How is SEO impacted by Social Media Participation?

by Ray Larson
  |  January 30, 2017  |  
January 30, 2017

You probably already know where you rank on a Google search.  Finding out how well you are doing on social media is not much harder.  What isn’t as easy to figure out is the relationship between the two.  They are related, but just how much SEO is impacted by social media participation is complicated.

Your Traffic

There are basically two ways that people get to your website on the Internet.  They either find you “organically” or through “referral.”  Organic traffic is visits that come through a search engine.  The higher you are on Google, the more organic traffic you may get – which is why your website needs SEO.  Referral traffic comes when someone clicks on a link to your website – like on social media.  The more that your posts and content are shared, the more referral visits you will get – which is why you need social media marketing.

Social Media Signals

Social media accounts for the biggest chunk of most small business digital marketing efforts.  You hope that every time you post a blog or tweet about your new product, that your followers will “like,” “share” and “retweet.”  Each one of those interactions is a “social media signal.”  Since Google monitors everything, it would seem like having lots of social media signals should improve your website’s performance, yes?  Well, it does – but not directly.

Google Search Rank

Facebook keeps metrics, Twitter keeps metrics, Instagram…and so on.  So does Google but they don’t use data from other companies.  They don’t care how big your Facebook account is or how many active Twitter followers you have.  They don’t use social media signals, so your likes, shares and retweets on social media don’t have a direct effect on Google’s opinion of you.  

They do however, crawl the social media sites just the same as any other websites and they index what they find.  That means that the more social media posts you have, the more “pages” they can see about you.  Some evidence is obvious – they show real-time Tweets from the “best” accounts right on the Google search page and hold a lot of Pinterest images.


Your social media activity has another impact on SEO through awareness.  The more that people see your content, products or brands, the more “aware” they become.  Google may not pay attention when they click on your site from a social media share, but when that same user comes back to your site next week, they will probably come through Google – and that does directly affect your SEO rank.

Which is more important – SEO or Social Media?  

The answer is simple.  Both. Developing an effective online marketing strategy requires that you pay attention to your website rank in Google AND that you use social media to promote your business.  You may not see the same immediate rank changes that you can with a website overhaul but your social media activity does have an impact on your SEO – eventually.  Either way, you need both.


For more information on SEO download our free 10 Keys to Awesome SEO Info-graphic 

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