The question of whether social signals directly cause improvements in rankings is hotly debated online. Frequent studies show that there is a correlation between the two, but that does not necessarily suggest causation or that social signals directly influence rankings. Ranking well will naturally result in better social signals as site visibility is increased.
Just because you hit a certain number of tweets or social shares will not guarantee you rank higher in the SERPs. Many other factors determine ranking success. Will Critchlow’s blog post on SEOmoz discusses the possibility of improving rankings with social signals and suggests that although these may be correlated with better rankings, social signals do not necessarily cause them.
Critchlow uses an analogy to explain the difference. Illustrating that increased sales of ice-cream do no cause increased sales in suntan lotion, it is summer that is the causation. Similarly, with ranking, the causation is quality. If the page and site is of high quality, people will naturally link to it from authoritative sites and share it, creating greater social signals.
Things to consider when using social media to improve rankings:
• The freshness of the social signal
• The authority of the site mentioned
• The authority of the influencer/author
• The quality of site content
• The sharable nature of site content
• The quality of link profile
If you are wondering how you can improve your rankings and benefit from social media activities, find the right advice for your needs with our industry experts.
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