People like us at Outwrite are always banging on about how to improve your social media standing, and how to improve your search engine rankings with SEO. But are the two linked?

After all, big, successful brands tend to have big social media followings, and those companies don’t tend to waste money do they? (They actually do, but this isn’t about that).

Google is not all of the search market, but it is by far the biggest provider.

The company tends to keep its cards close to its chest when it comes to what actually affects how high up the page a particular website will display for a certain search, resulting in a whole industry springing up that reads the tea leaves to try and figure out what to do with your web presence.

Review previous posts and you may see that content that has done well in terms of shares on social media may have higher search rankings.

With Google taking a tally of how many links there are to a particular page, it makes sense that shares like this may have an influence. After all, search for a particular company and Google will show you straight to their social profiles – they know they’re there.

However things aren’t quite that simple.

Judging by the data and analysis, Google, it seems, doesn’t take into account shares and interactions on a post. However, content that is shared widely is much more visible. And if it’s easier to see, someone is more likely to link to it in an article or website review or comment, and that is what improves your search visibility.

So, who are you trying to reach on social media? Stakeholders, thought leaders, industry influencers, potential customers and more. If you’re reaching these people, many of those will organically carry out those activities that do boost SEO.

You’re also creating awareness and establishing authority, so when those people on social media, who generally aren’t looking to make a purchasing decision, move to search where they are, they’re more likely to click on your link than someone else’s, which again improves your authority with Google and therefore your ranking.

If more people visit your site, spend a good amount of time on there and engage with your work, that will get picked up in a positive way by Google. This signals to the search provider that it can trust your site is providing useful information and as a consequence will place you prominently in the rankings.