I was speaking with the marvellous Cathal Melinn at the Digital Marketing Institute in Dublin to ask about including hyperlinks in my blogs to another person's web page - one that is deemed to be 'quality' - to know if it would positively affect my page ranking. It used to matter in the noughties, which made things a lot easier, but things are different 10+ years later. Links to other people's sites won't massively affect your ranking, he said, but it will have a "small affect". Linking to low quality sites can also have a small, negative affect on your quality so you should always be aware of who you link to.
Cathal had written to students - a category I fall in to 'technically', soon to be banished from for lack of attendance - to say that Google has categorically stated that social media metrics do not influence SEO. His thoughts on this, however, are that social media metrics might not, but social media can influence SEO, albeit indirectly.
I was interested to hear more!
Social media efforts can lead to quality backlinks. Social media marketing is all about sharing your best and creating engagement around that content. The more engaging your content, the more people will share, creating more opportunities for people to find and link to your content on their blogs and articles. And when that happens, you are creating quality backlinks, which is a ranking factor for SEO.
Social media increases the visibility of your website and content.
With lots of referrals coming from social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn Twitter, Etc, your site starts receiving more traffic. The more quality traffic your website receives - and the more social media platforms are considered a quality referral - the more the Google algorithm takes notice and helps increase your SEO ranking.
Social media helps build brand awareness. This might look like more of a branding advantage than a SEO advantage, but there is a SEO gain to be had here. Increasing
your brand awareness on social media will lead to increased online brand presence.
So far a logical loop.
That increased brand presence and awareness will lead to more brand searches on Google, and the more brand searches your brand receives, the higher it's likely to rank for non-branded keywords. "It's a bit of a strange relationship but the relationship is there".
In response to my question about links, Cathal replied that links can be from any site but ideally from similar or relevant content / pages on that site. Excitedly he said that newspaper links are "amazing", because newspapers or current affairs will have lots of themes - if the link from the newspaper is relevant to you - because ideally you want links from relevant content on sites.
Quality sites are those Google rates highly based on the number of back links, traffic, website, brand awareness and freshness of content.
If you would like to discuss your website's SEO, be in touch via my Contact page