Social Media and Its Impact on SEO

Like Two Peas In A Pod!

A social media presence should actually be its own reward. An active page on Twitter, Facebook, or other popular social networking websites attracts attention to a website directly. It should invite conversations and hopefully, get shared. However, the impact that these pages have on the rankings of their linked websites still gets debated.

The answer is that social media can impact a website’s SEO. However, it might not be intuitively obvious exactly how it works. Also, different search engines use social signals differently.

How Do Search Engine Bots Crawl Social Media Pages?

Since Google is the largest search engine, it’s probably most useful to learn how the Google algorithm treats social pages. Search Engine Journal published an interview with Matt Cutts of Google. One of the first things he says is that Google’s search engine bots crawl social media pages just they crawl any other pages on the Internet. Only a page that’s blocked behind a login screen won’t get crawled.

This means that any link on an unprotected social media page is potentially as good as a link from a different kind of website. Of course, random social media pages may not be that valuable if they don’t have any page authority in their own right. That means that popular pages that are linked to from other internal or external pages are likely to carry much more weight.

Matt Cutts also claimed that pages that simply get a lot of like or followers are not likely to do any better than pages that have a few. This might not seem fair because it seems intuitively obvious that pages with a lot of fans or followers should be considered influencers. However, post shares, retweets, and reblogs are different than simple likes or favorites. They actually add the post to another page, thus creating more impact on SEO.

Mr. Cutts did conclude by saying that page influence, or the number of likes or followers, is something that could have more SEO impact in the future. Google engineers realize that influence should matter, but they’ve had technical problems including this factor in their ranking algorithm.

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Social Media and Other Search Engines

With that said, it’s also important to remember that Google is not the only search engine that webmasters might hope to rank with. For example, a Kissmetrics article, “5 Things You Need to Know About Social Media & SEO,” reported that Bing claims to use influence data from social sites.

Of course, social networking websites have their own internal search engines. Today, SEO doesn’t just mean optimizing for Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Consumers aren’t just using these traditional search engines to look up their old friends and business associates. They also use social sites to search for businesses, services and products.

Consider some statistics from the article cited above that emphasize the point that it’s important to optimize for social search:

  • Twitter reported handling five times as many search queries as Bing, or about 19 billion searches a month.
  • Facebook reported handling about one billion searches each month.
  • YouTube, the video site with its own social features, reported close to four billion searches a month.
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Today’s SEO Includes Social Networking Optimization

Simply putting up a page and adding a few links to a website isn’t likely to have a huge impact on search engine rankings, traffic, or sales. However, having an active social media page that invites sharing and conversations is likely to help with rankings and traffic in multiple ways. It should help that page and its links get picked up and noticed by major search engine bots. Also, social pages with more authority will certainly rank higher in the internal search engines of the social sites that contain them.


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