As an online business, you know the value of social media and SEO, but can they work together to help your website’s page ranking?
As a physician and digital strategy expert, in the healthcare arena, I’ve been working with social media and online strategy for about a decade now and I, therefore, love to answer questions from my readers to help them in their online strategies.
In today’s episode of The Career Rx, we’ll be answering this reader question…
I have just launched my website and I’m spending so much time and money on trying to grow my social media platforms.
Recently I heard search engines don’t use or don’t care about social media. Can that really be true? And if so, why do people spend so much time on social media?
In This Episode of The Career Rx You’ll Learn:
- Does social media affect SEO?
- The connection between social media and SEO page rank
- The importance of SEO and social media for new websites
- How to set up your website to boost search authority
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TRANSCRIPT AND SHOW NOTES
Hey there friends! Welcome to The Career Prescription podcast (aka The Career Rx). I’m your host Marjorie Stiegler.
As mentioned, today I’m answering a question from a reader of mine about whether search engines care about social media performance and activity.
This is a great question and it’s actually been of much debate for a very long time.
Does Social Media Affect SEO?
If you take a look back several years, it used to be that some search engine algorithms looked at the engagement with social media (likes and shares) to determine your site rank. The ability to share an article directly from your site was also part of the algorithm.
Today, Google says that’s not the case. Bing, however, says maybe it is. Bing seems to think as long as you can share articles on social media and the number of shares is shown, that can also be taken into account.
However, here’s the most important thing…
As for Q4 2019, Google has a US market share of 88.4%, followed by Bing at 6.2% – Source: eMarketer
So, I care a lot about what these two search engines think and what their algorithms are and you should too.
I, however, have a different philosophy which is the algorithms could change at any time (and they do).
Whether search engines look at social metrics and activity or not, search engines have one goal. That is to deliver you (the searcher) the best content. How the algorithm changes should not impact your overall strategy.
So, let me answer this question, do search engines care about social media?
The answer is no.
The number of followers, fans and the social channels you use do not have any direct bearing on your website rank.
Your social presence, however, can indirectly benefit your SEO and search presence.
The Connection Between Social Media and SEO Page Rank
Let me explain what I mean in terms of the indirect benefit social media can have on SEO.
Certain social media platforms have established credibility and high authority in search engines.
What does high authority mean? It means that the search engines believe that that website offers up high quality trusted content that is relevant to the keywords. This is also known as “domain authority”.
My website, for example, has a lot of material about social media and professional development. So, my authority on these topics would be higher on Google than if I wrote about a completely different topic – a recipe for example.
The simple act of sharing content to social media does not directly impact your SEO authority, but the traffic you get from that social share does. This is known as a backlink.
A backlink is an external link to your website. If that link is coming from a high-quality website, then it carries a lot of weight, especially if it’s a “dofollow” link.
If the link comes from Facebook, it carries much less weight as that would be a “nofollow” link.
For info on what a dofollow and nofollow link is, check out Neil Patel’s video:
What’s The Difference Between Do Follow and No Follow Links?
However, in aggregate, if you have a bunch of people sharing a post, which is driving traffic to your website this can highly benefit your SEO in a positive way. How?
Traffic is actually one of the various key indicators search engine algorithms use to determine your website page rank. So, traffic plus strong on-page SEO structure does help your website rank.
This is how social media can indirectly benefit your SEO.
How Does Social Media and SEO Affect a New Website Launch?
If we go back to the beginning of my reader’s question…
“I have just launched my website and I’m spending so much time and money on trying to grow my social media platforms…”
This reader just launched their website. If you have just launched a website, it does not have any inherent credibility, yet. The authority of a new website, no matter how much authority you may have, is going to be low when you first launch.
When you launch your focus should be to get traffic to your website.
When people hit your website they will stay because of your great site structure and user experience. This positive user experience along with obtaining high visibility through social media is critical to growing your audience.
This is what gives you credibility and will give you a boost in your search engine rankings for your site.
Should You Spend Time and Money on Social Media with a New Website?
Having just launched the website, I would say the answer to that is yes, but in a careful way.
It is important to grow the social media platform, but it’s also very important to build backlinks. This is the essence of growing your credibility/authority.
Important: It’s most beneficial if the links that come back to your website are from a site that already has high credibility (a high domain authority). As we discussed, search engines don’t consider Facebook and Twitter to be “high credibility” sites.
With social media sites, you’ll get great visibility, but it doesn’t have the same amount of credibility if you had good quality “dofollow” backlinks from reputable websites and blogs.
How Does YouTube Fit In?
In contrast, YouTube can be seen as more of an authority to search engines.
Oftentimes a video is very well produced and is one of the best sources of information. Therefore, there is more chance of YouTube content showing up much higher in search results. This also means that YouTube content will have a higher authority.
Google prioritizes video content. If you are able to get any of your videos on the first page of Google’s search results, you can benefit from this by adding links to your website. This with a strong call to action in the video description is a great way to drive traffic and generate backlinks.
The traffic generated from YouTube will then boost again your site’s inherent credibility.
How To Setup Your Website to Boost Search Authority
Let’s say you are a physician who is starting a side gig. You’ve been blogging as a physician for a long time and you have a lot of search engine credibility for your medical content.
When starting a side job or a startup that is not medical you can not just simply shift your content on your current website. Yes, you may have great authority with Google for your content thus far, but changing the content completely will not help you rank in search.
You will, therefore, have to start a new website.
For physicians or other professionals who have a side gig or another entrepreneurial business, it’s important that you have a distinct strategy.
You also want to have a user experience that is not confusing when people land on your website from one or another of your social media posts. You want to be sure that where they end up makes sense to them.
You don’t want people to land on a website about your medical practice if you’re trying to grow traffic for your side business. Similarly, if you’re trying to grow your medical practice, you don’t want people to land on what they’re going to perceive as a hobby page.
Google looks at:
- Quality of content
- The relevance of your content to the search term
…as just some of the criteria to determine how your site content will rank.
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The Relationship Between SEO and Social Media – Key Takeaways
No matter what search engine algorithms are focused on, whether there is an indirect connection of social media and page ranking today or a direct correlation tomorrow – one thing should remain… social media is an important part of your overall strategy.
You, therefore, should focus on your strategy of:
- Creating fantastic content
- Having a well structured, user-friendly website
- Sharing your content regularly to social media
This is what will connect you with other like-minded people who are genuinely interested in your content and therefore will click back to your website, read your articles and share it to other people.
This will ultimately will boost your website’s authority and your website page rank within the search engine algorithms whether it’s Google, Bing or others.
The primary purpose of a search algorithm is to deliver a search result to the user that helps them – whether it’s great content, a solution or a product. Overtime algorithms change to improve these search results.
By putting your best work out there and then letting others know about it through social media is a great strategy for online success.
Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Career Rx Podcast.
Please be sure to subscribe and leave me a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or whatever podcast player you’re using to listen today. Also, be sure to send me your questions so that I can answer them and give you a shout out on a future episode.
Bye for now,
Related Digital Marketing Tips for Your Physician Side Gig:
- The Fastest Way for Doctors To Build a Stellar Online Presence – Ep. 2
- How To Respond to Bad Reviews: What To Do and Not Do – Ep. 6
- Amplify Your Thought Leadership with Content Syndication – Ep. 8
- How To Use Social Media for Success and Branding