Let’s Be Clear: Social Media Does(n’t) Matter in SEO
Social media does not directly contribute to SEO ranking. It seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Social media is almost synonymous with the word internet, thanks to over a decade of dominating sites such as X (formerly called Twitter), Facebook, Instagram, and others. Corporations, governmental entities, non-profit organizations, small businesses, and individual users drove social media sites into becoming some of the most visited sites in internet history. X grew every year from 2019 to 2022, and Facebook has over three billion users as of 2023.
So why would social media not matter when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) value?
Why Social Media Doesn’t Impact SEO
The SEO value of any individual site, article, or press release is based off of algorithms searching for the highest quality result to answer particular search queries. It is, after all, search engine optimization. An SEO algorithm searches for the most helpful content in response to a user’s query, ranking content based on reliability, authenticity, and originality. Algorithms are updated regularly to keep pace with the development of internet trends, including weeding out AI generated content, poor quality websites, and outdated SEO practices such as keyword stuffing.
A company’s Facebook page may contain links back to press releases they’ve published, significant strides they’ve made in expansion, or personnel announcements. It isn’t, however, likely to include a clear, concise answer to a user’s query about “what’s the latest smartwatch rating” or other such questions that make up a large percentage of search engine queries.
SEO value is based off of the overall value and usability of a piece of published information to a general audience. Social media value, on the other hand, is measured in how a post will spread across one platform, gathering likes and views, and whether or not it will “go viral” by spreading off of the platform of origin to be posted elsewhere.
This is where social media does matter to SEO. It does for companies, users, and organizations what SEO does for well-written webpages with clear information: it drives engagement and visibility. If an organization is a frequent and consistent poster on X, for example, it’s developing brand recognition. The next time a user makes a search query relating to that organization’s focus, they’re more likely to select search results from that organization. Pages being consistently visited and shared by social media users will reflect on a site’s traffic, in turn improving their overall SEO ranking.
In addition to boosting brand recognition, a strong social media presence can extend the life of your content and build a stronger reputation for your outlet or personal brand.
Semrush breaks it down like this: “Your shares across social media sites have no place in SEO rankings. Still, when more people share your content throughout social media, it generates social signals that indicate your posts are useful to your target market.”
SEO value should never be sacrificed in favor of social media; an informative, well-written webpage is likely to rank well regardless of what social media is maintained by the company. However, social media’s value for brand recognition cannot be understated. Utilizing social media well brings users to your article, drives higher engagement, and exposes your story to a wider audience than you might receive otherwise.
Clear and useful human-generated content is what you create for SEO value; social media is what you maintain for user engagement.
Read more about social media’s most valuable capabilities for journalists.
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Crystle is a senior Customer Content Specialist at PR Newswire with a background in SEO writing. She opts to spend any available free time watching horror movies, reading any book that will hold still, and playing video games with her husband.