Social media marketing is great for branding and interacting with current and potential customers. But one of the biggest mysteries surrounding social media is whether or not it has an impact on SEO. If you’re actively tweeting, posting to Facebook and Google+, will you see a boost in your search engine rankings?

Google has stated in the past that social signals (tweets, +1’s, likes, etc.) are not a part of the algorithm used to determine search rankings. However, there have been studies that suggest otherwise. Most notably, Moz’s Search Ranking Factors survey. In the report, respondents agreed that page level social metrics do have some impact on rankings, just not very much.

moz search ranking factors 2015

So while social media may not have a significant direct impact on search rankings, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t help. There are some indirect ways that social media marketing can help improve your SEO that your business should be aware of.

Outreach Marketing

One of the most effective ways to earn natural backlinks from high quality and relevant websites is to reach out to influencers in your industry. This technique is called outreach marketing. A lot of companies rely on email to perform their outreach, but social media provides another great platform to reach out and connect with people in your industry. Once you start to develop a relationship, they’ll be more likely to share your content and link to your website. But it all starts with making that initial effort through social media.

Some tips to get started with outreach marketing through social media are:

  • Make a list of bloggers and influencers in your field. Include their social profiles and website in a spreadsheet
  • Start sharing content from their blog on social media, and don’t forget to tag them when you do
  • Comment and reply to their social media posts
  • Comment on their blog posts

As they start to share your content with their followers and on their website, you’ll earn some backlinks, which will directly impact your search results.

Content Discovery

If you’re having problems getting your content to show up in Google, then sharing it through Twitter, Google+, Facebook and other social media sites might help. Google constantly crawls these sites for fresh content, so if your content keeps showing up then it’ll have an easier time being found.

Increase Authority

Being seen as an authority in your industry is one of the best ways to secure higher search results. If your business is seen as an influencer or respected authority in your industry, Google will take that into account when it comes to search results.

This is because you’ll be seen as a more credible source for certain topics. For instance, you may notice that websites like WebMD and Mayo Clinic tend to rank highly for a lot of medical searches. That’s because Google sees these sites as highly credible in that field and gives them priority in the search results. The same thing happens for businesses. If your business is regarded as one of the best in the area, you’ll have a higher chance of showing up for different search terms.

In order to help you establish that authority, try to get more positive reviews on various sites, get mentioned in the press and spread the word about your company online.

Get Social

Those were just a few of the ways that social media helps your SEO. The most important thing to keep in mind is that social media marketing helps your business in general, so it’s a very wise investment. Start being more active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites your audience is on. As you build your following, you’ll start to reap the rewards of social media marketing for SEO.