If you’re like most small business owners, you probably have plenty of questions about the benefits of social media, and maybe even how it crosses over to your search engine rankings. We know social media can help you attract new customers to your business, but today we’ll discuss how it can also boost your search engine rankings.

Spend 4 minutes watching the video, or read on for the tips!

Though Google has stated in the past that social media signals don’t have a direct impact on search rankings, research by HubSpot and experiments conducted by Hootsuite tell a different story. They found a clear correlation between social media and search engine rankings – especially with content that is shared extensively across social channels.

So even though social media signals such as likes and comments don’t have a direct impact on your rankings, they do affect your SEO efforts in five main ways:

#1 Increased Online Visibility

On a very basic level, high quality content which is shared widely across social media is seen by more people.

The more it’s shared and the more it’s seen, the more likely it is to gain that other websites will link to your content.

Think of how a single infographic can be referenced on many blogs. By sharing an infographic on social media, other people see it and write about it – especially if you have unique statistics or a fresh angle. When your infographic is included in someone else’s blog, they generally link to your website, giving you credit for the information.

That’s called a backlink. When Google sees a number of backlinks to your site, it amps up your credibility and boosts your ranking.

#2 More Traffic to Your Website

People can’t visit a website they don’t know about, so social media is an important way to let users know that kind of content your site has.

When social media platforms send visitors to your website, there’s a good chance that Google will read this as a signal that your website is authoritative, and again give you a boost in rankings.

Bonus: once people are on your website, you have an opportunity to capture their information and market directly to them.

#3 Increased Brand Recognition

You might have noticed that your social media profiles can sometimes rank above your website in search engine results. This often happens to newer businesses and websites, leading to people finding their Facebook or LinkedIn business page first.

Don’t think of this as negative – in fact it means that people are often introduced to your brand in a more personal and engaging way.

Having multiple social media profiles is a powerful way to increase brand recognition. Just make sure all your social profiles include a link back to your website!

You may have noticed that Google has started sharing something called a Snippet at the top of many search queries. This is Google’s effort to answer questions themselves.

Snippets are considered position 0 in Google’s ranking system, which means they appear even before all the ads do, and thus expose you to a whole lot of people.

If Google sees that a couple lines from your blog can answer a search query – and that there a whole lot of people visiting your blog to read that answer – you very well may find your content at the top of the page in a snippet.

Content that performs well on social media can prompt search engines to crawl, index, and ultimately rank your website faster.

Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are powerful networks that Google crawls regularly, which you can use as a tactic to improve your site’s indexation rate.

And don’t forget that sites like Reddit and Quora are other great avenues to gain exposure and drive traffic!

Looking for more ways to step up your search game? Jump in on my challenge and you’ll get actionable ways to improve your search ranking every day for the next two weeks.