According to Search Metrics’ 2013 analysis of the factors that correlate with strong search rankings, keyword links and domains have lost relevance (as compared with the previous year), while success with social media is playing an increasingly important role. Specifically, among the factors which correlate positively with improved search rankings, 7 of the top 10 are social-media related, including Facebook shares, likes, and comments, as well as Tweets, Pinterest, and Google +1.

As regards the relationship between social media success and search rankings, the analysis concludes: “…this year’s study confirms the trend that became evident as early as 2012: well positioned URLs have a high number of likes, shares, tweets, and plus ones, and specific URLs stand out in the top search results with a very high mass of social signals.”

The Need for Specific StrategiesThese findings are good news (and vindication) for those businesses that have invested heavily in comprehensive social media strategies and presence. On the other hand, beyond pointing in general terms to the relationship between, say, Facebook likes and search results, they don’t explain specifically how social media impacts SEO, or provide practical guidance and recommendations for ways in which marketers can enhance their social media presence.

A Symbiotic RelationshipObserving the increasing influence of social media on search rankings, some have argued that traditional SEO has become less relevant. That’s an overstatement and is not likely to be the case as long as Web searchers continue to use search engines to find what they’re looking for. In fact, SEO and social media strategies can and should be mutually beneficial.

Here are 5 tips for using social media to support your overall SEO strategy:

  1. Include social media in your link strategy. Quality links to your website content increase search engine rankings. Marketers have for years utilized a wide range of strategies to increase quality links, but too often overlook links generated from social media sites. Using data analytic research, find out what content is most popular and share that content across social media sites.
  2. Focus on quality, not quantity. Search engines are less concerned with the sheer number of followers you have on social media than the quality and influence of those followers. Focus on content that appeals to those more influential connections and measure results using tool like Klout, which will assign a specific score to each follower based on the extent of his influence.
  3. Accelerate page indexing. When more of your content is shared and linked to, search engines will index that page more quickly. For example, many tweets associated with specific content can cut in half the amount of time it takes for Google to index that page. Accelerating page indexing will improve your search rankings.
  4. Strategically incorporate keywords into social media posts. You probably know which keywords are most frequently used by people searching for your products and services. Be sure to incorporate these naturally into your social media posts.
  5. Update your social media content regularly. Search engines view fresh content on your website as more valuable and worthy of higher search rankings. This also holds true of your social media posts. Make sure biographies and profiles are kept up to date and post new, relevant content frequently to improve your rankings.


Increasingly, prudent social media strategy is about more than generating likes, shares, and tweets. It’s also about boosting search rankings and SEO. You can achieve higher search engine rankings by treating SEO and social media as part of a unified strategy. The goals of which include increasing the number and quality of incoming links, judiciously incorporating relevant keywords, and posting fresh and unique content.