Does Social Media Affects SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technology adopted by search engines that enables them to rank webpages based a certain algorithm. Search engines such as Google uses an algorithm known as PageRank which has gained popularity in other search engines like Bing or Yahoo!. The PageRank algorithm checks relevance of a webpage basing on the number of backlinks it has.
However, in the recent years, search engines have based their ranking using social media signals. If you had no idea that social media affects the ranking of your page, then you need to research again. But before doing that, it is important to go through some information available here in order to get a sense of the impact of social signals. In order to understand how social media affects your ranking on search results, consider a real situation on one of the social media websites.
Social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can change a page number of your website overnight. It is even possible for a couple of tweets and retweets to bring up your initial page number from say, 800 to page 1. To illustrate this scenario, consider a website like Moz.com.
In the year 2011, Moz.com published an article in which Smashing Magazine tweeted it to its followers. At first, Moz.com was just a small website that you could not even find in any search pages of a search engine like Google. Since Smashing Magazine has thousands of followers on tweeter, the tweets caused Moz.com to be ranked on the first page of Google search. Moz.com did not just garnered the first position on the search results but also the keyword rank rose drastically.
This means that social media creates some sort of importance or rather relevance of a website. So next time you want your site to rank higher, then spare some resources and get some likes, share and tweets all over the social media. Note that users will also be tempted to visit your site rather than just sharing, liking or tweeting. This earns traffic to your site.
Some people have carried out experiments on the ranking of webpages with respect to keywords and social signals. Search engines will always ignore webpages with redundant keywords and therefore may not earn good rank positions. Shrushti.com created a keyword that was redundant at tried to use social media to reach as many people as possible. They also had no backlinks, which means they had a PageRank of 0.
Google will always evaluate your PageRank score based on the number of backlinks you have. The more the webpages that links back to you, the higher the page rank. Zero links will result to PageRank 0. Shrushti.com was ranked in the 400th page in the Google search results. After a number of days, Shrushti.com had been received by many people in the social media and its rank suddenly appeared on the first page.
The above scenarios have clearly shown that social signals will always determine the position of your webpage on search engines. But what do these search engines consider when using social media as a source of data for ranking algorithms? The search engine giants Google and Bing do consider a couple of signals. The factors that are considered are:
The number of tweets and retweets that a certain website has. This means that the more tweets and retweets you have, the higher your rank. People nowadays spent most of their time on social media. They also source news and updates from these avenues.
The power of the person who tweets or retweets also matters. If a person has hundreds of thousands of followers, then whatever they tweet or retweet will be considered relevant by the search engine. Likewise, if a person has a few followers and tweets about a link, then its importance is equivalent to the number of followers they have.
On the other hand, the number of Facebook shares or likes is also key in determining the relevance of a website. When many people share a link of Facebook, that shows that the content is very important and everyone deserves to know. If several people also likes a link, then that means the link may contain important information too.
To put the above information in a simpler way, the relevance varies from one social media to another. A US based web developers tested the rate of social media signals with respect to relevance and found the following results:
For Google+, the ranking went up by over 14% after receiving 100 followers. This shows that the more followers you have, the more ranking priority you get. Google+ is the third largest social media platform after Facebook and Tweeter respectively. The results for Google+ showed some variations with respect to the content or type of links they were shared. At some point, the results showed 300 followers with just over 9% improvement in ranking.
Similarly, Facebook also showed that if you have about 70 shares and roughly 50 likes, your ranking will improve by close to 7%. This shows that Facebook demands more signals than other sites to get sufficient improvement in SEO.
Finally, tweeter gave a URL an improvement of about 3% for having 50 tweets.
In general, social media is growing day by day and may become the future parameter used to determine SEO ranking. Fortunately, social media is free and you can market your website using their signals to improve your SEO. Although some people have developed contempt towards social media, you should not take for granted the impact it can cause to your SEO. Note that other classical algorithms used for SEO such as PageRank may not be used in the future, they are rather becoming obsolete.
In conclusion, social media signals do effect SEO and you should start strategizing on how to adopt this new trend. Use platforms such as tweeter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and many others. The point is, you should first create a good profile in all the above social media site, then start sharing, liking, tweeting and retweeting.