How to use social signals to improve your SEO

Posted by Jayson David on 3 Aug, 2021
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Social signals are not a direct ranking signal, but there's a lot you can do on social media to help boost your SEO.

Social signals for SEO.

In today’s competitive market, businesses are always trying to find ways to get ahead. Social media platforms are an important sales and marketing channel. However, there's much more that social media can do for your brand.

One of the additional benefits is that it can also help increase your chances of ranking in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

SEO and social signals

Social signals are your website's collective likes and shares. Engagement can come from any social media platform. This article will explore the areas where there is a correlation between social signals and SEO.

Google doesn’t give exact details of how their algorithm works, and social signals are not a direct ranking factor. However, there can be a correlation, and most high ranking websites will have a strong social media presence.

Social media can help in boosting your content, acquiring backlinks and promoting engagement and trust with your brand. 

For example, if a piece of content goes viral on social media, authority websites are more likely to link to it, and authority backlinks improve SEO rankings.

Here’s an example from Game, who launched a cheeky PR marketing campaign for a Christmas meal in a can. The goal of the campaign was to get a page about “gaming chairs” ranking on Google. You can see the link in the article.

Game Christmas Tinner.
The campaign went viral and generated a lot of exposure in the media and on social media. All of that media buzz generated backlinks and boosted traffic.

Here are 4 ways in which you can boost your social signals and enhance your SEO efforts.

1. Use paid ads to support your best content

We all create content that we hope will be a hit with our audience. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the content you produce will ever become popular. Often, the first sign that a piece of content is acquiring popularity is when it gets shared on social media.

If you have an active social media presence, you should track the results of your content and campaigns.

The first thing you should do is set some Key Performance Indicators, so you know what a normal response on social media looks like. For example, if generating five shares on Facebook is normal for your business, then  generating 50 shares on social media would be a really popular post.

Track your results for each piece of content, and when an article generates a lot of engagement, use paid ads to boost it. Paid advertising will help increase the reach of your best-performing content. It may be the spark that makes a piece of content go viral.

The increased visibility and exposure also means a higher chance of getting those organic authority links that can support your search rankings.

2. Establish and build your brand presence

Social media is a great way to establish and boost your brand presence, and to build an engaged audience who will like and share your content. A good social media presence can also translate into branded searches.

First, you need to consider what you want to be known for. It pays to niche down, especially if you’re starting small.

Your aim is to create a brand-niche association through the content you share on social media with your audience. You want people to make that association between the product or service you provide and your company.

Take ecommerceCEO, for example. They’ve got a clearly defined target audience: people who are involved in ecommerce.

All the content they produce targets this demographic. It’s clever targeting for a small business and helped the company create a strong brand.


Source: Twitter

Another better-known example in the ecommerce niche is Shopify. When people think about ecommerce platforms, Shopify is one of the first names that springs to mind, as indicated by the number of searches on their brand.


Source: Wordtracker keyword tool

Take the time to create a brand style guide which makes you distinctive and helps people identify your brand and the colors/style associated with it easily.  This style guide will govern the visual representation of your brand from the look of the website, fonts, colors, right down to guidelines for promotional content.  

Here’s a tweet from Mailchimp’s CEO, showing their distinctive visual style.


Source: Twitter

You can hire an agency to create a style guide for your business. But there are also many graphic design programs on the market which you can use in-house to do this.

3. Use influencer marketing

Influencer marketing allows businesses to increase the reach of their content with their target audience. Partnering up with the right influencers will boost your social signals.

Influencers often have a large, engaged audience - in the millions for the biggest ones. However, there are plenty of smaller, micro-influencers small businesses can hook up with. Use them to build brand credibility and so help drive sales. Just make sure you team up with a credible influencer and also that your business aligns with their specific niche.

A great example of a business that understands how to use influencer marketing is Adidas. They typically create collaborations with influencers in their niche to promote their products.


Source: Caro Daur Instagram

They recently partnered with Caroline Daur, a fitness and health influencer, to promote their newest product, the TechFit Period Proof Tights. Check out how many likes Caroline’s post has generated so far - over 12,000 and counting!

The goal of these campaigns is to promote a particular product range and successful efforts will help boost branded searches.

4. Engage with customers on social media  

Social media is the perfect place to demonstrate your excellent customer service. People are increasingly turning to social media to contact businesses with issues, especially if they haven’t managed to establish contact through the more traditional routes.

Responding promptly and resolving issues sensitively will do a great deal to boost your reputation as a trustworthy business.

59% of people have a more favorable view of brands that respond to customer service questions or complaints on social media, and brand reputations can be hugely damaged by a poor response to a customer on a public platform.

When you engage with customers on social media and show your niche expertise, you can build a loyal following and even make brand ambassadors of your customers. People will share or like your posts, but also promote your brand to their family and friends. That can translate to additional shares, likes, and comments - and sales.  

We know that Google uses E-A-T - Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness - to help judge page quality.  Using social media to engage with your audience about your niche, or products and services, as well as responding promptly to concerns sends a good signal about your E-A-T credentials to Google.

Wrapping up

In short, there’s a lot you can do on social media to boost your business and your content. Although social signals might not feed directly into rankings, they provide additional ways to boost branded searches and content visibility; create opportunities for authority backlinks; and build your brand reputation and E-A-T. All of which will help your site’s rankings in the SERPs.

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