Despite the fact that Google has repeatedly said social signals aren’t a direct ranking factor, they can still help with your SEO efforts. Essentially, if you create high quality content that is popular on social media, people will like it and link to it, which in turn can boost your ranking.

In its 2016 Rebooting Ranking Factors White Paper, Searchmetrics said the following:

“The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high… The top-ranked websites in Google’s rankings displays vastly more social signals than all other pages… This is primarily due to the overlap between brand websites performing strongly in social networks and being allocated top positions by Google.”

Here are the main ways in which social media can help your SEO efforts.

Potential for links

In this case study by Matthew Woodward, one company achieved over 130,000 Facebook shares to a web page and consequently moved up the rankings for keyword phrases that were still competitive.

For quite some time, marketers believed that shares on Facebook were a good ranking signal, but this isn’t strictly true. It is in fact the links that can come from Facebook, which will positively influence your search engine performance.

Regardless of whether your preferred network of choice is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest, if you publish popular and high quality content on social media that gains traction among fans and followers, you should get more links from other websites.

Building an audience

Even with the best product or service available at the lowest price around, sales won’t come to fruition if you’ve got no audience. Thankfully, social media is a purpose-built platform for reaching as many people as possible across the world.

Therefore, if you use social media to build an audience and brand awareness, you can then increase the likelihood that users will click on your brand’s content in Google search results. And as you’re no doubt aware, click-through rates have a direct impact on search engine rankings.

Use social media to get your business in front of people who otherwise wouldn’t have found you. From there you can get bigger, establish trust, boost clicks, and rank higher.

Helping with promotion

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, you shouldn’t ignore the search potential of YouTube either. After all, this is the second-largest search engine, which processes more than 3 billion queries a month and is bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask, and AOL combined.

As a result, it can be used to positively influence your SEO efforts. By creating videos that promote your content or brand, you will end up with more links. What’s more, the video itself has the potential to rank organically in the SERPs.

However, in order to capitalise on the merits of YouTube, your audience must be on social media and care about the content you are producing. This is why some B2B companies often struggle with social media marketing, as users visit sites like YouTube for fun and enjoyment rather than work.