Why Social Media Matters for SEO

Many of my colleagues do not think social counts for SEO. I think this is a flawed conclusion!

Social media has taken the world by storm with a seemingly endless reliance and dependence on being able to be in constant communication with your friends and loved ones.  With platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat attracting hundreds of millions of users, there is no doubt that social media is valuable to SEO.  According to AdWeek, in December 2015 Facebook had 1.59 billion users, a population bigger than China while Instagram reached 400 million users in September 2015 offering more than one billions reasons why social media matters to SEO.  

Trends change very quickly, but the need for a relationship between social media and SEO developers, regardless of trends, can be quite valuable because social media is not diminishing, it is growing.  Jayson DeMers has written extensively on the relationship between social media and SEOs, highlighting for Entrepreneur eight trends that are worth considering in the development of an SEO strategy.  Perhaps most importantly is to embrace social media platforms and understand the value of live video and real-time engagement that gets to the very crux of what social media is all about–being able to interact with others in real time.  By creating a strategy that involves live-streaming it be beneficial in the long-term as the trend develops and grows and exposure increases.  

In a Forbes article, recently written by DeMers, he highlights the need to grow your followers, and doing it organically on all social media platforms.  For example, if an organization makes the decision to purchase proxy Twitter followers, Google is able to detect that the followers are low-quality which affects rankings in search results.  Using social media to grow a legitimate following requires careful planning, particularly as platforms such as Facebook have shareholders to please through increasing profits resulting in increased costs for businesses to gain exposure.

Through social media it is possible to encourage external inbound links where the platform is acting essentially as a broadcast channel.  Kristina Cisnero of Hootsuite believes that content marketing and social media are powerful SEO weapons particularly now that Google uses Twitter to find new content, so that link the organization shares about a product or service very well may turn up in a search result. With Google having access to the one-half billion tweets sent each and every day to display in the SERP of a Google search, the implications of a social media strategy for SEO is huge.  

Social media may not seem like a natural part of the SEO environment, but the user experience is changing, and Google has started to favor popular social media updates in the top sections of its SERPs.  Meanwhile social media has heralded the introduction of social commerce.  Forbes’ Baldwin Cunningham recognizes the effect that social commerce has on marketing and sales and driving the two together.  Cunningham points out that 59% of all online retail browsing is done on a mobile device, but mobile devices are responsible for just 15% of e-commerce sales, indicating that there is a huge amount of opportunity to drive sales, the ultimate purpose of an SEO strategy.  DeMers offers the thought that perhaps one day in the near future social media may entirely eliminate the need for a stand-alone website changing the entire focus of an SEO strategy onto social media alone.