Most of what affects SEO is a tightly held secret. Because of this, speculation abounds. One thing you’ll read often is that social media has no effect on SEO. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of spam, has said that Twitter and Facebook have no role at all in rankings. But, is it true that social does not affect SEO? The answer is, “it depends.”
In 2013, digital marketing research firm Econsultancy published their State of Search Marketing Report; 74% of companies and 82% of agencies they talked to said that social media was a large part of their SEO strategy.
But, soon after, Matt Cutts said that social doesn’t count toward search engine rank at all. In his recent comments about social and SEO, Cutts mentioned that Google was blocked from crawling at least one social media site. This tells us that Google was crawling the site and is interested in using social signals. Back in 2010, Cutts said that Google did look at Twitter follows and Facebook likes to help determine a brand’s authority. What changed between then and now hasn’t been disclosed. But, it’s likely that social’s role in SEO is not static and will continue to evolve.
Social media profiles are currently a part of Google results. So, having your webpage, your Twitter, your Facebook and your LinkedIn well-optimized for search gives you more opportunities to be found.
And, while social is not part of a brand’s authority, Cutts did say that they spider social media profiles. So, if these are treated like any other web pages, the backlinks to your content can still be valuable.
In one new area, social has already been overtly added to search engine results. Google results on both mobile and desktop now include Tweets in all English-language searches worldwide. So far, Twitter results will show up when a user Googles an individual or organization. They’ll also show up for searches on trending topics. If a highly topical Twitter account is a good fit for your brand, an active and engaged account can be well worth your time.
And, it’s worth noting that social media channels are search engines in and of themselves. Each one has a search function that visitors can use to look for terms relevant to your practice. By maintaining a well-optimized profile, you can better assure that you show up in results.
As far as other social signals and their effect on Google results, their roles in SEO are still changing and developing. It’s likely that social signals will become more important over time.
In the meantime, social is a great way to spread the word about your practice and bring new prospects to your site. A few ways to make social a bigger and more effective part of your online marketing:
- Send out links to your new blog and video content. Promoting on a number of platforms can bring more and different visitors to your site.
- Monitor social media channels for news and discussion that is relevant to your area of practice. Retweet when appropriate. Answer questions when you can.
- Share news and insights about new law developments in your area.
- Send replies on Twitter when you have relevant comments to add to the conversation. This sort of engagement is humanizing and can showcase your legal expertise.
In quality digital marketing, all of your channels work together to build familiarity with your firm. By utilizing your site, Facebook, Twitter and other channels, you can create a larger presence online and reach more prospective clients.