statements regarding the role of social media in their ranking algorithm. On the one hand, they have stated that social media pages are indexed in the same manner as other web pages, and that social links therefore count as links. But on the other, they have stated that social metrics do not constitute direct ranking factors. Over at Microsoft, the guys behind Bing have said that they too consider the authority of social media profiles (e.g. Twitter profile metrics) and mentions across numerous social platforms in their search engine. As per usual, Google keeps their cards close to their chest. Research from the likes of Neil Patel show what Matt Cutts referred to in 2014 as a correlation but not necessarily a causation. All very confusing indeed. Can we 100% say that social metrics have a direct impact on search engine rankings? Probably not. However, if we look at the potential of social media’s influence on search engine rankings the story is different. My personal opinion is that we should not be worried…
S K Routray is a computer science graduate and Co founder at Gracioustech.com. He worked as a Online Marketing lead at many MNC Companies. He has passion for writing on SEO techniques, Social Media Marketing and digital marketing techniques. If he wasn’t an online marketer, he'd take his love for food and become a great chef cum hotel entrepreneur. Join NAS Writers team to write for NAS.