Does Google Care About Social Media?
After being in the digital marketing industry for the last six years, I’ve heard many different opinions about social media—whether it’s a factor in Google’s algorithm and to what extent. So does Google care about social media? Short answer: yes. But it’s a little more nuanced than that, so read on.
What does matter
There’s really only one aspect of social media that matters in Google search engine rankings, and that’s social shares. Social shares are when someone shares a link to your content. On social, this can look like a share on Facebook, a +1 on Google, a retweet on Twitter, etc. A share is the one social media characteristic that impacts your Google rankings.
When others are sharing your content, it has positive ramifications for you. Think about this action the same way you would think about link building: a share is essentially a “vote” for your content. And, although Google’s algorithm is a secret, they’ve shared that link building is the best thing you can do to increase your site’s rankings. That share is essentially letting Google know that your content is trustworthy, useful, and relevant.
What doesn’t matter
Contrary to popular opinion, likes and followers do not impact Google rankings at all. Now, I’m not saying you should ignore these aspects of social media—it does stand to reason that the more followers you have, the more chances you have that your content will be shared. But having 12,000 followers on Facebook vs. 200 will not directly impact your search engine rankings.
Focus on quality over quantity
This new information about Google’s recognition of social “signals” is a good reason for you to examine your social media strategy. Don’t try to get as many likes and follows as you can. Instead, focus on getting the right visitors to your social sites. Focus on getting people who will be brand advocates for you and will share your content. Because it’s better to have 200 followers who share your content than 12,000 followers who ignore you or block you from their news feeds.
Part of this quality over quantity mantra has to cover your posts too, not just your followers. Because if you’re posting good quality content (instead of a good quantity of posts), you’re more likely to attract quality followers as well. Keep this concept in mind every time you approach social media.
If one of your marketing goals is to drive traffic to your site, it’s important to know where to spend your money. Knowing what is most influential to your overall goals, and isn’t just hype, will help you make smarter decisions concerning your marketing impact. Stay informed on the things that impact your digital strategy, including social media and any new fads, and make intentional decisions for the best outcomes.
About the author
I'm Autumn Nicholson, Director of Internet Marketing. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and took the first editing job I could find, at a marketing company in South Carolina. I joined Farmore Marketing in 2014 to put my internet marketing experience to good use—and to spend more time on the beach. I invest much of my time volunteering for nonprofits, reading, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. You can connect with me here: