Stop the Social Media, SEO Madness

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:: Travis Bliffen, Seo Proz ::

Are you one of the many companies that cringe at the thought of having to use social media in order to gain rankings for your website? Not every business has breaking news to share and that is OK. Sure, social media is now a ranking factor, but it is only one factor. Those of you who are losing sleep over your social media presence, or lack thereof, just need to relax and spend some of those waking hours learning what really matters for keyword rankings. If you are not sure where to start, here is an article that busts some common backlink building myths.

So You’re Telling Me Social Media Doesn’t Matter?

Not so fast sparky, I am telling you that social media is only one of the 200-plus ranking factors known to be taken into consideration by search engines. Society as a whole has the tendency to obsess over a single item and for months, it may be all anyone is talking about online. Content marketing anyone? Content marketing has been at work for years now, but for some reason 2012 became the year a buzzword was attached to the process and now you can hardly conduct a search about SEO without hearing it. Social media is falling into the same category and for some reason, everyone has gone mad, quickly creating social accounts and posting everything they read. While social media is a great tool and can help you with lead generation, building relationships, or meeting industry thought leaders, it is not the end all, be all, of search engine rankings.

How can Social Media Help with Rankings?

Sorry to disappoint, but social media is not really a mystical or magical solution to online marketing. There are three very distinct ways that social media can help with your SEO efforts.

1. One of Google’s ranking factors takes “freshness” of a topic into consideration. Preliminary studies have shown that social sharing can trigger this ranking factor and give you a temporary boost in the SERPs.

2. Internet users are visual beings. Many social media sites such as Facebook and Pinterest give you an easy way to share large visual images and info-graphics.  If you embed links into images and they are shared from social sites to blogs or other websites, you can gain natural back links.

3. Social media sites have been proven to increase the speed at which new pages on your website are indexed, although posting your URL on Craigslist will yield a very similar result.

There you have it, the trending topic of 2013 broken down into three simple effects. As you can see, social media is not a magical solution to online rankings nor is it the only place you need to advertise online. In my experience, I have run across several business owners who believe they do not need a website since they are using Facebook. To that I say, anyone remember MySpace? What are your thoughts on using social as the only marketing channel?

Travis Bliffen is the founder of The Seo Proz a search marketing company located near Marion, IL. After working in the industry under the guidance of other search-marketing professionals, he launched The SEO Proz in early 2012. Since then he has worked with numerous local, national and international clients to improve their search rankings.

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ErikB 06-28-2013 7:01 PM

Great article very informative spent money on vocus marketing and have been very disappointed!

KimberlyM 06-28-2013 8:14 PM

I actually believed social was a least a bit overrated as the make or break.

Travis B 06-28-2013 8:50 PM

Admin: Sorry to hear you wasted money on Vocus! Remember, search engine marketing is based upon meeting hundreds of factors, not just a few so be wary of the "silver bullet" many companies try to sell you!.

Kimberly, wise of you to realize that social is a little more hype than help at this point.

Thanks for the feedback guys!


Seo Proz

Gracious Store 06-30-2013 5:20 PM

I share your opinion that brands should not lose sleep over their social media participation. They simply have to do what they just have to do.

Kenneth Glick (EEI) 07-01-2013 2:03 PM

Thank you for validating my belief that social media is not the be-all and end-all of online marketing like so many SEO pundits claim it is!

Just recently my boss expressed her desire to dramatically ramp up our company's social media campaign and I suggested that we instead focus on resurrecting our newsletters as a way of interacting with our existing customer base instead of worrying about Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. As of today, I'm still waiting on her decision.

Does putting out a monthly newsletter count as social media marketing?

ChrisS 07-02-2013 7:14 AM

Expectations are definitely inflated with social lately. It's easy to forget that people are there to socialize, not to buy.

CodyJ 07-02-2013 3:18 PM

I've seen two other articles stating the exact opposite today.  Those one's were sourceless, though.

Web Design Firm 07-12-2013 4:54 AM

Travis I agree. The time and effort put into social media may be better spent on other seo activities.

StaceyM 07-29-2013 4:42 PM


I am interested in hearing about your experience with Vocus - I'd be happy to help get you back on track! Please email me if you'd like to chat: smiller(at)vocus(dot)com.

Stacey Miller

Social Media Manager at Vocus

Failure of hard drive 01-26-2015 5:03 PM

Social media is good for a source of traffic in of itself, independent of the search engines. Setting up a Facebook page and getting enough likes, will ensure that your website goes viral, attract a regular day in, day out audience.

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