Social signals are communicative and informative signals (likes, shares or comments) that usually come from social networks or blogs.
Social signals are feedbacks given by users through social media channels or blogs. This could be, for example, sharing or liking posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
They allow users to react immediately to the content of a page and are also becoming increasingly important from an SEO point of view.
In the field of search engine optimization, we talk about social signals when backlinks are generated through activities in social media channels – for example, by sharing a website on Facebook. Social signal analysis can also help characterizesocial proof, or the behavior of potential customers.
Social Signals and SEO
The extent to which social signals play an important role for search engine optimization and for the ranking of a website is still a matter of disagreement. While there are recurring Clues for Social Signals as a Ranking Factor . However, because Google does not affirm this, it is conjecture.
However, you can basically apply it as a component of the marketing mix in online marketing. Because not only do they potentially have a positive impact on rankings, but they can also have an impact on a brand’s reach.
Through likes and shares, new and interesting content can be spread within minutes and achieve a high reach. Anyone who invests in the social media sector today could prepare their websites well for the eventuality that social signals do become a ranking criterion.
Whether they represent a ranking factor or not, they can indicate to search engines such as Google how popular a website or how popular its content is. At the same time, shares and likes are an indicator for search trends and current topics.
In this context, it should not go unmentioned that tweets have been back in Google search results since May 2015. However, Google and Twitter are silent about how far this development has progressed.
Furthermore, it is possible to evaluate the traffic via social networks specifically with Google Analytics. It could therefore also be obvious that Google indirectly evaluates user data via social signals – such as dwell time or click-through rate, for example, in order to determine the quality of the content.
Effect on the ranking
To some extent, social signals affect rankings as an indicator of content quality – if the content is good, maybe one or two other blogs (or sites) will link to the content and thus generate a backlink. Accordingly, social media and social signals certainly seem to have an impact on a site’s ranking, and ultimately on traffic.
SEO experts therefore invest their energy in Facebook & Co. to use the social signals for their optimizations. Whether this really brings the desired effect, is unfortunately not confirmed.
According toseveral studies , social signals directly influence Google rankings. Proof is considered to be successful pages whose content Google rates as highly relevant and which have received many likes and shares via social media.
However, the question remains if these sites are not ranking well due to their content and lots of backlinks and the social signals have merely increased with the ranking. According to Google, it is not even possible to include them in the ranking because of the large amounts of data and the constantly changing profiles on Facebook and Co.
Social signals therefore have an effect on the ranking of a page, but can probably only be used directly for SEO measures to a limited extent. Thus, however, they are not completely useless for SEO. But you should see them for what they are: an indicator of a site’s reach.
While social signals are not a magic bullet in SEO, they can ensure greater business success – but only in combination with good content, activity on social media channels and other SEO measures.
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