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What is the Link between Social Signals and Your Search Ranking?

Posted By Guest Blogger 16th of June 2017 Blog Promotion 0 Comments


This is a guest post from Shane Barker

We all know that factors like backlinks, keywords, and bounce rates are important search ranking factors. But there’s still a lot of confusion about social signals, and their impact on a website’s ranking.

Reputable sources like Moz and Backlinko have reported that social signals are among the top Google ranking factors. While this is technically correct, it’s important to note that there is no direct impact of social signals on your ranking.

Google’s Stance on Social Signals as Ranking Factors

According to the previous head of Google’s Web Spam team, Matt Cutts, there may be a correlation between social signals and search ranking. But Google doesn’t use these signals as a direct ranking factor. This is mainly because there are several limitations that prevent the search engine from crawling and indexing social media content effectively.

Here’s how Matt explained it:

  • Limitations in Access – Matt stated that Google can’t always crawl every single page on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. And sometimes, they may even get blocked from crawling these sites. This prevents them from accurately ranking websites based on the performance of their social media pages (individual social media posts).
  • Limitations in Accuracy – Google may have limited abilities to extract accurate data from social profiles and pages. The data on these pages could change at any moment. For example, a user may change their employment information. This would then deem their previously-collected information inaccurate.Matt also stated that Google doesn’t use signals such as the number of social media followers for search ranking. This is again because of limitations in accuracy. A user’s following size could change at any moment. They may block another user, or gain several new followers at any time. And because Google cannot actively keep up with these changes, these numbers do not factor into search ranking.

Based on these statements made by Matt, you can see that there’s a good reason why Google doesn’t use social signals as a direct ranking factor. But again, that doesn’t mean that social signals have no impact on your search ranking. We’ll be talking about this in the next section.

Social Signals and Search Ranking: The Correlation

Another big question is whether there’s proof that social signals impact a website’s ranking in search. Cognitive SEO conducted an extensive study which found that a correlation actually does exist. They analyzed more than 300,000 pieces of content and their social signals.

What they found was that there is a correlation between having a strong social media presence and better search ranking. In other words, those who rank towards the top of the search results pages tend to also have a stronger presence on social media platforms.

What is the Link between Social Signals and Your Search Ranking?

Image Source: Cognitive SEO

There’s also a correlation between a high amount of shares on social media and a higher search ranking. In other words, pages that rank high in search results also tend to have a higher amount of overall shares. This is especially true in the case of Facebook and Google+, but not as much with Pinterest.

The Cognitive SEO study also found that, on average, the top 4 ranking positions normally have more activity on Facebook in terms of likes, shares, and comments. And the top rank has a significantly higher amount of Google+ shares. This suggests that activities on both Facebook and Google+ have a massive impact on search ranking. But activities on Pinterest and LinkedIn do not have the same correlation with search ranking.

What is the Link between Social Signals and Your Search Ranking?

Image Source: Cognitive SEO

Although there’s a disparity between how activities on various social media channels affect search ranking, you already know that your social media presence does affect your ranking. And this proves that there is an important correlation between social signals and a website’s search ranking.

Why the Correlation?

You may be wondering why the correlation between search ranking and social signals even exists. How could your presence or activity on social media possibly affect how you rank in search results?

The easiest way to explain it is that social signals could impact other aspects of your website or webpage, which could then result in better search ranking. Here are some of the possible ways that your social signals can impact your ranking:

  • Link Signals from Social Shares – You already know that link signals play a crucial role in search ranking. The quantity and quality of links to your website or webpage can directly affect your position in the search results pages. And social shares count as link signals. The more people who share your content across various social media channels, the better your ranking could be.
  • Impact on Site Traffic – Another important search ranking factor is website traffic. The more traffic you get, the higher you’ll rank. And with more activity on social media, the content you share could gain more visibility. Higher visibility also means that there’s a better chance of reaching more people, and getting them to click on your links.These click-throughs will result in a boost in your site traffic. This can then translate into better search ranking. Which suggests that social activity could significantly affect your position in search results.
  • Impact on Domain Authority – A high Domain Authority (DA) can also result in higher visibility in the search engines. Although there are many metrics that could determine a website’s DA, social signals could have some impact as well. For example, one of the metrics used for calculating DA is your link profile. And with social shares improving your link profile, there can be an indirect impact on your Domain Authority. Which, in turn, can impact your search ranking.

How to Improve Your Social Signals for Higher Ranking

The previous sections have established that there is a correlation between social signals and search ranking. Now let’s get to the most important part – what can you do to improve your social signals and boost your blog’s visibility.

Here are a few ideas:

#1: Use Relevant Keywords to Optimize your Profiles

The previously-cited Cognitive SEO study found that social media presence plays a major role in search ranking. But to improve your presence, you need to gain more followers. And to gain more followers, your profile needs to be more visible. In other words, you need to make sure potential followers can easily find you. And you can do so by using keywords to optimize your profiles.

If you look at the top results for the keyword “food blogger,” on Twitter, you’ll find that most of the accounts have optimized their bios with relevant keywords. As you can see in the following screenshot, these profiles all have the word “food” in their bios. And most of them also include the word “blog,” “blogger,” or “blogging.”

What is the Link between Social Signals and Your Search Ranking?

Pick a keyword relevant to your niche – whether it’s technology, politics, finance, travel, or fashion. Then use that keyword to optimize your social media bios and descriptions. This can improve your chances of getting discovered by potential and relevant followers.

#2: Create Share-Worthy Content

If you produce good content, and have enough followers, there’s a good chance you’re going to generate a lot of social shares. You may already be writing useful and engaging content. But there’s always room for improvement. You need to create content that is not only helpful to your audience, but also captivating.

Get your existing subscribers involved to determine what they like to read. You could conduct a poll, and ask them what they’d like to see more of on your blog.

For example, maybe they want you to produce more how-to articles, and less list articles. Or maybe they’d like you to cover certain topics that you hadn’t thought of before. Either way, this can help you understand what your audience is looking for, so you can create content to meet those needs.

In addition to this, you could also research trending topics and popular articles in your niche. BuzzSumo is an effective tool for this. Using this tool, you can find out which topics are performing well recently. And you can also find your competitors’ most popular articles.

This will help you with new content ideas. Perhaps you can write a more detailed and more helpful piece on the same topic one of your competitors covered. Or you could repurpose an article into visual content.

As you can see in the screenshot below, you can find the most shared content or articles that are currently trending. You can also filter the results based on the content type, date of posting, etc. This can help you jump in on a trending conversation, or create valuable, evergreen content to engage your audience.

What is the Link between Social Signals and Your Search Ranking?

#3: Use Relevant Keywords to Optimize Your Posts

In addition to optimizing your social media profiles with relevant keywords, you should also use them to optimize your social media posts. The goal is to make sure that your content is easy to discover by relevant social media users.

You can use the keywords in the captions and titles of your posts. And you can also use them as hashtags to further improve the post’s discoverability.

For example, if you search for the keyword, “money saving,” on Facebook, the top search results will be posts that include the keyword. As you can see in the screenshot below, one of the top search results has used the keyword. This post has about 22,000 likes, 200+ comments, and about 1.6 million views.

What is the Link between Social Signals and Your Search Ranking?

#4: Include a Call-to-Action

When you share a blog post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform; you’re doing so in order to get people to click on it. You want them to visit your blog, and read the post.

Some people may click on the link without any additional incentive. But there’s no harm in giving them a gentle nudge. To do so, include a call-to-action to tell people what you want them to do.

Maybe you could encourage users to, “try this easy recipe,” or “use these tricks to save more money.” Or you can make it even shorter by using CTAs like, “check it out,” or “click here.” In addition to encouraging clicks, you can also write CTAs that encourage more shares, likes, and comments on your post.

The following Facebook post by Digital Photography School is an excellent example. It doesn’t just invite people to click on the link to read the tips. Instead, the caption asks whether people have tried what the article is talking about.

The article provides readers with tips on how to capture photos of bursting bubbles. And then the caption encourages people to show their best results. This makes for an excellent CTA, as it is indirectly encouraging people to try out the tips.

What is the Link between Social Signals and Your Search Ranking?

#5: Include Images in Your Social Media Posts

Images immediately grab attention, especially on social media. People may aimlessly scroll through their news feeds, but seeing an eye-catching image could make them linger on the post longer. And this could improve your chances of driving click-throughs. Even if some users do not click on the accompanying link, it still improves your chances of driving more engagement.

Neil Patel discovered the importance of images on social media when he experienced improvements in his traffic. Neil regularly shared the latest Quick Sprout blog posts on Twitter, which would normally just include the article headline, and a link to the post. But once he started adding images with a link to the new blog post, he saw that his traffic from Twitter increased by 108%.

What is the Link between Social Signals and Your Search Ranking?

Image Source: Quick Sprout

So instead of relying on the automatic preview, accompany your posts with a relevant image. For infographics or studies, you can even include a photo that will give people a brief idea what they can find learn from the post.

The screenshot below shows a Twitter post in which the user shares a link to healthy food for busy people. She has included a photo of one of the dishes to attract a larger audience.

What is the Link between Social Signals and Your Search Ranking?


We’ve thoroughly discussed the correlation between social signals and search ranking. Now you understand the actual impact of your social media marketing efforts on your blog’s ranking. And you also know exactly what to do to improve your performance. But if you have any doubts or questions, feel free to share them in the comments below.

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. Hi Shane,

    Images are a real difference maker. When I use images on social, as I share posts, I get more clicks and drive more traffic. Of course this is easy to do with the featured image option in the WP backoffice but it underscores the fact that folks on social love eye candy.

    I don’t get why many SEO obsessed bloggers would look over social if they don’t buy into social signals influencing search ranking. Who cares? Really, social media usage Google proofs your blog, helping you drive lasting traffic because if you engage actively on Facebook and Twitter, and share other people’s content, you will have few issues gaining their trust and adding subscribers to your email list.

    Just be diligent on social media. Create value. Add eye-popping images. Comment on other user’s updates. Like or RT their updates. Using social to build your blog creates a strong, targeted stream of organic traffic. No brainer for anybody who wants Google traffic, social media traffic and heck, any traffic.

    Thanks for sharing :)


  2. I’d love to see more research into this – while I don’t necessarily disagree that there’s a correlation between social signals and rankings, I am not sure I buy into direct causation. Through my own experience I don’t believe social shares themselves as signals have much impact in Google’s algorithm as IMO they can be manipulated much more easily than getting backlinks from multiple high authority websites. Additionally, while CTR may have some impact on rankings, I don’t see how Google would see CTR from a link that’s shared via social unless a site is using Google Analytics (as opposed to some other analytics software).

    With that said, I think social shares play an indirect part in causing a boost in rankings. An article that’s getting real social shares is probably achieving higher visibility –> more visibility leads to more awareness –> greater awareness leads to a higher probability of achieving organic links that Google does value going to the page/post being shared.

  3. HI Shane,

    Great tips and it definitely goes to show the importance of using Social Media. For some reason when I started my blog, I avoided it like the plague. I guess I just didn’t want to learn how to use something new.

    However, after reading this it’s nice to know that the time I spend learning how to use social media with my blog is not a waste of time. It’s also nice to know that Pinterest doesn’t really play a huge factor in rankings.

    Right now I am focused on learning Facebook to drive traffic to my blog. It’s my biggest traffic referrer but also the most confusing one (for me anyway.)

    Totally agree about using images with your blog posts. I always make the time to create images for the different platforms to share with my blog post. The great thing is that I am using the Social Warfare plugin and it has a spot for images for the different platforms.

    This makes it easy to set up images so when someone shares my blog post that image gets shared to the network. WordPress also has a featured image for the post, I love using this feature so that my images get shared right on my blog.

    I personally think this makes it friendly for visitors who come to my blog to see images, not just content.

    Thanks for sharing these tips, now I need to improve my social media marketing so it can help me grow my blog.

    Have a great day :)


    • Thanks for the feedback, Susan. I’m really glad you found it helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions, or if there’s anything I can do to help while you work on growing your social media presence.

  4. Great Post !!!
    Mr.Shane You’ve done a high quality job.I read this article & really enjoyed reading this post.Very useful and informative article you have been provided to us on google.Thanks for sharing such a article and sharing your knowledge with your users.

  5. Hello Shane,

    Thanks for this great post. Social Media does not have any direct impact on your search engine rankings. But some people correlate it. Social media helps to increase your brand value and also help you to increase networking. Thanks again for this informative post.

  6. Hey Shane,

    Those are awesome points! Someone with a very good social presence is going to get a lot of clicks on their content. This leads to a traffic boost.

    In addition, since it is easy to spread content (more eyeballs) with a strong social presence, people can easily link to it (it is this way for me – whenever I look for a reference to my post, I first remember the ones I recently saw on Twitter or Google+). This leads to backlink boost.

    So yes there certainly is a correlation!

    Love your points about how to make this happen! After all not all content is going to go viral on social media and going to be linked by other bloggers. It has to be unique, share-worthy and useful!


  7. Scantily Dad says: 06/19/2017 at 8:55 pm

    This is great Shane. Thanks for the insight. I always wondered about the correlation between search ranking and social influence.

  8. Hey Shane,

    Great Post!!! Very Impressive

  9. Reader book says: 06/20/2017 at 8:53 pm

    wired. google blogspot does not work for me at all :)

  10. AOne Trainings says: 06/20/2017 at 10:10 pm

    Sap abap over view
    ABAP remains for Advanced Business Application Programming, a 4GL (fourth era) dialect. As of now it is situated, alongside Java, as the primary dialect for SAP application server programming.
    Free live video in sap abap click me
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    We should begin with the abnormal state design of SAP framework. The 3-level Client/Server design of an ordinary SAP framework is delineated as takes after.

    3-level Client/Server Architecture

    The Presentation layer comprises of any info gadget that can be utilized to control SAP framework. This could be a web program, a cell phone et cetera. All the focal handling happens in Application server. The Application server is not only one framework in itself, but rather it can be different occasions of the handling framework. The server speaks with the Database layer that is normally continued a different server, fundamentally for execution reasons and furthermore for security. Correspondence occurs between each layer of the framework, from the Presentation layer to the Database and afterward go down the chain.

    Note − ABAP programs keep running at the application server level. Specialized circulation of programming is autonomous of its physical area. It implies fundamentally every one of the three levels can be introduced on top of each other on one PC or each level can be introduced on an alternate PC or a server.

    ABAP programs live inside the SAP database. They execute under the control of the runtime framework that is a piece of the SAP bit. The run-time framework forms all ABAP proclamations, controlling the stream rationale and reacting to client occasions.

    Along these lines, dissimilar to C++ and Java, ABAP programs are not put away in partitioned outside records. Inside the database, ABAP code exists in two structures −

    Source code that can be seen and altered with the ABAP workbench apparatuses.
    Created code, which is a double portrayal. In the event that you know about Java, this produced code is to some degree similar with Java byte code.

    The run-time framework can be considered as a virtual machine, only like Java virtual machine. A key part of the ABAP run-time framework is the database interface that turns database autonomous proclamations (Open SQL) into the announcements comprehended by the basic database (Native SQL). SAP can work with a wide assortment of databases and the same ABAP program can keep running on those.

    1. SAP ABAP – Environment

    Reports are a decent beginning stage for acclimating yourself with general ABAP standards and instruments. ABAP reports are utilized as a part of numerous regions. In this part, we will perceive that it is so natural to compose a straightforward ABAP Report.

    Hi ABAP

    How about we begin with the basic “Hi World” case.

    Each ABAP articulation begins with an ABAP watchword and finishes with a period. Watchwords must be isolated by no less than one space. It doesn’t make a difference regardless of whether you utilize one or a few lines for an ABAP proclamation.

    You have to enter your code utilizing the ABAP Editor that is a piece of ABAP Tools conveyed with the SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP (otherwise called ‘AS ABAP’).

    ‘AS ABAP’ is an application server with its own particular database, ABAP run-time condition, and ABAP advancement devices, for example, ABAP Editor. The AS ABAP offers an improvement stage that is autonomous of equipment, working framework, and database.

    Utilizing the ABAP Editor

    Step 1 − Start the exchange SE38 to explore to the ABAP Editor (talked about in the following part). How about we begin making a report that is one of the numerous ABAP objects.

    Step 2 − On the underlying screen of the supervisor, determine the name of your report in the information field PROGRAM. You may determine the name as ZHELLO1. The first Z is critical for the name. Z guarantees that your report dwells in the client namespace.

    The client namespace incorporates all articles with the prefix Y or Z. It is constantly utilized when clients or accomplices make objects (like an answer) to separate these articles from objects of SAP and to avoid name clashes with objects.

    Step 3 − You may sort the report name in bring down case letters, yet the supervisor will transform it to capitalized. So the names of ABAP objects are “Not” case touchy.

    Step 4 − After indicating the name of the report, tap the CREATE catch. A popup window ABAP: PROGRAM ATTRIBUTES will fly up and you will give more data about your report.

    Step 5 − Choose “Executable Program” as the report sort, enter the title “My First ABAP Report” and after that select SAVE to proceed. The CREATE OBJECT DIRECTORY ENTRY window will fly up next. Select the catch LOCAL OBJECT and the popup will close.

    You can finish your first report by entering the WRITE explanation beneath the REPORT proclamation, so that the entire report contains only two lines as takes after −


    Compose ‘Hi World’.

    Beginning the Report

    We can utilize the console (Ctrl + S) or the spare symbol (right hand side close to the order field) to spare the report. ABAP improvement happens in AS ABAP.

    Beginning the report is as straightforward as sparing it. Tap the ACTIVATION catch (left hand side by the begin symbol) and begin the report by utilizing the symbol DIRECT PROCESSING or the F8 work key. The title “My First ABAP Report” alongside the yield “Hi World” is shown too. Here is the yield −

    My First ABAP Report

    Hi World

    For whatever length of time that you don’t enact another report or initiate a change to a current report, it is not applicable to their clients. This is vital in a focal advancement condition where you may deal with objects that different engineers use in their tasks.

    Review the Existing Code

    On the off chance that you take a gander at the field Program and double tap on the esteem ZHELLO1, the ABAP manager will show the code for your report. This is called Forward Navigation. Double tapping on a question’s name opens that protest in the proper apparatus.

    SAP ABAP – Screen Navigation

    So as to comprehend SAP ABAP, you need essential information of screens like Login, ABAP Editor, Logout et cetera. This section concentrates on screen route and the standard toolbar usefulness.

    Login Screen

    After you sign on to SAP server, SAP login screen will provoke for User ID and Password. You have to give a legitimate client ID and Password and press Enter (the client id and secret key is given by framework head). Taking after is the login screen.

    SAP Login Screen

    Toolbar Icon

    Taking after is the SAP screen toolbar.

    SAP Screen Toolbar

    Menu Bar − Menu bar is the top line of discourse window.

    Standard Toolbar − Most standard capacities, for example, Top of Page, End of Page, Page Up, Page Down and Save are accessible in this toolbar.

    Title Bar − Title Bar shows the name of the application/business prepare you are as of now in.

    Application Toolbar − Application particular menu choices are accessible here.

    Charge Field − We can begin an application without exploring through the menu exchanges and some intelligent codes are alloted to business forms. Exchange codes are entered in the order field to specifically begin the application.

    ABAP Editor

    You may simply begin the exchange SE38 (enter SE38 in Command Field) to explore to the ABAP Editor.

    ABAP Editor

    Standard Keys and Icons

    Exit keys are utilized to leave the program/module or to log off. They are likewise used to backpedal to the last got to screen.

    Taking after are the standard exit keys utilized as a part of SAP as appeared in the picture.

    Standard Keys Icons

    Taking after are the alternatives for checking, enacting and handling the reports.

    Initiating and Processing Reports

    Log Off

    It’s dependably a decent practice to Exit from your ABAP Editor or/and logoff from the SAP framework in the wake of completing your work.

    ABAP Editor Logoff

    SAP ABAP – Basic Syntax


    ABAP source program comprises of remarks and ABAP articulations. Each announcement in ABAP starts with a catchphrase and closures with a period, and ABAP is “Not” case touchy.

    The primary non-remark line in a program starts with the word REPORT. The Report will dependably be the principal line of any executable program made. The announcement is trailed by the program name which was made beforehand. The line is then ended with a full stop.

    The language structure is −

    REPORT [Program_Name].

    [Statements… ].

    This enables the announcement to take up the same number of lines in the editorial manager as it needs. For instance, the REPORT may resemble this −

    REPORT Z_Test123_01.

    Articulations comprise of a charge and any factors and choices, finishing with a period. For whatever length of time that the period shows up toward the finish of the announcement, no issues will emerge. It is this period that imprints where the announcement wraps up.

    How about we compose the code.

    Hanging in the balance beneath the REPORT articulation, simply sort this announcement: Write ‘ABAP Tutorial’.

    REPORT Z_Test123_01.

    Compose ‘This is ABAP Tutorial’.

    Four things to consider while composing proclamations −

    The compose proclamation composes whatever is in quotes to the yield window.

    The ABAP editorial manager changes over all content to capitalized with the exception of content strings, which are encompassed by single quotes.

    Dissimilar to some more seasoned programming dialects, ABAP does not mind where an announcement starts on a line. You may exploit this and enhance the decipherability of your program by utilizing space to demonstrate squares of code.

    ABAP has no confinements on the format of explanations. That is, different articulations can be put on a solitary line, or a solitary proclamation may extend over numerous lines.

    Colon Notation

    Back to back proclamations can be anchored together if the start of every announcement is indistinguishable. This is finished with the colon (:) administrator and commas, which are utilized to end the individual explanations, much as periods end typical articulations.

    Taking after is a case of a program that could spare some key stroking −

    Compose ‘Hi’.

    Compose ‘ABAP’.

    Compose ‘World’.

    Utilizing the colon documentation, it could be reworked along these lines −

    Compose: ‘Hi’,



    Like some other ABAP articulation, the design doesn’t make a difference. This is an equall

  11. Sabbu Karki says: 06/21/2017 at 2:24 pm

    Thank you Shane for sharing such informative article with us. After reading this post i got tips that we need to keep in mind while trying to improve a ranking for our sites through social media.

  12. Odisha Samaya says: 06/21/2017 at 7:32 pm

    Nice article. Good informative for all. keep it up & thanks for sharing with us.

  13. Hey Shane,

    Social signals are one of the main ranking factors as mentioned above. Have good social presence presence can boost ranking and give you great business. I find your points very useful and would surely implement them in my social media posts. Thanks for sharing.

  14. very informative post , and yeah conducting a social post as to what the subscribers want to read is really very helpful…
    thanks for sharing !!

  15. pullareddy says: 06/29/2017 at 4:55 pm

    Unique Article. Thanks for sharing

  16. Hello Sir,

    Thanks Sharing information for link between with social single search raking in this use of important tips you will give in your post. user read your post and used your tips.

    Thank You.

  17. Nicely written article! Good ol’ Neil Patel.

  18. Good article, thanks Also it good to acknowledge what we don’t know. Google isn’t likely too share every algorithm detail. It is clear to me that registrations on Twitter make a difference to rankings but RTs don’t seem to do much. If I take a break from Twitter, hits drop. General presence seems to be the key. if ii have the time to be conversational, my blog fares better. I spread announcements across Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram. More than that and i start to wear a bit thin. I’m trying “within text” links on my blog and links to previous posts. That I think is one of the most important improvements. =:))

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