How Social Media Impacts Local SEO

Is there a link between local SEO and social media? The short answer is yes... but 'how' and 'why' are more complicated.

By Duane Forrester

Mar 28, 2024

4 min
Does social media impact local SEO?

Social media is a key way people find brands today. An estimated 55% of consumers first discover new businesses on social media, and 68%use social to stay informed about products and services – making these channels a key part of your digital presence.

But while it's easy to see that social media helps you engage customers, it can be harder to figure out the link between your social strategy and your search strategy. Is there a link between local SEO and social media?

The short answer is: yes. The "how" and the "why" are a bit more complicated.

In today's world, the link between social media and local search ranking is indirect, but critical: optimizing your social channels and publishing content consistently expands your reach. It strengthens your visibility across different content sources, and that, in turn, could help you surface in search results when customers are looking for the products or services you provide. (We're already seeing Google integrate social posts from social channels like Facebook and Instagram into Google Business Profile. They're also testing out how they can bring Google Posts into search results.)

The bottom line? Social is becoming increasingly influential in search engine results. With that in mind, we'll walk through why (and how) to optimize your social media to positively influence your discoverability.

Search engines are starting to take social signals into account – which means you need to pay attention to them. (Social signals are metrics that social media platforms use to record and measure engagement on content. They include likes, comments, reposts, shares, and more.) Social signals are not major ranking factors on search engines like Google or Bing, but we do know that they hold influence.

Bing evaluates social signals more than Google: they look at pages that have a higher number of likes, shares, or retweets, and they may rank those pages higher in search results than pages that have earned a lower quantity.

For Google's part, they use social signals to try and improve their overall search results experience. So, although they are not direct ranking factors, high engagement pages tell search engines that certain content is resonating — and therefore might be something other searchers with the same questions may find helpful. More concretely: Google's Search Quality Rating Guidelines mention social media posts and profiles as one of the factors that manual search evaluators should use to assess the reputation of both content creators and websites.

So, what are some tactical practices you should consider to increase social signals?

1. Share your content consistently across social channels

Sharing content on your social channels is a great way to promote it. By sharing social posts with links to your content (like blogs or articles, for example), you increase opportunities for likes, comments, shares, and other engagements that signal to search engines that your content is resonating.

2. Engage with customers via social

Show search engines you're active across social channels not just by posting, but by engaging with your audience's comments, questions, and shares as well. This shows search engines — and customers — that your profile is managed and monitored by your business. IT shows that you're there to actively engage — and to try to improve the customer experience.

When you respond to comments, you can also use that as an opportunity to share relevant links to help articles or your website to increase backlinking (which is a direct Google ranking factor).

Search engines value comprehensive and accurate business information. Including your social profile links in your business listings increases your listings "completion" — and as a result, your listing will be valued more highly than a less complete listing. This gives you a better chance of ranking higher in search results.

Strengthen your digital presence and improve discoverability

The relationship between local SEO and social media is dynamic and always evolving. And while the direct impact of social signals on search engine rankings may be up for debate, there is an undeniable relationship between these two channels. In fact, Tiktok recently updated their Creator program to reward content creators bringing forward content that is more search friendly and better optimized to rank in search results.

From driving customer discovery to influencing purchasing decisions, social media plays a crucial role throughout today's customer journey. By taking these first key steps to optimize your social content, you can strengthen your business's digital presence and improve discoverability across search engines.

Learn more about Yext Social

Manage and amplify your brand's social presence across a variety of third-party sites like Apple, Facebook, Google, Instagram, and more.

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