Chelsea Allenby is a Digital Marketer of 9 years and Managing Director of Allenby Digital Ltd, an online marketing agency she set-up in 2015, specialising in social media and content marketing. www.chelseamarketing.co.uk
The SEO (search engine optimisation) game is always changing, that is a given. It’s something that will continue to change and develop forevermore as online technology develops and the way we use the internet changes with it. Social media is also something which sees constant growth. This means that the way social media influences SEO is different from one year (or even month) to the next! It’s hard to keep up with right?
So here we sit well into 2019 and you might have some questions. Does social media even have any impact on SEO and is so, to what extent?
Do Social Media Shares Directly Relate to Better Rankings?
There has been some debate since 2014 as to whether social media shares of web links has any implications on SEO. This was because back in 2014 Google announced that there was no longer any connection between the two. However, since then a study carried out by Hootsuite (a popular social media organisation tool) showed that articles with social promotion received a 22% boost in SEO value.
This could suggest that social promotion of your web pages will help with their Google ranking, however, it might not always be the case. This correlation could simply be due to the fact that web pages with the higher social promotion are seen more and potentially linked to more by other websites. High-quality links from other websites is a determining factor in SEO. It’s one of those grey-areas, however, other research carried out by other groups seems to back up the theory that social media shares do influence SEO.
Let’s not forget Bing either. Another major search engine who has come out and said that yes social media ‘positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run’. So what’s true for one search engine isn’t always true for the next… making SEO even more of a minefield. At the same time, this opens up your options.
Do Social Media Profiles Rank?
Social media profiles themselves to actually rank in the search engines, and usually quite well. So even if your website isn’t as high in the SERPS as you would like it to be, your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account could be. Social media accounts can be one of the first things a customer finds before discovering your restaurant. This is actually good news because social media is usually far more personal than a website and often gives a more authentic view of what you have to offer.
Is Social the New Google?
Something else to consider is this; many individuals use social media as a search engine in itself. A good example of this is YouTube. YouTube is a search engine and a form of social media. Many people will turn here to find out information before they utilise Google. The same can be said for other social networks. The Instagram hashtag search tool is very easy to use and helps people locate information easily. This could be as simple as someone searching #LondonRestaurants to see what looks most appealing and striking.
With SEO Everything Changes
As we already know, SEO rules constantly change. In a few years or months (at any given time really) Google and other major search engines can change the way they give value to social media shares, profiles and activities. It’s important to never completely rule anything out because of this.
Finally, then, should you use social media to drive better SEO on your website? The simple answer is no. Use social media not as a tool to improve SEO but as it is intended. Use it to entertain, inform and communicate with your customers and future customers. The knock-on effect that could benefit the SEO for your website is an added bonus.