September 30, 2016
One of the biggest hypothesis or speculation, confusion and contention in the SEO world over the past few years is that whether the social signals have impact on organic search rankings.
If Google is not directly using the social share count in their search algorithm, there has to some different way in which social shares and organic rankings are connected.
If you have done any SEO at all you will notice that stories or articles that rank well tend to have higher social share counts. So why do top performing posts have high social shares? What is the correlation between them?
Some SEO’s said that Google is considering social share factor count in its algorithm like links( although not the same amount of weight).
Although Google repeatedly said that it does not use facebook, twitter or any other social share counts as a direct ranking factor in its algorithm, there are many secondary benefits of social sharing in SEO.
So, we need a different approach to answer the question how does social shares and ranking correlate?
Actually its not shares, its engagement
May be we are looking at wrong social metrics. We should be looking on total social engagement rates rather than just the total number of shares.
Social engagement rate is the percentage of unique people who saw your update, clicked on it and/or shared it.
Possibly the social posts which have high engagement rates (leads to high number of shares) are the same content that gets above average click through rates in organic search result pages which tend to have higher organic ranking.
Through a study it was found that correlation exists between social engagement rates and organic CTRs.
This correlation was much more stronger for the excellent content. An excellent content with high social engagement have higher CTRs and vice versa. The correlation was substantially weaker for not so good content. The results were fluctuating, sometimes higher engagement rates, sometimes lower engagement rates. The same was with CTR, some high some low.
So, its all about how engaging your content is. To get higher CTR for your site consult seo companies in mumbai.
Now a question arises that what is causing this correlation? One thing is certain that relationship between social engagement and organic click through rate is a co-dependent, causal relationship.
The answer is Machine learning.It actually reward high engagement with high visibility which means higher organic rankings and more social shares.
To check for success, an algorithm looks at whether users engaged. If more people engage, its a clear sign that their algorithm is showing this correct and relevant content, if not, their systems will audit other content instead, that generate that interest.
Here is diagram of showing simplified look at the role machine learning systems play in the Facebook news feed and Google search results. Fundamentally, it is all about rewarding content that has above-expected engagement:
When a piece of content fails to get that engagement, it won’t get same visibility whether its Facebook or Google or any other system that determines user engagement.
Whenever a search is made on Google, Google wants to show the best results and it must find most useful and relevant result.
One way Google checks itself is to look at organic click-through rate. Did users click on the result in Position 1, or else more people click on the Position 2 or 3 result?
CTR provides huge clue to Google that is it providing the best results in correct order.
Now think about Facebook, whenever a piece of content is gets viral means lot of people are talking about it than the number of people who see it, in a short period of time.
Whenever this happens, tons of people liking, commenting, and sharing a post. Facebook's machine learning algorithm gives these topics or posts greater visibility. Thus, it becomes a virtuous cycle:
Post gets lot of engagement(shares,comments)
Facebook rewards it by showing to more users
Greater Visibility means post getting more user engagement
Again showing it to more users and so on until a new content comes up.
What you can do?
Turn your best social stuff into your organic content and vice versa.
Since the content that does well on organic social tends to also do well in paid social, which indicates that your content that gets top organic rankings will make great content for paid and organic social.
Conversely, your content that gets remarkable engagement on social media platforms (paid and organic) will likely get higher organic ranks for the topics that they cover.
Therefore, its not the number of shares that matter, rather its about engagement rates.
Significantly high social engagement rates correlate strongly with high organic search CTR, which correlates with high rankings.
What is actually happening is that Facebook ads, news feed algorithm, Google adwords and increasingly Google organic search are governed by machine learning systems that reward incredible engagement with greater visibility.