How Social Signals Affect SEO ranking

Whether you’re a small or large business, the fight to improve your SEO ranking has never been more merciless. Social media, in particular online customer interactions known social signals are now crucial in helping businesses obtain prime search engine real estate.

While there’s no doubt social media provides a platform for brands to improve the relationship with new and existing customers, it is not as simple as posting cute photos of the office dachshund to improve your ranking.

Several studies have revealed a correlation between the use of social signals with increases in SEO ranking. A study by MOZ revealed social signals including facebook and twitter engagement sits in the top 8 ranking factors for both organic and pack ranking. Whilst Google’s SEO algorithm is not said to take into consideration everyday social media engagement, this study highlights how social signals affect SEO ranking in a positive way.

What are social signals?

Social signals are the interactions customers have with your brand. They include likes, shares, pins, views, reviews and blog posts that create backlinks to your website which then filter through to various search engines.

How can social signals improve SEO ranking?

We know Google uses around 200 different ranking factors in their algorithm and according to Search Metrics ranking factors study, Backlinks are identified as one of Google’s top ranking factors. This means the more content and users interacting with your brand the more likely this will improve your SEO rank.

What is a backlink and how do they relate to social signals?

Backlinks are incoming links to a webpage that encourage traffic to your site. Backlinks can come in the form of social signals which include any links shared, commented and liked on social media platforms.

It is important to ensure that the links are coming from reputable sites in order to improve your ranking.

Are social influencers considered part of social signals?

Consider the following scenario. You have just booked flights to Bali and you are searching the internet for the top hotels in the area when you see a local hotels webpage pop up, boasting a five-star rating. Initially you are weary of the hotel until you stumble across a blog post by your favourite travel blogger that provides a glowing review of the hotel, including a helpful guide on nearby restaurants and bars to visit. This makes you instantly more inclined to book through this hotels website over other similar hotels in the area.

By influencers creating content that directly links to your brand this creates various credible backlinks, with the potential for their following to continue to interact with your brand outside their blog. This can create a more meaningful and organic relationship with your audience, boosting credibility of the brand in the eyes of Google’s algorithm.

Do influencers need a large following to improve your SEO rank?

The number of followers an influencer has does not often translate into the most effective way of improving your ranking or authority. As we have established, Google relies heavily on links as a primary measure of a business’ SEO rank, this essentially means that for a business to improve its search ranking they must ensure influencers have actively engaged followers who regularly repost content in order to increase external links. So the influencers you chose to use don’t necessarily need to have a huge following but rather a highly engaged following. 

A great example of this is when digital music streaming service, Spotify AUNZ wanted to promote their new discover weekly feature. The brand teamed up with several local influencers, encouraging them to post photos of their discover weekly playlists on Instagram. Majority of these influencers had a small to medium sized following however, were able to produce a 2.37% increase in engagement and over 29,540 likes and comments for the campaign.

SEO Agency Sydney - how social signals improve SEO ranking

Finding the right influencer

So you now know social signals, in particular those generated by influencers are important in improving your SEO ranking, here’s a few tips to helping you find the perfect influencer/s to approach. 

  1. Look at influencers already sharing similar content, relevant to your brand.

By selecting influencers with relatable content this can create a much more organic relationship with your customer. You can set up alerts through google alerts to find posts and articles that contain keywords relevant to your business.

How social signals improve SEO ranking- SEO Agency Sydney

  1. Look for influencers that own their own domain with a high domain authority.

Influencers with a strong domain authority will assist improve backlinks which essentially help make your site more credible. BuzzSumo have an excellent content search tool that allows you to sort influencers by relevance and provides a domain authority ranking.

how social signals improve SEO ranking - SEO Agency Sydney

  1. Analyse engagement numbers on influencers current and past posts.

Search through the influencers feed and monitor their follower’s engagement. Have their share rates increased since their last post? How many likes is each post receiving and does this correlate to the number of followers they have? By keeping a close eye on audience engagement this will help identify the true effectiveness of their influence.

While it is clear social signals play a significant role in SEO ranking, it isn’t guaranteed to improve your ranking overnight. Keep your content relevant and engage with your customers on a regular basis. By doing so this will improve your online relationship, making it more likely for your customers to like, share or recommend your brand to others, ultimately leading to increased SEO ranking.

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