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Social Media: Does It Really Impact SEO?

September 21, 2020
Ines Da Pieve
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Yes, your brand’s social media presence can impact your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. But know this: Social media itself doesn’t improve ranks directly.

Social media and SEO integration is possible if you understand the correlation between search rankings and social profiles. 

We’ll cover how to improve SEO with social media, including:

  • How does Google use social media?
  • Which are the most powerful social search engines? Three picks.
  • Does Bing also matter?
  • Optimizing your social media profiles to rank better.
  • Creating shareable content. 
  • Growing the right audience.

How Does Google Use Social Media?

There’s been some controversy regarding social media impact on SEO. If you’ve ever wondered: 

  • What is the relationship between social media and SEO?
  • Are Facebook shares SEO friendly? 

You should know how Google’s been approaching this matter.

In 2014, Matt Cutts (part of Google’s team that year) talked about the relationship between social signals, such as likes, shares, comments and search rankings. 

In a nutshell, he explained that search engine results pages (SERPs) weren’t determined by social media activity, such as how many shares or likes a post had.

This video caused discomfort among marketers, who had been working under the assumption that social signals did determine which sites Google crawled on top. Especially because in 2010 the same Matt Cutts had confirmed that Facebook and Twitter signals influenced search rankings.

After this whole SEO social media links controversy, both Hootsuite and Optinmonster ran some experiments looking for in-depth answers in 2018 and 2019, respectively. 

To clear the clouds, here are some conclusions about how social media helps SEO:

A Strong Social Media Presence Does Help You Rank Higher

Are social shares SEO friendly? This has been a common question about search ranking optimization. The answer is yes, but in this way: Content with a lot of shares on social media is seen by more people. 

The more users see the content, the more likely it’s to reach creators who may link this content on their own websites, and that backlinking is what increases search rankings. Not the activity in social media per se.

Also, the more your content gets shared by other creators, the more it’ll be seen on social media, generating a long-lasting effect on your visibility.

Conclusion: Even though social media popularity isn’t the direct cause of better search rankings, the 2 phenomena are highly correlated because backlinks are your star when it comes to driving search ranking.

Backlinks are your star when it comes to driving search ranking.

Social Media Profiles Usually Appear on Top of SERPs

If you google the name of a brand it’s frequent that their social media accounts appear on top of SERPs: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

As the type of content you publish on social media feels more personal than your website information, social profiles are a great chance to show your brand personality.

At the end of the day, if a potential customer wants to know more about you, they’ll definitely look at your social media before your company website.

Conclusion: It’s worth having at least a couple of social media channels alive and kicking and it’s best to maintain high-quality and frequent content in fewer platforms than trying to be all over the place with low quality content or abandoned profiles. 

Social Platforms Are Search Engines

A popular misconception about SEO is that it’s only about what Google likes — or doesn’t. And that you should base your whole content strategy on the giant’s changing algorithm.

However, when devising your SEO strategy it’s important to consider what’s happening at the social media search engine level apart from just the Google level.

Social media are search engines on their own so you should broaden your perspective about how to design an effective SEO strategy for your brand. People are looking for what they need on social media, as they do with any search engine such as Google or Bing.

Conclusion: Curate and create your social media content around what people are searching in social networks.

Which Are the Most Powerful Social Search Engines? 3 Picks

To broaden your perspective about what an effective SEO strategy implies and to include social media in the picture, first let’s see the spirit of the 3 most important social search engines:


Even though Google bought YouTube in 2006, it’s still a separate site with its own search engine — in fact, the second largest search engine in the world. The sheer amount of content available on YouTube makes it a perfect place for users to clear doubts about any subject and look for answers and product reviews. 

If you want to improve your brand awareness, take a look at YouTube, and keep in mind that almost 5 billion videos are watched there every day. 

When a user is thinking of buying a product or hiring a new service, even about to learn a new skill or profession, it’s highly likely they go to YouTube for insight.

So, by adding your product reviews, unboxings, tutorials, or any kind of engaging videos, you’ll have a say on what users think of your product, service, or brand in general. 

This can make a world of difference in consumers’ choices. By not engaging your audience on YouTube you may be missing the opportunity to have a better brand positioning, or, even worse, giving a place that should be yours to a competitor.

The takeaway: YouTube content will hardly drive users to your web page directly, but it’ll do wonders for your social image and brand awareness.


Independent from Google, Facebook is the most important platform for human connection — and its search engine reflects so. 

With a wide range of customization choices that include individual information (such as hometown, education, high school, and current place of residence) finding individuals, organizations, and businesses on Facebook is easy and reliable. 

That’s why many users still navigate the social media giant when looking for information on specific people (who they may or may not know personally) apart from industries and products. 

Whether by engaging with creators, people who share their interests in fan pages or groups, or by looking for feedback for specific issues with a product or service, users who seek personal and direct connections will search you (and your brand) on Facebook. 

If you aren’t present on the platform your audience may feel it’s hard to connect or get direct answers from you. 

Furthermore, engaging your community on Facebook with interesting content pieces makes it easy for your own audience to share your content with people who have the same interests and/or demographics, organically growing your social media base as a result.

The takeaway: Keep Facebook in mind when thinking about direct communication with your audience.

Twitter has managed to become one of the main sources of fast and easy information.


When people look for fast and easy information, Twitter has managed to become one of the main sources of that content. With its ability to customize which topics the user follows, it isn’t even necessary to perform a search to have what you need right on your feed.

The Twitter search engine is a force you shouldn’t overlook. With more than 2 billion searches performed each day, Twitter users are avid searchers of news and updated content. 

By posting often, using the right hashtags and keeping an eye on current events and hot topics on the platform (which is extremely easy to do thanks to Twitter’s algorithm), you can expand the amount of people exposed to your creations.

Also, Twitter is a great way to redirect users to your web page, since the limited space provided by tweets makes it only natural for users to include links to more extensive pieces of content.

Just remember to write a catchy introduction on the body of your tweet, or else it won’t show up on the platform’s search engine.

The takeaway: If you’re looking for a quick outlet to show your content and the ability to reach a vast audience, Twitter is more than important for you.

Does Bing Matter, Too?

Even though your social media numbers may not be the direct cause of website visibility by Google, it’s worth mentioning that Bing claims to use social media signals for search rankings, and considering that it’s the second most popular search engine after Google, it’s advisable to include Bing in your SEO strategy as well.

Search Engine Journal explains more differences between Google SEO and Bing SEO and how to optimize your content for both algorithms. 

Knowing All This, Now What?

Now that you know the correlation between social media and seo, here’s what to do:

  1. Optimize your social media profiles for better rankings
  2. Create shareable content
  3. Grow the right audience

1. Optimize Your Profiles for Better Rankings

Social media SEO means making the most of your channels. 

How so you pull it off? 

  • Streamline all your profiles so when a user searches for you or your brand and both your website and your social media show up, they find a consistent result. 
  • Work hard on your branding: Be consistent with your voice, tone, and all the elements that make up your brand’s personality.
  • Have the same profile picture, clear and direct information and the link to your website visible on the first lines of your social profiles. This avoids confusion and maximizes engagement. Users won’t have to wonder if this is you, or someone with the same name, or a fake account.

2. Create Shareable Content 

Knowing your target audience is vital to make it in the social SEO realm. Create content that’ll be not only of interest to your audience member, but that encourages them to read through and stay on the lookout for what you’ll post next. 

Don’t fill your social accounts with sales pitches and self-rewarding information. That kind of brand placement is best left for a website. You may create articles with useful tips, tutorials or even anecdotes, which will encourage the reader to not only read but share with their community. 

Using attractive images also is crucial for better search rankings. Remember to include alternative text in your images because search engines can’t read visuals.

3. Grow the Right Audience

Granted, the bigger your following on social media, the more likely it is that the right people see your content. That said, it's best to focus your efforts on making the right audience aware of your existence. 

Having influential people engaged with your content won’t just increase your audience, but may give you a reach into their audiences as well. You can achieve this by actually spending time on knowing and showing appreciation for these creators and their knowledge. 

Share their posts, but don’t forget to add comments on why you’re sharing. Showing why you find their content of value will do 2 things: 

  • Increase the attention the algorithms of the social media platforms pay to your post, as content with personalized intros get more visibility than shared posts that have no text.
  • Catch the attention of more content creators. 

Just as with your general audience, a creator who’s happy with how you treat them is far more likely to pay attention to what you have to say. 

You also may want to quote influential people in your articles. Remember to not just quote them: Add their link and picture — and don’t forget to tag them when you post your piece. This will increase your social base and the attention creators pay to your content. 

Social Media Can Help SEO, But It Isn’t Enough

A strong social media presence can translate into more visibility to your website and brand, better engagement and higher search ranking, making the last a key aspect of your marketing arsenal.

Algorithms may change over time, but high quality content will still be king. However, you may fall short if you only rely on organic traffic.

Using social media for SEO works best in tandem with a paid media strategy. At Kantaloupe we can promote your brand to the right audience on the right channels with the best advertising. Reach out through our free online form to see how we can help you within your goals and budget.


Ines Da Pieve

Ines Da Pieve is a business-to-business copywriter from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She writes about technology, education and digital marketing.

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