You may have heard of social signals before, but a lot of people don’t know exactly how they work for SEO purposes. There’s a lot of misunderstandings regarding social signals and SEO, so here I will remove some of the mess for you.
Keep in mind, while a lot of this is thought and opinion since very few people are vested enough to know how search engine algorithms really work. So let start with what are social signals?
What are Social Signals?
Social signals are the action—likes, shares, and comments—your content receives on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. When it comes to social media marketing, this is the most important metric for many companies. Many SEO experts believe it’s a waste of time to focus on social signals for SEO purposes, but I adamantly oppose that sentiment, and I’ll explain why.
Are Social Signals a Ranking Factor?
Google says that social signals are not a direct ranking factor. This doesn’t mean social signals won’t help with Google SEO in an indirect way, which we will discuss later, but it means it won’t directly boost your rankings in Google. Matt Cutts of Google posted a video several years ago that said Google does use data from social sites in the ranking, however, this is antiquated now, and may not be right anymore.
Bing Embraces Social Media Engagement
Bing, however, is another story. Likes and shares definitely do have a direct impact on Bing search rankings. You may think Bing doesn’t matter, but approximately 24% of internet searches are done through Bing instead of Google, and that number has been steadily rising for several years. Bing can send a significant amount of traffic, so at the very least, social signals are important if only for boosting your rankings in Bing.
Google Values Social Signals
Social Signals can have an impact on Google SEO in an indirect way, as well. See, the more your content gets shared, the more likely it is to be seen, which can lead to more people viewing and linking to your content. And that, of course, can end up having a big impact on your Google rankings. It can be very difficult to get organic links these days, so anything you can do to increase the chances of your content getting linked to and viewed is a very good thing!
Google is a fully automated search engine that uses web crawlers to examine the web constantly, looking for sites to add to our index. Addition in Google’s search results is free and easy; you don’t even need to submit your site to Google. In fact, the bulk of sites listed in our results aren’t manually submitted for addition, but found and added automatically when we crawl the web. Learn how Google discovers, crawls, and assists web pages.
Google offer webmaster guidelines for building a Google-friendly website. While there’s no guarantee that crawlers will find a particular site, following these guidelines should help make your site appear in the search results.