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Does Social Media Matter to Search Engines?

What kind of influence does social media have on search engines? This question comes up quite a bit, mostly because of Google’s constantly changing algorithms. We’ve broken this down below with helpful statistics and information about the matter as well as how you can better use social media.

Become a Regular

This should be obvious, but keeping up with social media is more difficult than it sounds. Google and Bing have sharing relationships in place for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and most other social media.

In April 2015, Google gained access to Twitter data. Stone Temple Consulting reports that although more tweets are gaining page one status, 96% of all tweets still remain unindexed. It’s still an improvement over the year prior when there was no such access.

In a 2014 Search Engine Land post, however, Google’s Matt Cutts said that social media signals themselves do not have a direct impact on search rankings. Matt Cutts did, however, add that he does “see Google crawling, indexing and understanding more about identities on the web in the long term.” What does this mean? This means that if someone writes a story on an “authoritative” website, it’ll rank well. If that person, however, posts a comment on Twitter, it’d be useful for Google to know this person posted on social media, which should give more ranking weight in Google.

The question remains. Is social media itself getting more attention by search engines or are social media posts on the first page of Google because they were popular posts (of any type)? Bing has admitted that they have incorporated people’s social authority into their search algorithm, just as Google has done.

So, does social media matter? There are two clear takeaways. This all helps you from a marketing perspective and it’ll also help build your authority, which in turn, helps in search results.

Simplify Social Sharing

The social media buttons should be easily accessible, beside the content, and easy to share. It’s best not to assume that you’re safe by placing them at the top or bottom of the article. If readers don’t read the entire article, they are unlikely to share. It’s important to remember that sharing is often a spur of the moment behavior, so make sure the buttons are easy to find, no matter where the reader is in the article.

The Future of Social Media

Are we looking at this all wrong? Is social media the search of the future? Will the things we look for via a search engine today, be the things we ask social media tomorrow? Neil Patel, SEO expert and Co-Founder of Quick Sprout, thinks social is the search of the future and he has urged marketers not to discount social’s impact on search. “Search is moving towards a more semantic ‘real to life’ environment. This means a world where engines understand the relationships between real world objects like people, places, movies, [and] businesses. Time to get on board now and integrate this into your website!”

If you follow that logic, social media really could become the search engines of the future.


Quick Sprout:

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