Have you ever wondered why some web pages seem to rank higher in search engines than others, even when their content doesn't seem much different? Well, it turns out that social signals play a big role in search engine optimization (SEO) and can give some pages a boost over the competition.
What are Social Signals?
Social signals refer to the shares, likes, tweets, +1s, pins, upvotes, mentions, and other ways that people engage with content on social media platforms. Each time someone shares your blog post on Twitter or Facebook, that’s a social signal. And each signal sends a message to search engines like Google that your content is worth paying attention to.
More social signals = more credibility in the eyes (or algorithms) of search engines. Of course, the quality and relevance of the underlying content still matters tremendously. But among two comparable pieces of content, the one with more social shares, links, endorsements, and overall engagement will often rank higher in search results.
Why Social Signals Matter for SEO
Backlinks used to be one of the main ranking factors for SEO. And they still carry weight today. However, as social media has exploded in popularity over the last decade and more of our discoverable info is passed through social channels, search algorithms have evolved.
For example, Google now indexes all public tweets and factors things like mentions, links, retweets, and Twitter engagement into search rankings. The same goes for public Facebook interactions, Reddit upvotes, LinkedIn shares, Pinterest pins, and more.
Search engines recognize that if real humans are engaging with and endorsing content across social platforms, that’s usually a good sign that the info is relevant, timely, and valuable. So more social signals can lead to better search visibility and rankings for that content.
Of course, artificial or fake social signals won’t help. Search engines can usually detect attempts to manipulate rankings and may actually penalize sites that use shady tactics. But legitimate, authentic social shares stemming from great content will give you an SEO boost over time.
Key Benefits of Social Signals
There are a few key benefits that more social signals can provide for SEO:
1. Increased Indexing - The more links search engines find to a webpage from external social sites, the more likely they are to index that page and consider it relevant. This expands search visibility.
2. Higher Rankings - Public social shares, mentions, and engagement are strong ranking factors, so more quality signals can lead to better rankings over time.
3. Referral Traffic - When people share your content, it drives referral visits back to your site from social platforms, boosting overall traffic.
4. Trust and Credibility - Greater social validation signals to both algorithms and human searchers that your site and content are credible and worth attention.
5 Top Ways to Earn More Social Signals
Now let’s explore some of the best methods for scoring more high-quality social signals to help with SEO:
Publish Valuable, Shareworthy Content
This one may seem obvious, but remains critical. Creating content that really resonates with your audience and gets people excited to share is still the foundation. Optimize your content for maximum shares from the start.
Make Content Highly Visual
Articles with relevant images see 94% more views than those without. Infographics, data viz, and videos also tend to attract far more social engagement. So incorporate visual elements whenever you can.
Leverage Influencers and Partners
See if influencers with an existing social following may be interested in featuring or endorsing your content. Partnering with complimentary sites or groups can also expand your reach.
Promote Content Across Social Channels
Don’t just publish and forget. Actively promote your new content across all major social platforms where your audience is active to maximize exposure and sharing.
Monitor and Encourage Engagement
Pay attention to which social posts get the most traction then encourage further participation with friendly replies, shares, etc. Also monitor relevant conversations where you could add your content as a useful contribution.
The more you nail down audience targeting and actively listen, respond, share, and provide value across networks, the more social signals your content will earn over time.
So leverage the power of social signals to keep search traffic and rankings climbing upwards! Let your audience and community give your SEO an authentic boost.