The Importance of Social Media Metrics for an SEO Campaign
One of the things that so many people seem to forget is the fact that social media platforms act as search engines of their own. They have search algorithms, their own system of rank and relevance, their own tools and their own rules. However, do these social media trends and phenomena affect one’s overall SEO rank?
Due to the fact that all of these trends exist in a digital environment that is so tightly intertwined, it would be ludicrous to assume otherwise, yet, it’s important to make a distinction between a direct and an indirect boost. A larger reach opens up new possibilities but how does social media exposure affect your standing with Google? More importantly, how can these metrics be studied, evaluated and then used to improve your SEO campaign? Well, let’s find out!
1. Social media links and their significance
The first major question that has to be answered is one of social media links and their overall influence on your rank. Keep in mind that regular backlinks still affect the rank of a certain site, even though their importance may no longer be the same like several years (let alone a decade) ago. Social media links, on the other hand, may boost traffic to your content, yet, whether or not they are directly considered by Google’s algorithm as a factor and to what degree is still debatable.
Some claim that the fact that the number of platforms a single piece of content is shared on matters more than the number of shares itself. Moreover, there are also some speculations (that certain people find incredibly well-founded), that claim that Facebook (as the largest social network) and Twitter (as a present-day news outlet) have the most credibility of them all. This makes the situation even more complex and harder to discern. In other words, even if they do not act as regular backlinks (which they still might), social media links still benefit the credibility of your business.
One of the most important things about social media links and sharing lies in the fact that they passively also add a social proof to the mix. What we mean by that is fairly simple. You see, if a person sees a piece of content that’s been shared and re-shared all over the place, they’re more likely to see it as genuine. In turn, this will encourage them to use you as a resource while writing a post of their own. In this way, ironically, even though social media links may not act as backlinks, they can help you earn some backlinks.
2. Brand mentions
A former head of Google’s web spam team, Matt Cutts once said that he had a vision of an SEO without links. Instead, it would all revolve around brand mentions, context and be governed by an algorithm that understands the language used. While Cutts is no longer in this position, there are those who believe that some of his ideas still live on. In fact, there isn’t a single marketer out there who can ignore the importance of brand mentions in the digital environment, even though they still don’t dominate the search engine results.
The problem with brand mentions lies in the fact that they tend to be incredibly elusive. The gravity of bad brand mentions often exceeds the boost by positive brand mentions by far. This is why it’s hard to make an estimate of whether the public opinion leans in your favor or goes against it. For this to work, your SEO experts would have to find a reliable media monitoring platform with an elaborate reporting system.
3. Social media profile rank in search engine results
This may be the most relevant item on the list, even though some may dispute its right to be here, to begin with. What we mean by that is the fact that it’s more of a search engine metric than social media metric, even though correlations between the two may not be so easy and simple to separate. How many times have you looked for a brand and received the Instagram and Facebook profile of the company in the first couple of results? This is a good thing, actually, seeing as how the online audience tends to see these pages as more genuine than your official website. For this reason alone, it might be worth your while if your marketers were to work on boosting the rank of these pages as well.
4. Bounce rate
Facebook and social media marketing, in general, are filled with clickbait content. If there’s one thing that you can be sure about it’s the fact that bounce rate is a vital metric and that it affects your rank as a whole. Therefore, you need to avoid even being associated with this technique. Most importantly, it’s incredibly difficult, yet also necessary, to ensure that others aren’t using your content for these purposes either. No matter how intelligent they are, Google bots are still algorithm-governed and as such, susceptible to errors. Once your bounce rate starts increasing, you will be able to recognize that something is amiss and act in a timely and appropriate manner.
5. Think about YouTube
When it comes to discussing other search engines, most people immediately think of Bing, completely forgetting that YouTube is currently the world’s second largest search engine. Not only that, but it’s also owned, and thus heavily favored by Google itself. This is why it comes as no surprise to see your YouTube video pop up near the very top during a search. When it comes to YouTube, there is a completely new set of metrics to watch out for, especially the way in which demonetization (recently a burning topic) affects your visibility, exposure and reach.
Remember that things change. This is perhaps the most important piece of advice that you’ll ever receive in this field and it’s vital that you take it seriously. Think about it, just because social media links aren’t considered as backlinks at the moment doesn’t mean that this will remain so in the future. The same thing goes for all the other metrics on this list as well. This is why you need to start casting a bit wider net than you’ve initially intended in hopes of creating resoundingly positive results in the nearest future. Look at it as future-proofing your SEO strategy.