The 3 Most Important Social Signals You Need in SEO.

Comments, shares and likes, in that order. That’s what I’ve come to learn regarding SEO and how it improves when you have those 3 social signals happening on your website.

3 social signals that help with seo

Don’t know what social signals are? Let me explain:

A big part of SEO these days is search engines seeing if your website gets a positive response from readers. How does a search engine which uses spiders, bots (non human) and complex algorithms know if you have a high value website? 

Well one of the ways they do is they analyze certain social signals that occur when there are visitors on your site. I’ve said this before on previous posts I’ve done, but basically to repeat…

Google has tracking metrics in which is analyzes how a visitor views your site. It records how long they stay, bounce rates, exit rates and other investigative like metrics which produce a score for your site, that score being how high quality it is, in it’s content and overall affect on readers.

Note: Those things on their own can actually viewed as their own, separate social signals too.

And if you need proof that all this complex stuff is being recorded by Google, all you need to do is install Google Analytics, and it’ll tell you this same information I just explained.

How does it collect all of that? Well that’s Google for you and the point is that…they know.

So now that we understand this, how can we use social signals for SEO?

Well, in it’s ideal form, the big 3 I stated can do the following:

1) Comments on the site signal to Google that your site is getting worthy enough attention from readers.

A site without comments is valued less than one with them. It’s a VERY important ranking factor.

Comments are also considered to be content and if you know anything about SEO, you’ll know that content on a website is what produces rankings, authority and growth or organic rankings. This means…

More comments equates to more SEO authority.

2) Shares are also a huge thing.

If you can produce content that not only gets people to read it, but share it, that’s also a huge thing for Google. When they see sharing going on, they see content that is more popular and that means it’s much more worth to rank that type of content higher.

Think about a popular individual vs one who isn’t. Generally speaking, the popular individual is the one who gets taken more seriously while the other, who is unknown is not. You can absolutely think of websites with shares to be the same thing.

3) Likes are also another form of social signals.

The very fact that someone who visits your site, clicks that like button is a big deal to Google. It’s also a form of authority, in that if someone visits your page and sees that a particular article has a lot of likes, they are more likely to read that article because it has public appraise. 

In short, having all 3 of these things going on within your website show both people visiting it and search engines analyzing it that your website is a valuable website.

How do you increase the odds that these 3 things go on?

There’s a few simple tips:

Make sure the comment box on your website is easy to leave comments within. Some pages make it tough or they have some sort of filter (capcha) going on where people need to fill out a whole bunch of stuff to post the comment. 

Don’t make it hard for them to do. The only thing is, keep an anti spam filter on your website so not everyone can just leave whatever, otherwise your website can fall prey to spam and malware infections and see a drop in it’s rankings (negative SEO).

Add like and share buttons on the site itself. There’s simple plugins such as “social plug” that you can add for free to your website that show social network buttons on every article you put up, making it easy for someone reading and visiting it to click that like button and share it with their network of friends. 

That’s basically it.

The other part (the hard part) is incentivizing people to actually engage in comment on your content. That is determined by what kind of content you write and it’s a topic I’ll cover later.

The final thing…there’s levels to these 3 things.

Despite the fact that these 3 social signals have positive influence on SEO, they don’t always have the same value.

For example…

-Why should a comment that is only 5 words get more value than one that is 100? 

-Why should a 1,000 likes that don’t lead to anything positive (no shares, no reads, no engagement) have value over 10 likes that generate comments and shares of their own? 

-Why should a 100 shares that also don’t lead to any engagement have any value either? 

These examples I just gave basically showcase how social signals themselves have layers to them and the better the quality of the comment, the share, the like, the more SEO value it will carry.

It’s a very good thing that this exists because if all these things didn’t have their own level/rating, people would abuse them. This actually did happen. Here’s an example:

  • People purchased comments.
  • People purchased tons of likes.
  • People purchased and asked others to share.

This often caused bad sites that faked it to make high SEO rankings and that wasn’t fair. Luckily, with the advancement of Google and it’s algorithms, the value of each of those things made trying to fake it, useless.

This means for example that:

A person who buys 10,000 likes from any service or source (they are scams, don’t buy that stuff), but gets nothing out of them (meaning no comments or reader engagement) may as well have 0 value out of it. They don’t mean anything! Also this brings up the question of backlinks. Here’s all you need to know about backlinks.

I have a whole article on likes, shares and the other things here. It’ll help you understand the different levels and structure your content so that you get the high value social signals, not the cheap, fake and useless ones. 

6 thoughts on “The 3 Most Important Social Signals You Need in SEO.”

  1. Hi Vitaliy,

    There is one important “social signal” that you have missed out. I am not talking a tweet or pin or anything of that nature but an invisible “social” thumbs up and validation.

    That is a backlink, a genuine natural link from a website or blog in your own industry linking to your site/article. It is in my opinion a thumbs up from fellow webmasters and bloggers that your site/article is of value.

    When it comes to social shares and social media activity there is a lot of anthropology going on in the background. Social validation and social proof happens at all levels, even in the digital world.

    An article or site with a ton of shares, likes tweets and retweets and so on we tend to think…ohh that must be good and either watch the video or read the article and..share it!

    Very seldom, regardless of the quality even high quality, we share something that has no likes or no shares…

    I do question the importance of comments though. Do you have some data to back that up that I can check out? I keep seeing sites that have few, none or even have the comments facility turned off ranking very well and very high in Google.

    I know comments are more content, but when was the last time you searched for something on the net and the search term was related to something written in a comment?

    Reply
    • I’ve had comments get ranked before Derek and I do see that they provide positive SEO results. But I do understand your point about backlinks and so on, however there is more to this than just the number of like counts.

      I do see very viral blogs with tons of likes and shares, and you will usually find these same blogs also have a lot of comments going on. I recently spoke about backlinks and that in my personal experience, the backlink isn’t the important thing, it’s what it brings and if it brings nothing but +1’s everywhere, that doesn’t give it value, it’s the people who engage through those +1’s that does.

      I have noticed more than a few blogs (including my own) which get 100’s of likes, but without comment and user engagement, they see no improvement in SEO, whereas the likes which lead to people talking with each other and me about my content, that is what gets the results. 

      This is why the value of the backlink as I said in this article is not in the numbers but in the quality of the users it brings in and how they engage with your site and that is indeed a big social signal.

      Reply
  2. Vitaliy thank you for this straightforward information about what Google is looking for. It is really good to see that Google has advanced algorithms to weed out the bad content such as people paying for likes and shares instead of creating good relevant content.

    Just like anything in life, there are no shortcuts and the people that put together great content deserve to be at the top of the Google search results.

    I think that I speak for most people when it comes to Google searches when I search for information on Google, it is great to get extremely relevant content.

    As time goes on I believe the top rated content on Google is only going to get better. Look forward to reading more straight to the point tips on how to rank high on Google.

    Thanks Vitaliy!

    -Jay

    Reply
    • Hi Jay thank you. I agree with your point about how the evolution of Google and seeking to provide better and better search results is where the future of SEO lies. You are very welcome to view my other SEO topics I’ve been covering on this site and if there’s any ones which I haven’t spoken off which you have a question on, do let me know here and I’ll do my best to clarify it.

      Reply

Leave a Comment