It has been debated for quite a while now whether SEO and Social Media have any relationship to one another.
Matt Cutts has specifically said that social signals are not currently part of the Google Algorithm. But is that really true?
I mean let’s think about it.
Social media is playing an ever increasing role in terms of blog post engagement and really has a lot to say about the quality of a post.
Sure, social signals can be gamed a little more easily than a link, but surely they deserve to be used as a metric like any other. Even the more difficult to measure ones like bounce rate or quality.
Social Media is Popular with Businesses
One big argument for using social signals in SEO in my mind is that businesses are now, more than ever, take social media very seriously.
Businesses big and small are participating in social media of all kinds, from Facebok to Instagram and incorporating it into their processes and internal departments. Sometimes not very deeply, perhaps only in the marketing department. Other times it goes across the board, even to customer service. Something that Twitter excels at.
When it becomes more built-in, companies like Coca Cola and Starbucks are using social media more and more creatively, with the TwTweet a Coffee campaign from Starbucks sticking in my mind as one of the more memorable ones. This was an ingenious way to get user retention by allowing friends to gift other friends a coffee. Talk about a viral effect.
So when social media becomes this mainstream, you know that Google has to take a long hard look at what affect it is having on SEO>
Google Plus Is Important
Another important element in this very complex equation is Google’s own participation in the social media game. They have had Google Plus on the go now for a number of years, and it is certainly gaining traction with over 300 million active Google Plus users currently registered.
Google has not stopped there of course. Like with all their other tools, they have incorporated Google plus into search results and until not too long ago, they were even making the blog post author more prominent by displaying a photo. This was more recently removed, but the image still remains (for now) on Google Plus posts that are listed in search results.
So with Google always favoring their own properties over others (there are always Youtube videos in most search results on page one) then you have to think that Google is also taking Google Plus and people’s interaction and engagement on that platform seriously. Even in terms of SEO.
There were a few hiccups lately when the boss of the Google Plus team left (or was pushed?), but for now it is still a social media platform to be reckoned with.
Google claims that social signals are not part of SEO, but logically we all know they must have some influence on the results. It is just a question of to what degree and how exactly this is done.
But the moral of the story is that you should always take Social Media seriously for engagement, post promotion and SEO reasons.