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Why These 3 Social Media Strategies Will Boost Your SEO – Here’s Why #187

Does social media actually have an effect on SEO? The answer is: it can (but maybe not in the way you think!)
In this episode of the popular Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Mark Traphagen reveals three ways you can use social media to enhance your search optimization efforts.

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Eric: Mark, can social media really help your SEO efforts?
Mark: I think it can, Eric, but not in the way many people think.
Eric: And what’s that? Explain.

Do Links in Social Media Posts Have SEO Value?

Mark: I find that many people still believe links in social media posts must be a direct ranking factor. They figure if a posted link is getting great engagement, especially if it’s liked or re-shared by popular accounts, that should influence Google to rank the linked content higher.
Eric: But we don’t think that’s the case. Tell the folks why.
Mark: A primary reason is Google has said repeatedly that they treat social media sites like any other website. So all the major social platforms no-follow their outbound links, so Google passes no authority through them.
Even if they wanted to use those links, determining authority and identity on social media is a thorny problem. Websites and domains are relatively fixed and static entities. Social accounts, not so much. Google said long ago that they decided social authority was too ephemeral to use as a search ranking factor, and all our testing has shown that it’s unlikely they do.
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Learn more! See “Social Media SEO

How Can Social Media Help Search Campaigns?

Eric: Okay, then. So in what ways can social media help your search campaigns if it’s not a direct ranking signal itself?
Mark: I’m going to share three ways it can help.

  1. Use social media promotion to increase link opportunities
  2. Use social media networking to target people more likely to link to your content.
  3. Create and encourage positive “buzz” about your brand on social media.

The first is the most obvious, but paradoxically the hardest to achieve. I’m talking about social promotion as a way of increasing earned link opportunities. The idea here is that through social more people who own or control websites will see your content, and therefore more of them might end up linking to it from those sites. I’m sure that happens, but probably not to the extent people hope it does.
Eric: There’s a joint Moz and Buzzsumo study that we often cite that shows that there’s zero correlation between content that gets a good amount of social shares and content that gets shared links.
Mark: For sure. And while that study was not measuring whether any earned links came as a direct result of social sharing, it is sobering to see that even if a post gets shared a lot, there is no guarantee it will get any links.
But it’s still true that you’ve got to be in the game to win it. If you aren’t promoting your content, including via social, then you have zero chance of it earning any links.
And that leads to my second way that social media can help SEO.
Eric: Which is?
Mark: Use social to target people more likely to write about and link to your content. This is good old-fashioned PR work, but with the added power of social media for actual relationship building.
A large part of what I do every day on social media is building and nurturing relationships, either with writers who write about the topics we write about or with people who influence them. This pays off not only in being more likely to lead to link opportunities, but also increasing our chances to get legitimate guest post opportunities, columns, interviews, speaking engagements, etc., all of which increase our visibility and again, the possibility for links.
Eric: Those are great, but do you have anything that doesn’t necessarily involve seeking link opportunities?
Mark: This one is a bit fuzzy, I’ll admit it. But I’m remembering that keynote conversation you had with Google’s Gary Illyes at Pubcon Las Vegas last fall.
Eric: I remember it well. Gary shared a lot of cool insights.
Mark: He sure did. And among them was what he said about how Google might use online mentions of your brand.
Eric: Yes. And he said that they did not act like ranking signals but could help Google discover things your site should be ranking for that it isn’t currently doing so.
Mark: Right. And among the places he said they might monitor for those mentions was?
Eric: Social media.
Mark: Bingo. Now, I don’t think there’s any way you can manipulate that. We don’t know to what extent Google actually uses such mentions. But it seems to me to underscore the value of getting people talking about you on social media, positively of course, that over time could help Google realize the full spectrum of what your brand is about.

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Thoughts on “Why These 3 Social Media Strategies Will Boost Your SEO – Here’s Why #187”

  1. Thanks for providing this kind of information. Exactly what I’m looking for. I agree with your points, but there are so many reasons that social media marketing boost SEO. SMO is a 24 hours online process. With the help of SMO, we can directly drive more traffic to our website. To boost your website ranking, you need to consistently produce and share quality content and social media is no different. The content you share on your social channels needs to be high-quality, it should add some value to the readers.

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Mark Traphagen

Mark Traphagen was our Content Strategy Director for Perficient Digital until February of 2019. He has been named one of the most influential content and social media authors in numerous industry listings.

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