When Google released a video in early 2014 discussing the lack of social media when considering the ‘authority’ of a link, it confused a large number of people. Considering the back-and-forth nature of the discussion regarding the importance of social media for SEO ranking, it’s no wonder that people weren’t able to decide if SEO was being replaced by social media or not.
How Social Media Actually Affects SEO
Although sites like Twitter and Facebook have hundreds of thousands of users, this doesn’t give them any more authority in a Google search algorithm than a site custom-built for your business alone. They’re treated like any other page in the index; a share on Twitter won’t necessarily generate more SEO ranking for your pages than the page itself.
What does happen is that your social media profiles do influence the content of a search result. If someone is searching for your company name, your social media profiles will arrive on the first page of search results. Social media sites also include search engines—in 2010, Twitter handled over 19 billion queries a month. If you have a social media presence, you become part of those search results.
Does This Mean I Should Focus Only on Social Media?
Not at all! While people do search on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for a company’s personality, they still turn to search engines like Google and Bing to get further information. When they’re looking for a company to handle a service, they may check Facebook to see who a family member used, but they’ll also search on Google for companies in their area.
Social media does not replace SEO; it enhances it. Just as SEO is required to let potential customers find your website and information, social media makes your company’s name one that they think of when needing your services. Combining social media, SEO and content marketing is how you create brand recognition and gain customers with every quarter.