What are Social Signals and Do They Help SEO?

social signalsSo, what are they exactly?

“Social signals” is a term used by SEO’s for social interactions related to your web site on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest and Instagram. It can for example be in the form of your url being shared or tweeted. Or it can be in the form of social media users liking your url either on your site or on post shared on the platform they are using. They are called “signals” because the commonly held theory is that they send a signal to Google that your web site is valuable in some way and as such it will be boosted up the organic search results. There is still a lot of debate about this which we will cover next…

Do they really help with SEO?

So while it is very often claimed that social signals do help with increasing a site’s SEO rankings the evidence is pretty flimsy to say the very least. Most people who are doing split tests for SEO purposes are way too un-scientific to get accurate data. This is muddied even more by many people who sell such signals having a perverse incentive in proving they are effective for organic traffic. Lets get real for a minute here. If you were selling social signals wouldn’t you want them to work? Might this make you a bit biased in your testing? Might you even be tempted to bend the truth or maybe even lie just to make few more sales and increase your bottom line? (The world of selling SEO services is notorious for scammers and unethical practices).

Should you even care?

This is the really important question we need to ask ourselves about social signals for SEO. If they do actually give a rankings boost it is certainly not a big one and there are other much more significant ways of using social media marketing to boost your site’s traffic and income levels. Here is the idea:

Instead of trying to trick the Google search engine into giving you better rankings by buying, faking or forcing social activity related to your site. Why not add real value on social media, generate direct traffic to your site and then if any SEO benefits do come along they are just the icing on the cake?

Surely this makes more sense? You can with some knowledge and a little practice get great traffic from all social media channels. From making a great video and adding it to YouTube to creating fun blog posts and sharing them on Facebook and Twitter. All these methods can generate free traffic without you having to worry about the vagaries and fluctuations in the Google search results.

So just for once, let go of trying to get as much ranking value from every single thing that you do. Instead think about and try to see the bigger picture. The end goal here is not better rankings it is more traffic and sales. The more you focus on this the better.

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