A simple question that always roams around an SEO learner’s mind is how social media engagement of posts, user engagement metric of a website and google page ranking algorithm are related? Do social media engagement of posts and user engagement metric of a website increase ranking in Google SERPs?
I am looking forward to resolving all these types of social media engagement questions in this article. You can also see this article in the context of the value of links for search engines like Google.
Answering this question I would say probably not. I don’t think the google page ranking algorithm includes the social media engagement rate as a ranking signal. We have also seen an old link building strategy, “social bookmarking” being not a significant technique to increase a website ranking.
Social engagements such as likes and shares are less significant. This is because liking and sharing a post needs very little effort. Therefore, there are chances that most of the time users share it without assessing its quality. Hence these signals are less reliable for search engines because they had to go through billions of pages for a single query.
The following are some reasons that consolidate this fact.
Social media platforms and search engines are competitors of each other. They both are advertising companies. So why would they like to share their data if they are competing for the same thing? Let’s take the example of Google and Facebook, they both are advertising companies and want to attract the same group of customers. They both want to be better than the other to attract customers.
Social Media Engagement of posts is less reliable
Another one of the biggest reason is social media engagements like, ” like”, “share” are less reliable. They can not be sufficient in determining the quality of content. Even social media platforms are reluctant in using them as quality rater of contents.
There are such programs available over the internet that can increase the “like and share” count on platforms like Facebook. It surprised me. I found one of my friends increasing his facebook like and share count on his own picture using that program.
Social media engagement of posts is less reliable also because of the following reason.
Less authoritative means users do not have to do much effort in sharing and liking a post. Let’s compare social media engagement metrics and links in this context. Whenever a website gains a link from any other website, the website’s author who is pointing to the linked site must have gone deeply through the linked content. He must have found linked content worth enough to recommend his readers. Now in another situation where a reader just invested a few minutes reading a post and shared the content.
Comparing these two situations one can easily say links carry more value when compared with social media engagement of posts. Also, one thing that should be noted here is the link is created by a person who owns the linking website. And he must be willing to provide the best content to his readers. Therefore he will surely link to deserving content. Because he also wants his site to rank well so his main focus would be to increase user experience and give clues to crawler about his content too.
One more comparison I would like to have here between the authority of links and social media engagement of posts. If you consider, on social media contents floats for a few minutes, sometimes even for a few seconds. In those few minutes, the user decides whether to share it or like it. But if we consider links they are static in nature. They remain embedded in the content till content lives.
Therefore if the user visiting the page in which link is embedded and if that page is authoritative, it means links on it are quality links. Here the user gets enough time to judge the linked content. Hence once again a static link is a winner over social media engagement metric in this scenario also
But one way in which social media engagement of posts can benefit SEOs is it can refer traffic their websites. And if that website has high-quality contents then referred users can turn up to regular readers of the blog. Here one more question arises can user engagement metrics of websites be used to rank?
One can say if we are not taking social media engagement of posts then why not to rank on a referral basis. Here I am talking about the User engagement metric of websites.
User Engagement metrics of websites to rank them
Google is using the user engagement metric of websites in ranking them as much as possible through machine learning. But Google is not able to apply it entirely. The problem is it is difficult to analyze and apply user engagement data to rate the quality of content. The result that came out is messier. Therefore the machine learning program needs to be improved a lot before google can rely on it.
Therefore in comparison with links as a quality rater, we find that links are a far better factor. This is the main reason why links are one of the top-ranking factors from the beginning. For user engagement metrics we can say there has to be improved more to be effective.
We have discussed a lot more about the social media engagement of posts. Also about user engagement metrics of websites to rank them. But we find that nothing is more significant than links as a ranking factor. This is the sole reason why Google is still in spite of a lot of link building spams giving importance to links.
After reading this article we can say that the future of white hat link building is very bright. Search engines are bound to use links as quality raters because of their more advantages than disadvantages.
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