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The Real Relationship Between Social Media and SEO

Social media and SEO are two cornerstones of digital marketing and when used properly, can be invaluable to promoting your business online. However, is there any point in spending precious time and effort promoting your content across all social platforms in the hope of seeing your search engine rankings soar?

According to Google, this question is be somewhat easy to answer with no – social media isn’t a ranking factor, so doesn’t directly have an impact on your SEO. However, don’t write it off so fast. Success on social media can have an effect on a range of factors that in turn affect rankings. So, however indirect the link may be, we’re here to say yes, you should consider your social media activity alongside your main SEO strategy.

So, which factors are you likely to see impacted by social media efforts? Look no further, we’ve listed the 5 main ones below.


Backlinks are a crucial SEO metric which Google measures in order to measure how relevant and useful your website is. Unfortunately, through a series of black-hat techniques such as creating fake websites that link back, this can be taken advantage of in order to trick search engines into thinking a website has been linked back to more than it has.

Social media is a good source of backlinks, as long as your content is deemed worthy of being shared by your followers. When someone shares your link on social media, it shows how popular your content is and can, in turn, increase the number of links back to your website.

Ranking Profiles

Branded results are the gold dust of search queries, as it indicates an awareness of your brand name and interest in your service or product offering. Within these branded results, it’s not uncommon to find companies social media profiles. These are often listed on the first page and may even include company rankings or most recent posts.

By keeping your social media profiles up-to-date and optimised, you are giving yourself the best chance of appearing in these results and attracting new, relevant traffic to your website and your social media.

Authority Score

Google will rank your website higher, the higher your domain authority is. Domain authority basically judges the credibility of your website as a source. A little known fact is that Google also takes your social media influence into account, by considering engagement, reach and relevance. 

Hootsuite carried out an experiment to figure out what the true relationship between social media activity and SEO and found that the more active you are on social media, the higher your domain authority will be. Not only does this include posting valuable content, commenting, liking and sharing, but also the previously mentioned and all important link backs. 

Local SEO

For service-based businesses in particular, this can be one of your biggest focuses. The biggest concern for local SEO is how your business is listed online. This means having consistent NAP (Name-Address-Phone number) information across all your online platforms – including social media. Optimising your profiles with an informative company bio, a clear outline of your working hours and NAP details which match your Google My Business profile is a good starting point to ensure your website ranks well in local search results.

Let’s not forget about geo-tagging. For example, on Instagram, you are able to geo-tag your posts and stories, which helps to boost visibility among local users. Users are also able to search for posts which are geotagged to a specific location, giving you the potential to reach a lot more users and attract new traffic to your website.

screenshot of geotag content on Instagram


As one of the most important metrics for business owners, site traffic is also one of Google’s most important ranking factors. Simply put, the more people that see your content, the more chance you have of converting them and that’s the main goal of business, right? As we’ve learned, Google does rank social media profiles, but it doesn’t take into account the content you post on them.

In SEO terms, social media simply serves as an extra channel for inbound traffic, by providing more visibility for your content. If your content is shared around social media, the more people it will send to your website – and for this, Google will reward you with a boost in rankings!

Understanding the benefits of both SEO and social media is important to online success for your business. If you are looking to outsource your SEO efforts or simply need more advice on optimising your social media profiles, the team at Colewood will be happy to help.