While a few years ago social media and SEO were essentially separate entities, they are now more intertwined than ever. In fact, the amount of social shares that a website receives directly correlates to its Google rankings. Let’s now go into more detail as to why this is true and how website owners can implement social media into their SEO campaigns.
First of all, it’s important to know how Google’s algorithm has changed in terms of how it ranks websites. Not too long ago, Google determined page ranking based primarily on the number and quality of backlinks that a website had. There are obviously other factors like domain age, keywords, keyword density, etc., but backlinks were a huge contributor as to how high or low a website ranked. While backlinks are still extremely important, social shares have become equally if not more important.
Although up until fairly recently, people could only speculate that social media engagement affected search engine rankings, a comprehensive study by Social Metrics has provided concrete evidence that this is in fact true. By using a Spearman Correlation test on a month’s worth of data, Social Metrics was able to come to up with some interesting results. To determine how important a certain type of social share is, the results range from high to low numbers. Basically, the higher the number is, the more value Google gives and vice versa.
From their findings, Social Metrics was able to determine that Facebook shares have a correlation of 0.37, comments have a 0.33 and likes have a 0.30. Twitter tweets have a slightly lower correlation at 0.25 but definitely play a role in Google rankings. It’s also important to point out that traditional backlinks have a correlation of 0.36 which puts them just behind Facebook shares and means that they’re still a vitally important part of SEO Derby.
By looking at this study, we can learn a few things about social media and the power it has to potentially boost Google rankings. First, it plays more of a role in rankings than most people probably thought. While many website owners likely thought that social media had some merit, they might not of thought that it was so important. The fact that Facebook shares can outweigh backlinks is in itself rather momentous. Second, the type of social share can vary in terms of the weight it carries. For example, Facebook as a whole can do more for a website’s ranking than Twitter. Not to say that sharing on Twitter and other social media sites isn’t important; it’s just that they don’t currently carry the same weight as Facebook.
The bottom line is that the more social media shares a website receives, the better its rankings should be on Google. Back linking is still important, but social media is becoming more and more of a cornerstone of SEO and website owners should take notice. Since the Internet is becoming more social, it would seem that it’s more important than ever to establish a solid social media presence especially on Facebook.
Nisha represents a site called Webtistic.co.uk. She enjoys writing about social media and business.