The Shocking Truth – How Social Media Will Affect SEO in 2014

Through further algorithm updates, Google, Bing and other major search engines are changing the ranking factors and SEO in 2014. In the previous years SEO was really easy to do as it is easy to say.

Unbeatable link building, spamming were the easiest ways to get ranking in no time. As soon as the search engines acknowledge the strategy, they started to fight against them. Let’s look through the history of Google’s algorithm updates.

In December 2000, they rolled out their very first update. I think that was not their successful year. They kept up the changes to fight the spam, but they weren’t able to achieve glowing success till 2010. But from 2011 to now, it is proved that their strategies have become victorious. Google has totally trended their ranking factors.

To December 2013, the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates made sensational changes all around. Some people considered these as the death of SEO. But this is exactly not. Because the new SEO is based on reputation, content, quality and naturality. Google has deeply focused on reputation of sites in brand new factors of seo in 2014. They started to analyze social signals from some years ago, but this one is going to be the most effective element in 2014.

The Shocking Truth - How Social Media Will Affect SEO in 2014

Is It Confirmed That Social Signal is One Of The Ranking Factors?

In December 2010, Google and Bing had started the social graph search feature to analyze the reputation of links. It was first announced by Danny Sullivan on a post from Search Engine Land:

Both Google and Bing have added many social search features over the past year. There’s also been talk about using “social signals” to help rank regular search results.

That was a great news for all but still many people were waiting for an official declaration of Google or Bing. Finally, Matt Cutts confirmed the major quote that Google and Bing has started to use social signals as a ranking factor. He answered a question by WebSEOAnalytics on this topic:

WebSEOAnalytics – Hello Matt, a recent article of Danny Sullivan suggests that Google uses Twitter and Facebook links as a ranking signal. Can you confirm this? Can you elaborate a little bit more on this?

Matt Cutts – I filmed a video back in May 2010 where I said that we didn’t use that as a signal, and at the time, we did not use that as a signal, but now, we’re taping this in December 2010, and we are using that as a signal.

Here is the official declaration by Matt Cutts confirming that they have started to use social signals as a ranking factor:

So, it is confirmed and we can follow Danny Sullivan’s suggestion without any doubt. It is time to make engagement in social media for growing social reputation.

Recently, Matt Cutt announced that guest blogging is dead for SEO purpose. After that, everyone started writing blog post on  this topic.

Within 2 days, these authority blogs got ranking on page #1. Because of social signal and linking to each other. See proof below.

The Shocking Truth - How Social Media Will Affect SEO in 2014

How Social Signals Affect Search Engine Ranking?

The major search engines have started to count on social engagement to compare the reputation of links. Now SEO is so scaled that quality and reputation all round achieve the success. Social media are the place where people interact with each others. So, within this place, it is possible to get the recommendations and engagements of social people.

Through Hummingbird update, it was revealed that social signals from engagement will have more impact on Google ranking. And sites with very low social signals got negative effects too. Here are the top reasons why major search engines are relying on social signals:

  • Higher Number of Social Links Improve The Online Presence: In first of all, links from social sites build brand awareness and increase the visibility of websites. Through this strategy, it is possible to be found very quickly. For SEO in 2014, Google is focusing on brand awareness not only on links and keywords. Links shared by many people instantly got increased visibility from the social activists. So there are more chances to get higher ranking on search engines.
  • It Reveals The People Recommendations: Social sites are the best resource to learn about the people’s recommendations. Google and Bing really depend on what people will be delightful. They try to serve what the people are exactly looking for. As all the peoples choice couldn’t go wrong, they rely on the recommended things. Social media provide the opportunities to vote for the recommendations through sharing, commenting, liking and so on. So, the search engines take the advantage to combine the social signals into their ranking signals.
  • Though Social Link is NoFollow, Its Value is Almost Like DoFollow: Mainly social sites provide nofollow attributes for outbound links but the search engines valued these as dofollow. Some people could argue about the nofollow link value. But all the search engines look social links from different aspects. Even, Google’s webspam head Matt Cutts said through its own words that links from social shares are safe and valuable to the search engines.
  • Social Media Do the Hardest Work ‘Branding’: Now in the new era of SEO, it mainly relies on brand authority. Branding is the way of making brand authority in the online presence. So, it is one of the hardest works, but social sites have made it really easy. Without these open platforms, it would be really difficult to create brand awareness. So, we are thankful to them.

What Are The Ways to Build More Social Signals Through Engagement?

The only way to get more social signal and improve your SEO in 2014 is brand promotion. So, here are the main criteria for building natural presence from social media platforms:

  • Create Own Brand Page: Most of the social media provide opportunities to create own brand and promote as per own’s need. It is the way to establish your brand through the brand page. Through that page, it will be easy to share updates, news and views easily. So, the users could regularly follow up the brand and join in the necessary events. It will help one a lot for creating brand awareness.
  • Connect With The Influencers: Second step is connecting with the social people. To make it happen, one has to regularly share his brand updates. So, the social activists could enjoy the updates. Trying to get more likes, shares, followers are the greatest ways of social engagement. The social activities from public pages are more preferable so the search engines could get a proper popularity report.
  • Make Your Website Contents Easy to Share Socially: Whenever a visitor comes to your website and individually like a content or resource, he would probably like to share it with all of his friends. And that will be only possible if you make the share easy. So, include share buttons on your websites so that the visitors could click once and share.

Which Platforms Should Be Used For Better Social Signals?

There are excessive numbers of social platforms for users, but one may ask what are preferable? Well the exact answer will be the sites leading with page rank and authority. As it is also used as a source of instant targeted traffic, we should try out the sites with more social engagement of people.

So, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and so on sites like these should be used as I do. These sites have the highest number of social activities. So, these would be your choice if you really want the branding part to get more social signals for ranking. Using these sites actively would help you in SEO in 2014.

The Biggest Advantages of Being Connected With Google+ For Ranking:

Some years ago the most avoided platform was Google+. No one measured this seriously as a result, many of the SEO experts considered this as worthless. Google+ is going to change SEO in 2014. So make sure to use it from now.

But now the thoughts are completed changed. In fact, in my judgment it has the highest value rather than any social platform. Here are the top reasons why everyone should get seriously into Google+:

  • Google+ Posts Are Indexed Very Quickly By Crawlers: Google+ has turned the option to show search results from Google+. So, whenever a post is published in Google+, it will be shown in the search results as soon as possible. Then the links will be also rewarded by passing link equity. In a Moz post by Cyrus Shepard, he explained that Google plus posts pass link equity. So, that will be helpful for all.
  • Google+ Shows Verified Authorship Markup in Search Results: Google+ shows authorship markup in search results to ensure an author is trusted or not. There are lots more advantages of Google+ authorship markup and this it helps in ranking.

Final Thoughts about Social Media and SEO in 2014:

I trust on it with my heart and soul because of the latest Hummingbird update and some exact words from Matt Cutts. SEO in 2014 is gonna be change. In some other blogs, it was said to prevent any sorts of algorithm changes, we should get social.

Previously, social bookmarking, forum posting and other simple strategies were enough for ranking but now these are not. So, in my SEO strategy I have included the social engagement part.

However, I am sure that it is one of the best strategies that is going to work for SEO in 2014.

What do you think? How Social Media Will Affect SEO in 2014?


Article by

Abrar Mohi Shafee is a passionate blogger from BloggingSpell. He prefers to give all his time on blogging. He loves writing beginner seo guides such as link building, on page optimization, ranking factors and so on. Recently he has published a post about wordpress robots.txt, you can read more of the post. You can follow him on Google+

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61 Comments so far add one

  1. Hello abrar, first of all thanks for sharing this shocking truth. I think those people who already ignored social media, now this is the high time to they should be changed. In 2014, seo made some changes. The more social signal to your post, the more chances to rank high in serp.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, for seo in 2014 and upcoming years, social media will be great if it could be used naturally. As the search engines now use social signals, social engagement could easily boost ranking.

    • Social media is a ladder of success. We should never ignore social media if we want success in blogging field or online business.

      • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

        In my opinion, social media plays a really important role along with other seo strategies. It will work to make our works stable. We should definitely use social media sites in order to get good ranking nowadays.

  2. Hi Abrar,

    Really great insights to prove your points. We all know that social signals play crucial parts in ranking your website. Sometime back MOZ has also publishes an research which supports that Google+ alone can affect your website rankings.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      As Matt Cutts and other major search engines have declared to use social signals, some SEO experts tried it and got positive results. That’s why they shared the new ranking factor through many popular blogs like Moz, Search Engine Journal etc. And Google+ is going to play the biggest role among all the social media sites.

  3. Thanks for sharing such an informative and detailed article. This will assist all bloggers to choose the right direction of doing SEO in 2014…

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      You are welcome, Ayesha. SEO needs latest methods, strategies and factors in time by time. So, I think social media will be one of the best strategies for seo in 2014.

  4. In my mind these are things that most of us are already doing and should have been doing. It is not really a great surprise. These are valuable and worthwhile activities in and of themselves and if they help SEO and rankings all the better.
    Great post with some great insights.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      I named the title “Socking Truth” because most of the search engine optimizers had confusion if there is any seo value of social media. They thought most of the links are nofollow, so there won’t be any advantage. But after the declaration by major search engines, it is now a must to keep themselves abreast with the latest strategies for ranking.

  5. Agree, now we need to focus not just on a single seo strategy like commenting and forum posting but at the same time add more connection on your favorite social media sites..

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Yes, you are absolutely write. SEO is not just following a single strategy. It is the job of showing creativity. You will not get much value where already a ton of se experts are working. It is always recommended to get backlinks from the places where a low number of experts are focused. That’s why social media sites would help a lot for ranking through social signals.

      • Deepak Kumar says:

        Thanks Shafee,

        Because of informative content, i must say a Superb Article. I found it personally very qualitative and informative post.Thanks for sharing such a great article.

        Thanks Once again :)

  6. Yes, you are right. But what they say is ‘Google bots don’t crawl social sites as they do in case of the rest.’ Also, you’re right that Google Plus can help better than Facebook and Twitter to get ranked in SERP.
    Even I feel that Social Engagement has something to do with our Blogs and their rankings in the coming years.
    There is also a worst side to discuss “Fake shares, likes and re-tweets.” I think Google is worried about such spam.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      You got an important point. Through Google+, Facebook, Twitter and other social medias will help us a lot but we have to do it very naturally. All the social media sites are free to use, so there will be spams for sure. So, we have to do it quite naturally and steadily.

  7. Just read that post, already 417 comments! If guest blogging is going to be dead and if social signals would be taken into account then there will be major turn around in SERPS. As social media is more easy to spam and also cheap then guest blogging.

    • As you said, actually guest blogging is not dead. Matt Cutts said guest blogging for links are dead. So, it is still a good strategy if you measure guest blogging as the method of branding not as link building method. Google’s intention is to remove spam activities, not SEO. And there would be a change for social media sites, they will look for the way to filter the spams. But social media engagement in legal way will be helpful for future seo.

  8. Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

    As you said, actually guest blogging is not dead. Matt Cutts said guest blogging for links are dead. So, it is still a good strategy if you measure guest blogging as the method of branding not as link building method. Google’s intention is to remove spam activities, not SEO. And there would be a change for social media sites, they will look for the way to filter the spams. But social media engagement in legal way will be helpful for future seo.

  9. Useul post Arbar :)

    I am familiar with the concept of getting genuine social cues for blog posts as it is directly to SERP. Yes, I experienced this before and revealed some facts to friends through Facebook.

    You’ve covered the entire topic related to social media in blogging and thanks for your suggestions to get more social signals. I feel good that am following most of the tips which you’ve listed here.

    Yes, you are exact with the Google + concept. As you told, it has SEO benefits and so it is good for the bloggers to stay active in Google +.

    Thanks for writing this useful post, keep writing :)

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Thanks a lot for your comment. Yes, genuine social engagement is the key make ourselves out of any future problem. Among all social media sites, Google+ has the highest value. I am glad that you are already using these. I wish you all the best.

  10. The impact of Social Media on SEO – well, I cannot provide an estimation about that but I would certainly be happy if that happens. IF your content is good, it would be liked and shared on social media and it’s a good way to decide your rank in google search results.
    Also, I am hoping that the black hat seo techniques get a setback because of these changes and we get some good content, ONLY good content on top of search results.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Your concept is absolutely write. If a content is really good, people would be happy to share it through their own social media accounts. So, Google could take advantage of it to measure great contents. So, thanks for your helpful thoughts.

  11. The google updates have recently being ranking up those pages which have a high social sharing rate and also footer links are dead. The pages shared naturally and mentioned in other blogs are getting better rankings.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Ya Prateek, pages having good number of social shares are ranking higher nowadays. Now quality matters for seo. So, footer links are side-wide links which are well enough to get a site penalized.

  12. Abrar,

    Wonderful post, recently I see a post on Matt Cutts blog, he defined that Guest blogging is not for SEO. Recent days Google count social signals as a ranking factor, but in a recent video Matt Cutts refused that Google is not using social signal as ranking factors.

    The first important ranking factor is unique compelling content that help others to learn something or get solutions for their burning problems. So always content is evergreen.

    Thanks.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      I think best SEO is uniqueness. The source will be always good where it is very tough to get links and where low number of people are engaged. Social bookmarking is one of these. It is a good method but more people are getting into it.

      But I think that is not a problem. We have to create differences than the spammers. Unique things will be always considered as good.

  13. I have almost attended 5-6 Sessions for Social Media Marketing, but never got this amazing Information.

    Abrar Mohi Shafee, I appreciate the way you have written this article and also your enthusiasm for sharing this useful info among people.

    Thanks again to Abrar Mohi Shafee for sharing this article with us.

    Regards,
    Syed Usman

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      It’s my pleasure to have opportunity to share a piece of content. We should thank Ammar Ali for presenting a great blog for blogging purposes.

  14. This change is really gonna change the Blogging and SEO . Yeah it is true that guest blogs are spamming but social media could be spamming too, so in short from now on we must concentrate on the social media too , for getting better ranks..thanks for the useful information…Arbar !!

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      There are a huge number of people who are now busy to get into the social media. So, probably Google is gonna change the factors. But I think doing social media engagement in legal way won’t create problem in upcoming days. But anyone is spamming for quick ranking, he is going to suffer in the long run.

  15. Well, we all had this speculations a long time ago, and it is good thing be finally confirmed by Matt Cutts,
    so if you get allot of shares and likes and tweet to a website it helps with its ranking, but there is a key point to remember,
    they have to be real people sharing your content willingly,
    Google can tell where your shares are coming from, whether from Facebook or from an external website,
    so if you try cheating by using a reward point website to buy shares or likes Google can tell where your shares are coming from and will probably take action against that!
    you might wanna stay away from buying likes ans shares and links.
    Many thanks and Best wishes!

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Thanks Mitch for your comment. Yes, you really got the important point. Fake or bot likes shares will be useless because Google can identify those effortlessly. And there would be negative effects for those unusual activities. It will be better to get likes naturally. I think, creating shares are very bad practice, earning is the best. If a content is really exclusive and informative, no one can stay out of sharing it.

      • Hey ABRAR,
        if you are promoting a blog then yes content is really exclusive and informative, and no one can stay out of sharing it. but for the rest of in the seo business, who are promoting business websites, there’s really not much of an interesting content to create a vibe on social media so it’s hard.
        also you should not confuse between sharing your page posts on social media and sharing your actual website link.
        i see most businesses create a page on social media and they promote that page, they share social media posts and they do not share the link of their website.
        you have to get shares and likes and tweets TO YOUR WEBSITE LINK and not your social media page or its posts!
        big difference!!
        Thanks again ABRAR, and Best wishes!

        • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

          Yes, you are right. There is no such strategy better than contents.

          I think, it is always recommended to promote both business pages and own website pages. Because promotion of business pages will build active audiences to the page where they all could effortlessly enjoy upcoming news and updates. On the other hand, it is required to share the main web pages. It will get visitors directly to the site. So, in my sense, both are equally important and we should try to promote both of them.

  16. Great Post Abrar!!
    I always knew that one day search engines will change its algorithm to make social media an important factor in determining a blog’s search engine ranking and all the artificially “built ” links including the guest blogger links will have little or absolutely no value.
    We all should now take advantage of this situation and concentrate on our social media presence.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Ya the time has begun to concentrate on social media sites. It will have great value in ranking besides other factors. I wish you and all to use it naturally. I hope, you will also be able get good ranking through this strategy.

  17. It’s also important to acknowledge that while social signals are valuable quality signals for Google, the main reason these sites were ranking for “guest blogging” is due to their huge authority within Google as well as Google’s bias to fresh content. The authority of these sites alone is often enough to rank new content posted on the sites for relevant keywords even without any social signals.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      It’s true that guest blogging is the way to create authority backlinks. But nowadays guest blogging is done only for link building purpose where google can’t make differences between paid links and guest blogging links. That is why Matt Cutt declared that guest blogging for seo purpose is dead.

      If anyone could do high quality link building for branding purpose, it will be still great. And a page is enough to get ranked only by guest blogging. But if we also create social signals, it will make the page more stronger than the competitors.

  18. I don’t know this is good or bad but SEO is always interesting to learn because of its dynamic nature

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      I think SEO is one of the most trending operations over internet that is changing dramatically. The more we keep our updated with latest strategies, the more our chances to get effectual ranking. I wish you all the best on this competitive run… :)

  19. Great!

    Really, the truth seems to be a bit shocking!

    So now, we can say that being active on social media can also help gain some organic traffic!

    So, it becomes a win-win situation!

    This post is a must read for all those who think that it’s a fool’s errand to use social media for promotion!

    Google is changing its algorithms very often and it is going to become a tough task for bloggers and webmasters to cope up with that!

    Thanks for the informative post!

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Thanks for your inspiring thoughts. Now social media are getting more value so we should get into social media sites. To keep along with latest trends, we should get social nowadays.

  20. Awesome Post Abrar!!

    Initially I want to thank you to aware us about this most shocking truth about social media of which we gonna face. But how much weightage should we give on Link Building, On page and Off page SEO i 2014.

    Thanks Again!!

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Social engagement is a major part of off page seo but not the alternative of all seo strategies. It should be implemented besides other seo strategies. I hope, it will emphasize the value to the search engines.

  21. Google- the search engine gaint, do change its SEO schemes every year, and this time its new decision is better, to consider Social media and the decision to consider guest blogging as spam. Low quality sites were getting better rankings because of guest blogging. Thanks for the valuable information, as i will pay more attension to Social media.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Yep, guest blogging is now considered as spam because of very low quality guest posts. But quality still matter. I think, it is time to work on social media for higher social signals. This is a new but effective ranking factor.

  22. Hey Abrar,
    I must say it is one of the most informative post i read in past couple of days,

    Before this i was not knowing about that video, and i used to keep on saying to everyone that FB and Twitter are waste of time as google dont count that but now i know that they do….. and yes now we can say that SEO is gone change in 2014 and Social Signals and Authorship is going to play much important role….

    Nice Write…

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Thanks Sunil for your comment.

      Ya, the SEO is really gonna change in 2014 and upcoming years. So, we should put on ourselves with latest trends.

      Wish you all the best..

  23. Def SEO gonna change in 2014 a lot. All type of tactics should be implemented ethically otherwise you are going to penalised by google.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      SEO has changed and the strategies have changed accordingly. You are absolutely write that old seo tactics would negatively affect. Because years and years those were used. And now these are almost supposed to be spam.

      That is the reason why we should be creating with our seo strategies. If we keep it unique than any other, there will be no problem for sure.

  24. Hello abrar,

    Thanks for sharing these ultimate tips on social media. I generally give more weightage to google plus for my blog promotion as google + have more influence on page rankings. I was unaware on many concepts that you covered in this article. Thanks again for delivering us such an ultimate guide.

    Have a great day :)

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Thanks a lot Nikhil for your complement.

      Now it’s time to give higher priority to social media sites and especially to Google+. Did you note Google+ posts are indexed in search engines? And Google+ links also pass link equity. So that will be helpful.

      All the best with your campaign on social media.

  25. Hi,

    Thanks for your updates on SEO in 2014. Social Media will indeed play a very important role in the year 2014. But I would like to ask you one question. Will building backlinks be as important for a blog now as it used to be before??

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Thanks Mayank for your question.

      Backlinks are the elements which point out the link value to search engines. So that was important and that will be important in the future. Google didn’t say that backlinks are bad. Google said spammy and low quality backlinks are worst. Google considering all important actions to filter the spam resources from their directory.

      So, you have be keep up gaining backlinks. Google mostly loves gained backlinks, not created.

      Social media likes and shares are the strategies to build link popularity. So, it is also gonna help you in this case.

  26. Fantastic post about social signals! I totally agree with you about your points about Google+. It is so true that you should establish your brand through the brand page. Branding is important!

    What do you think… which social media platform will lose in the number of social activites?
    Thanks again! Awesome post!

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Thanks Katrin for your comment. Now social media promotion is a must in order to achieve the highest ranking. I believe that without branding, all other efforts will be wasted. So I recommend all to make sensation on social media sites.

      I don’t think social media would lose their importance. But it is for sure that the strategies will change. Just go along with natural strategy and their will no trouble in your way.

      All the best….!!!

  27. Social signals and social shares of your content (articles, videos, slideshare decks etc) will definitely have an impact on where your webpages show up in the SERPs. I won’t be cheesy spam your site with links to my site, but IMO, one of the best ways to make social work in your favor (get more traffic) is to target relevant longtail keywords that fit your selling proposition. You still need good onpage and offpage optimization but an A+ slideshare deck with a killer YT video embedded works well for me and my clients.

    I’ve been percolating the longtail How to Get a Longtail to Rank on Page 1 of Google and using my social link wheel model I’ve fared well in a short period of time.

  28. Hello ABRAR,
    It’s may be true that social media is a great factor of ranking, But it can be a spam in some case. My point is how is the good velocity of social media impact? I see sometime poor article get shared one hundred time. In this case, I think social media can lose the importance.
    B.R

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

      Hi Marc, you are absolutely right. Because now we can experience quite intolerable spams in social sites. But as I explained in my post, we should go with the legal strategy what we think is best. We shouldn’t care what spammers are doing.

      I think, sites like Facebook, Twitter are not gonna lose their importance because of such spammy works. Instead Google would roll out a new algorithm for spam social signal filtering. I think that day is not so far.

  29. Another thing is not to let daily commitments get in the way of your relationship. Always spare time, and more importantly, undivided attention for your other half. thanks a lot. Great work.

  30. Great post. Social media, especially Google+ affects a lot in your search engine rankings. Social signals plays a vital role these days to rank your pages in the SERPs. Anyways, thanks a lot for sharing this post.

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