Does Social Media Affect My Website’s Rankings?

For businesses looking to promote their products or services online in a cost-effective manner, social media can be an incredibly powerful tool. However, you may be wondering if there are any benefits to social media that go beyond the increases in website traffic and customer engagement. You may be asking “does social media affect my SEO?”

Let’s explore how social media can impact your website’s rankings, and how networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest can indirectly improve your SEO.

Links from social media are nofollow

First of all, it’s important to realize that the links to your website from posts made on social media networks are nofollow links — that is, they have a special HTML tag automatically assigned to them that keeps them from having any “weight.”

Normally, when one website links to another, that site is effectively telling search engines “I trust and endorse the website I’m linking.” But a nofollow link — which tells search engine spiders not to follow the link, or associate the two websites — says “I see value in linking this website, but I don’t necessarily endorse the content here.”

Social media websites nofollow their links for that reason. Since they don’t know what their users will be linking, they can’t endorse the content. They also do this because their page and domain authorities are so high that they would essentially be casting extremely powerful “votes” each time they linked to other websites, which could have a disastrous effect on search engine results. (Imagine how easily you could manipulate your rankings by simply spamming your homepage link on Twitter over and over!)

Social media activity has no direct impact on your rankings

Because social media links are nofollow, this means the links people share to your content or website can’t directly impact how well you rank in search engines.

However, Moz’s 2013 Search Engine Rankings Factors Survey & Correlation study showed Facebook and Google+ activity had a strong correlation with high page ranking:

social-factors

This doesn’t necessarily mean that sharing your content on Facebook and achieving a high number of +1s on Google+ will result in your content being ranked higher. However, this does show correlation between pages that have a high amount of activity on these two networks and pages with higher rankings. One didn’t necessarily cause the other, but they do go together.

What does this mean? What we know for certain is that social media activity can have an indirect impact on your website rankings and SEO. Here’s how.

Social media shares can lead to followed links

When you share your content on social media, you’re attempting to amplify it to a wider audience. Your goal may simply be to make your followers aware of something important on your site that you want them to read, or you may be advertising a brand new product or service. Either way, you’re trying to create awareness of something you have done.

Occasionally, when you share something on social media, someone may see it, look at it, and later link to it from their own website. This link will most likely be followed — that is, it will tell Google that they endorse you, and will cast a “vote” for your site that impacts your rankings.

It’s in this way that nofollow links on social media can turn into followed links from other websites. All you have to do is be in the right place at the right time.

Website engagement from social media links can impact ranking

If someone visits your website from a link and leaves after five seconds, it’s obvious they didn’t get what they wanted. But if someone visits your website from that same link and sticks around for five minutes, they probably felt pretty good about your content.

Think about this activity on a larger scale. Google does this all the time. If a very large majority of the people who visit your site leave immediately — that is, if your website’s bounce rate is very high — your rankings may suffer. Google uses the engagement metrics from users to determine how well you should rank, and that’s because it doesn’t want sites that most people dislike to dominate the search engine results.

The same applies to links shared on social media. If your content is shared on social media, and thousands of people “bounce” from it right away, your rankings may suffer. But if your engagement is high, you could actually see improvement. The same applies for links you share elsewhere, like on other websites.

More engagement = higher potential for SEO impact

To explain this as simply as possible, the more people you engage with on social media, the better your chances are for having something happen that impacts your search engine rankings.

The biggest possibility here, as explained above, is followed links. However, engagement from your followers or fans could also lead to you getting an idea for a new piece of content that ranks #1 and improves your entire site’s SEO as a result.

So while social media doesn’t directly impact how well you rank, we always recommend staying active on social media networks, and increasing the number of mentions and interactions you have, because there are enormous benefits. In the long run, social media can have an incredible indirect impact on your SEO, and it’s for that reason that we include it in our website grader tool.

Have any questions about social media, search engine optimization, or how to interpret your report? Feel free to reach out to us at any time and let us know!

Why is Anchor Text in Links So Important?

One of the factors on your report was the amount of links containing anchor text. If you don’t have a lot of these links, you may be wondering what anchor text is, and what makes it so important.

Let’s take a closer look at anchor text, and why it matters from both a user perspective and for SEO. We’ll also discuss some ways that you can acquire anchor text-rich links, which can help you improve your rankings and website authority.

What is anchor text?

Take a look at this link: click here!

In the case of the link above, “click here” is the anchor text. Anchor text is the text that makes up a link – basically, the text that is usually underlined and colored blue, on most websites, to signify that there’s a link in the middle of the content you’re reading.

Why is it called anchor text? Great question! In HTML (the code used to create webpages), a link has two “anchors” at each end, signified with an <a> symbol. That’s why the text between them is called “anchor text.”

Why is anchor text important to website visitors?

Anchor text in links tells visitors browsing through websites, pages, and pieces of content what links are, and what the destination pages (should) contain.

Anchor text like “click here” doesn’t really tell a visitor what that link leads to. It could lead to anything! But anchor text like “click here to read an article about the importance of anchor text” is highly specific, and tells you exactly what to expect when you click.

How does anchor text impact SEO?

As you may already know, the number of high quality links you have pointing to your website can have a big impact on its appearance in search engines. But the mere presence of these links on other websites isn’t all that impacts your ranking in search. Anchor text can affect it, too.

Anchor text doesn’t just give website visitors context – it gives search engines context, too. Basically, if someone links to your website using specific anchor text, they are voting for your website to rank for that anchor text.

Let’s say you were going to add a link to our website from yours. There are a couple ways you might do this:

  • A cool tool I found
  • A free website grader
  • Grade My Website
  • com

All four of these ways are basically casting a vote with Google (and other search engines), saying “this website should rank for this text.”

What do you think would happen if a hundred websites linked to us with the text “A free website grader”? That’s right: we’d probably rank #1 for that phrase!

Anchor text and link building

However, you should be cautious when trying to build links to your website that all have strong anchor text related to the keywords you want to rank for, or even for the name of your business. As search engines involve and their algorithms become more advanced, they’re able to pick up on unnatural behavior more easily.

If you acquire a lot of links, and they all contain the same anchor text, your site may start to look suspicious. Also, if those links didn’t come from very high quality websites, this could result in some penalties being applied to your site that actually hurt your ranking instead of helping it.

Google wants to see natural links with natural anchor text. When people link webpages naturally, they tend to do a mixture of the four examples we listed above. So when you are acquiring links, you should also aim for a healthy mixture – otherwise, you may run into problems.

We hope this page has helped you get a better idea of what anchor text and why it is important for both users and SEO! Have any more questions about anchor text, search engine optimization, or the report you received from us? Feel free to reach out to us at any time!

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