Can social signals help your site rank?
SEOs have been asking this question for years, and while most of us can agree that they are somehow considered a ranking factor by Google and the other major search engines, they question that is still on many SEOs’ minds is whether or not the social signals alone will rank a site.
What Are Social Signals?
Understanding exactly what a social signal is will help us better understand how they can help your site rank. Simply put, they are any form of interaction with your site that takes place on social media or networks.
A user pinning your blog post on Pinterest or sharing it on Facebook are both examples of signals. The name is derived from the fact that every share, like, tweet, etc. is a signal that people are socializing with your site.
Can These Signals Help Your Site Rank?
While it’s often hard to pin down any exact answers when it comes to SEO, there are some things that test after test have revealed to be pretty obvious.
For example, every SEO knows that the biggest ranking factor is backlinks. It has been for about as long as search engines have existed. While the algorithms have changed over the years (such as by now favoring quality over quantity), Google has never backed down on treating backlinks as the primary gauge of a site’s authority.
When it comes to your signals, the answer is kind of tricky. Generally speaking, they will not rank a site on their own. Maybe in very, very non competitive niches you could rank on these signals alone. But, for the most part, the purpose of social signals are to build trust.
When Google sees that people are tweeting about your content and sharing it on Facebook and Instagram, their algorithm is going to attribute more trust to your website. The social signals tell Googlebot “Hey look, people value my stuff!”.
So What Good Is Trust for Ranking?
So, if they don’t rank your site directly, you might be wondering why the trust built from social signals is worth anything. The answer is that they pave the way for more powerful links.
If PBN links are the taxi cab to the first page, social signals are the street pavers that ensure you don’t pop a tire on the way there. Basically, social signals help Google trust that all of those PBN and guest post links are occurring naturally.
Learn More About These Signals
So, now that you know how social signals help your site rank, you might be interested in learning more about how to use them right. For more on the topic, check out our three quick tips on social signals for SEO.
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