Contrary to common belief, investing heavily in social media does not help drive SEO traffic and can actually be detrimental to your company. In general, social media is not worthless to a company, but if your primary goal is to increase traffic to your site by ranking high in search, focusing on social media is not the way to go.
Matt Cutts’ video on social media and SEO should answer a lot of questions about this topic and he has a lot of really good points.
1. Google does not use signals such as “number of followers” in their search ranking algorithm
I know this comes as bad news for anyone with over 500k Instagram followers, but “number of followers” means nothing to Google’s search algorithm. While there is more than just one reason why time and energy is wasted in building a social media presence to build SEO, this is one of the reasons. Number of followers means nothing because anyone can follow a person, business, or brand on social media and never interact with the brand again. However, there are businesses with no social media presence that get 500k site visits a month. Obviously, Google wants to rank the company with more intentional Google searches and site traffic over a “social media star” with little to no site traffic.
2. There are pages on Twitter and Facebook that Google cannot crawl
Google does not crawl every page on the internet and, because of security reasons, is not always able to crawl all of the pages on social media sites. In addition, Google’s algorithm is able to easily distinguish the value of webpages for internet users. In essence, Google can be selective when choosing which sites to crawl and I believe that they may choose not to index as many social media pages, because they tend to hold less value to users who are searching the web for businesses and services.
3. Correlation, not Causation
Anyone who has ever told you that social “likes” and “shares” is a significant factor in Google search is entirely wrong. Typically, when this trend occurs, it is because of positive correlation, not causation that creates this relationship. The better the content, the more likely it will get natural SEO traffic and the more likely it will get shared on social media, not vice-versa.
4. Social Media is a way to drive traffic and build your brand
Social media is a great way to stay connected with your audience, answer questions, develop trust, and grow a positive reputation. It is also a great way to draw the attention of advertisers and sponsors. However, do not let building your social media presence hinder your SEO efforts. As is proven time and time again, businesses that develop natural SEO and focus on site content do much better in Google search rankings than companies that focus their efforts on social media.
Our advice to anyone trying to increase in the Google rankings is to invest time, energy and money into SEO, because that’s where the real results lie. Unfortunately when businesses invest a lot of time into building their brand on social media, time is taken away from SEO efforts, and SEO yields better and faster results than social media can in the same amount of time. If you would like to inquire about our SEO services for businesses that are serious about driving up site traffic, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.