Does Social Media Impact SEO?

Clients are the best. Besides the fact that they pay the bills, they also ask great questions that make you think about things you don’t normally think about. Today, I received one of those questions.

“Would having a Facebook page for the business help with searches?”

No, But

The short answer is no. As long as we’re talking about “on-page” or “on-site” SEO, your social media profile doesn’t help. Your social media profile is not going to help your website rank any higher in search engines.

But, your social media profile can help your presence in search engines. Especially when users (potential customers?) are searching for your brand by name.

Brand Recognition

We spend a lot of time thinking about and working on branding in an effort to create something that resonates with customers and flies off the tip of their tongue when they think about a product or service. Ideally, they would come directly to our website to engage us for that product or service but let’s be honest, most folks (me included) simply type the name of the product or service in the address bar (or, go to Google and then type the name in), hit enter and click on the first result that looks like it will take us where we want to go.

Often, this is sufficient to get customers to our website. In fact, this is a good test of your basic search presence. Can you be found for your brand name? If not, we need to talk because you have serious problems. If so, then what else is found on that first page of search results? This is where it pays to have a good social media presence because it is likely that you will find social media profiles from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in addition to directories that your business is listed in (like Yelp!).

Brand Management

In addition to simply being found by your brand name, this also helps you to manage the type of content that is found on that search engine results page (SERP). The more time and effort that you put into your social media, the more you control what is found for your brand.

It’s probably not fair to compare a “typical” business with firms that specialize in online marketing but a couple good examples of brand management and the prevalence of social media profiles in search results are aka Media Marketing Google Search Results for aka media marketing and Firebrand Media Google Search Results for firebrand media martinsburg wv.

aka Media Marketing

As you would expect, the search engine results page for a social media marketing firm like aka Media Marketing is peppered with results from Facebook. It also includes structured data pulled from the website and Google Business info including a map, address, phone and website link. aka has control of all of the content found on this SERP except the two links which are pointing to the Firebrand Media portfolio.

SERP from aka Media Marketing search

Firebrand Media

The SERP for Firebrand Media starts with results from the website (with a link to view more from the website) and then progresses with info from across the web including our Twitter profile, member profile pages in web directories and LinkedIn. To the right, we also have structured data from our Google Business page which includes a map, address, phone number and customer reviews.

Of the nine pieces of information found here, we have control over all of it except the Yellow Page listings. Actually, we control that too because they tend to use Google Local / Maps as an authority for that info.

SERP from firebrand media martinsburg wv search

What Next

So, what do I tell my client that asked the question “Would having a Facebook page for the business help with searches?

I’ll tell them that yes, social media profiles can help with your search results - if you expect users to search for you by name - but to make them worthwhile, they need to be populated with relevant information and need to be actively maintained. I would also tell them that there are opportunities to find clients through those social profiles beyond what is found in Google.

Further Reading

Here are a couple of articles that I found that were helpful in thinking through the whole social media vs search engine question. Undoubtedly, there are millions of results for this topic and probably just as many opinions.

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About The Author

G. Brad Hopkins's avatar
  • G. Brad Hopkins
  • About Me: I bought my first computer - an Apple Performa 6320 - when I was in college and have been building websites ever since. These days I spend most of my time writing code and helping to bring interesting projects to life.
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