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How Social Signals Affect Site Rankings

Jason Roy

We’ve talked about the increased importance of social signals for a long time now. And it’s funny looking back – when we first started talking about this stuff, a lot of it was hypothesizing. 

But over time, we started learning what was working and what wasn’t. At this point, we’ve got a great view of how social signals work in Google’s algorithms. And it’s pretty exciting stuff for SEO’s. Once again, Google is leveling the playing field, ensuring that if you can create ultra-valuable content, you’ll be rewarded heavily for it.

I still hear people saying, “if we can’t build links like before, how are we supposed to get any traffic?”

Well, these people are discounting the incredible power of social media. Thanks to social media, it’s possible to get huge amounts of traffic – even if you just launched your site last night!

If you produce the right type of content—content that’s “shareable”—people will share it regardless of where it came from. And the sharing is viral. One person shares it, causing five people to view it, three of which share it as well, causing 15 people to view it and six shares, and so on and so forth.

The better the content, the more it gets shared. So even if you just launched yesterday, if you can create content that’s truly valuable and worth sharing, you can easily get thousands of social visitors to your website!

Now, that’s all fine and dandy. But we all know that social traffic is, generally speaking, awful at converting. Yes, they’ll visit your website. But they might not buy or sign up to your email list.

So is this traffic worthless? Absolutely not – especially if you understand how social aids SEO.

We all know that search traffic is some of the best traffic you can get. Search traffic is highly targeted, buying traffic. If you can get good rankings for a competitive keyword, you’ll get business almost on autopilot.

However, in the past, it was difficult to rank for these ultra-competitive keywords, because companies with huge budgets were driving backlinks like crazy.

We’re happy to say that this has changed, to a large extent.

What Do Social Signals Do?

How social signals work is very intuitive and, if we hadn’t had such a hard time figuring it all out, we might even say they’re common sense!

When you post something on your site and people share it, Google’s algorithm is notified. The more people who share in a shorter amount of time, the more Google pays attention to the site. Because these shares trigger a “viral” reaction to Google. Google knows that sites with lots of shares very quickly are most likely going viral. As a result, people will probably be Googling this exact content.

Therefore, it’s in Google’s best interest to put this content right at the top of page #1 for these search terms!

Yes, if you get enough social signals in a short enough period of time, you can jump to the top of the rankings for virtually every keyword!

Keep your pants on for now, there’s more to it.

Although these rankings are fantastic, they’re temporary. Google wants to know if your content is built to last, or if it’s just a once-in-a-lifetime event. So social signals will only keep you ranking for a short period of time – most likely around a week.

If you don’t get any backlinks during this week, your site will fall off the rankings, because Google will see that it was just a flash-in-the-pan occurrence. However, if your content is good enough to get links (which happens to content that’s evergreen, and not just a once-in-a-lifetime post), Google will keep you on the front page for that competitive keyword!

Folks, content truly is king in the age of New SEO. The more valuable your content, the better you’ll rank. It is that simple!

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