When it comes to social media, most small to medium sized companies are trying to jump on the bandwagon by simply creating a profile and posting a few things each week. Not a bad way to start—but the real power is in understanding the value of social media and the purpose it serves.

The truth is, social media is where we’re spending most of our precious free time online. Whether it’s through the Facebook app, when you’re perusing Pinterest for a new recipe or making a political stand via a jaw-dropping retweet, social media has given people an opportunity to create an identity online—and we’re all about it. So, how do we take all of this social action and use it to our advantage as a brand?

The answer is in the social signals.

What are they?

Social signals are the pieces of data a search engine can access that communicate authority and credibility about a specific brand or website. Search engines take these signals and consider them as a piece of their algorithm to rank websites for a given set of search queries.

Social signals could be:

  • Retweets
  • Facebook shares
  • Blog comments
  • Pins and +1s
  • And, in some cases, Likes, Followers and audience size

Why do they Matter?

A short-term social strategy might influence a site for a given news story or topic. So, when Emma Watson gave a moving speech about gender equality in mid-September, launching the #HeforShe campaign, all the sudden sites such as the Huffington Post were ranking for high-traffic terms such as “emma watson” or “emma watson speech” simply because they accumulated a significant amount of social engagements (shares, retweets, comments, posts, etc.) around this topic.

This same concept can be used to create a long term SEO strategy incorporating the same type of social signals. If a brand can post about a given topic, or create a blog targeting keywords in our SEO project, it can be promoted on a brand’s social channels with the goal of getting a lot of social engagements. A high enough volume of social engagements can help communicate a page’s relevance to search engines, which can, in turn, help that website rank for relevant topics.

A search engine considers a lot of variables in its algorithm—so this is only one piece of what makes up a comprehensive social and SEO strategy. Contact us to start a conversation about how an SEO or social strategy might look for your business!

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