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What Are Social Signals, and How Do They Impact SEO?

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Josh Crouch - Relentless Digital LLC

Author's Bio:

Joshua Crouch, a regular on the Service Business Master podcast, is renowned for his insights on service-based businesses. 

An active member of industry groups, he’s at the forefront of emerging trends. As a recognized Google Business Expert, Josh drives growth for Relentless Digital’s clients.

what are social signals

When you post a photo on Instagram, your customers “like” it. 

When you share a post on Facebook, your customers comment on it. 

When you post on Twitter, now called X, your customers retweet your post. 

What do each of these interactions have in common? They’re all social signals — actions that show customers are interacting with your brand on social media. 

So, what are social signals, and what do they have to do with search engine optimization? The goal of any SEO campaign is to get Google to favor your webpage by putting it at the top of the search engine results pages. Having more social signals shows Google you’re sharing high-quality content, which helps you rank higher. 

As a trusted SEO agency for HVAC contractors, Relentless Digital, LLC, knows a solid SEO campaign relies on many factors, none of which you should overlook. Among these are social signals.

What You Need To Know About Social Signals as Ranking Factors

First, let’s define ranking factors. 

A ranking factor, in terms of SEO, helps your website rank on the Google search engine results pages (SERPs). When your customers need a service, like HVAC repair, they typically do an Internet search to explore their options. 

However, since most Internet searchers don’t go past the first results page on Google, it’s essential that your company’s website rank high enough to show up on this coveted first page. Otherwise, you could miss out on many potential customers and interactions. 

So, what can you do to improve your Google SERP ranking? Search engine optimization aims to get you on the first page of Google by utilizing multiple strategies to navigate the ever-changing Google algorithm, like link building, keywords, quality content, etc. Although social media isn’t often the first thing that comes to mind when exploring ways to boost SEO, social signals can impact how well your brand ranks on Google. 

However, it’s important to remember that not all social signals will boost your SERP ranking. For instance, getting tons of likes on Facebook won’t automatically improve your ranking. Rather, getting other people to share your posts and links can help get you closer to topping the search engine results page. This is especially true if you use X.

Thanks to X’s and Google’s partnership, tweets now appear on search results pages. As such, the following actions can significantly impact your ranking:

  • The number of tweets and retweets
  • The number of followers for those retweeting your post
  • Shares on Facebook

Essentially, by increasing quality social signals, you can increase the number of links, which is crucial for maximizing search engine optimization

Steps To Increase Your Social Signals and Boost SERP Ranking

While increasing social signals alone isn’t enough to get you ranking on the Google search results pages, it’s an important part of any SEO campaign. Plus, increasing social media engagement is crucial for any brand looking to establish meaningful connections with customers while increasing brand awareness and reputation. 

Why do social signals matter? The right strategies could be a way for your company to boost SEO and put your name in front of more potential customers. Below are some ways to increase social signals and boost your digital presence. 

1. Start Building Your Audience

Social signals aren’t possible without an audience, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the first step of any social media marketing campaign is to build an audience. Essentially, you want more people to follow your social media pages and interact with your posts, but where do you start?

Building an audience is surprisingly simple, assuming you know who your audience is. Ignoring this key component of your digital reach can undermine even the best marketing strategies.

Not every company has the same audience. For instance, an HVAC company will primarily target homeowners or commercial properties rather than teenagers looking for the latest clothing styles. You must determine who your audience is and which social media platforms they use. 

Ideally, you should have more than one social media account. Once you determine who your audience is and where they spend their time scrolling, you can start posting. 

Building an audience doesn’t stop when you create an account on Instagram or Facebook, either. You must post quality content frequently to grab more and more people’s attention while creating meaningful connections with your customers. So, how often should you post?

It’s typically best to post more than less frequently. For instance, accounts that make over seven posts a week on Instagram can grow their audiences significantly faster than those that post less. 

You should also optimize your social media profile using keywords and calls to action. For example, Ruggable has a highly successful Pinterest account with over 10 million monthly views. If you look at its profile, you’ll see keywords like “machine washable rugs” and “spill-proof.”

Finally, you can grow your social media audience by partnering with influencers. Influencers already have massive followings on Instagram and other platforms, so partnering with those who share your company’s interests can help you grow your audience significantly while significantly increasing brand recognition. 

Regularly posting, optimizing your profile, and working with influencers can help build your audience while increasing social signals, which we’ll explore in more detail later.

2. Focus on Creating High-Quality Content

Regularly posting on Instagram won’t do much if your content lacks quality. Your customers want to see quality content with useful information that draws and keeps their attention, so how do you go about doing this?

To create high-quality content that resonates with your audience, you need to consider who your audience is. A great way to do this is by creating a customer persona. Start by answering these questions:

  • What age is your average customer?
  • What is their typical income?
  • What are they looking for?

For example, for an HVAC company, your typical customer is probably a homeowner in their late twenties through early sixties with enough income to afford a mortgage and looking for HVAC repairs or system installations. 

By nailing this down, you can create quality content that piques your customers’ interests and encourages them to engage with your social media account. The more relevant your content is, the more social signals you’ll see.

How does creating quality social media content help your SERP ranking? Let’s look at the example of Matt Woodward. 

Woodward posted on Facebook about the “unhealthiest foods” people eat. This post became an overnight sensation, gaining 34,000 comments, 68,000 likes, and over 30,000 shares. This incredible engagement put Woodward’s post at the very top of the Google search results pages, thanks to the colossal number of links it created. 

While you can’t guarantee the same viral results, Woodward’s post is a great example of how quality, relevant content can boost your ranking.

3. Make Your Brand Appear Trustworthy

We can’t answer “What are social signals?” without discussing how they impact your brand’s reputation.

Without trust, you won’t have much luck building an audience or creating meaningful connections with customers. To boost your ranking while improving brand recognition, your brand must appear trustworthy and credible. This is where increasing social signals comes in. 

The more likes, comments, shares, and followers you have, the more credible your brand appears. Ideally, you want to become a social-proof brand. 

What does that mean? The term “social-proof” refers to someone doing something simply because others do it. For instance, a person may buy a product solely because they saw other people buying it and leaving tons of glowing reviews. 

To become a brand with this level of credibility, you must create content that builds trust. A good way to do this is by remembering that people have rather short attention spans, so you need content that keeps their attention and ensures they receive all the information they’re looking for without excess. A great way to do this is by using more visuals in your posts. 

Making a brand appear more credible and trustworthy is essential for more than SEO. You must show your customers that you offer top-quality services they can rely on. By sharing informational content with attention-grabbing visuals, you show your audience that you are a trustworthy industry competitor, which encourages more people to do business with you.

4. Maintain a Consistent Presence

You shouldn’t post every day for a week and then go MIA for a month. You need a consistent presence on social media to keep your audience’s attention and expand your reach. Here are some tips for maintaining a consistent social media presence:

  • Post at the same time each week: Sticking to a routine posting schedule gives your followers a sense of familiarity with your brand, encouraging them to interact with your company. Automation applications can help you save time, money, and effort in this regard.
  • Reuse social media content: You can repurpose content by using it across multiple types of posts. For instance, if you published a blog about air conditioning maintenance, you can use this content for a social media post, case study, podcast, etc. 
  • Create a brand personality: Your brand should have a unique personality, which you can create by paying attention to the tone, colors, fonts, and visuals of your social media posts. Having a distinctive brand personality encourages people to interact with you while creating a sense of familiarity.

5. Explore the Benefits of Influencer Marketing

You can’t scroll through any social media feed without seeing something from an influencer. Social media influencers are key to modern marketing strategies, as they can put your product or services in front of a wider audience thanks to their significant followings and reputation. Influencers can be:

  • Thought leaders
  • Industry websites
  • Bloggers
  • Prominent social media figures

First, you should find an influencer who aligns with your brand and services. After doing some research, you can reach out to an influencer and ask that they feature your brand on their profile or propose featuring them on yours. For instance, many brands use social media takeovers to increase social signals by giving influencers control of their social media accounts for a set period. 

By having the influencer create different kinds of content for your brand, you can garner more likes, comments, shares, and other social signals that encourage more people to follow and interact with your brand. In a world of constant scrolling, it pays to have social media influencers market your brand for you.

6. Remember That Engagement Is a Two-Way Street

It’s not enough to get your customers to like and comment on your posts. If you want to build meaningful relationships, you must engage, too!

Today’s customers want a relationship with brands that extends beyond purchasing a service or product. They want to know the company they are purchasing from cares about its customers and wants to have a relationship with them. You must show your customers that you appreciate them and are committed to doing everything you can to improve their experience. 

A great way to do this is by telling stories and addressing the needs of your consumers. Respond to their comments, thank them for their purchases, and address complaints or concerns quickly. When you get glowing reviews, share these on your Instagram, X, Facebook, and other social media pages.

Another excellent way to build long-term relationships with your customers is by following popular trends and starting discussions among followers.

Looking for a creative way to boost interaction? Start a live video announcing a contest or offer customers unique discounts.

7. Don’t Overlook Your Social Media Profile

When a person decides to follow you on social media, the first thing they’ll see is your profile, so you need to optimize it to make the most of these interactions. As we previously mentioned, one way to do this is by incorporating keywords and calls to action, but this is just the tip of the profile optimization iceberg. 

For a properly optimized social media profile, you must also include the following elements:

  • Attractive profile photo
  • Relevant hashtags
  • Website link
  • Company name
  • Bio and descriptions
  • Brand logo

For social media platforms like Facebook, the cover photo is a great place to put your brand logo. When it comes to the description, you should use the same one on each social media platform to provide a sense of consistency and familiarity. Meanwhile, your bio, or the “About Us” page, should have your company’s phone number and an option for new followers to sign up for email newsletters. 

To maximize profile optimization, include multiple contact methods, like your email, so that customers have more than one way to reach out to your team. Failure to include such information makes your profile look incomplete and untrustworthy. Moreover, it conveys a message to current and potential clients that you don’t care about the little things, which can make or break your reputation.

What are social signals?

While they aren’t primary ranking factors, maintaining a solid social media presence is essential for ranking and boosting brand recognition. By creating quality content and maintaining valuable relationships with your customers, you can increase social signals, which act like backlinks. As a result, you give your SERP ranking a boost and put your brand in front of more people, which is still the best way to gain more potential followers. 

Developing a seasonal SEO strategy and boosting your social media presence isn’t always as easy as it seems, so working with a reputable HVAC SEO agency can help you achieve your digital marketing goals.

Josh Crouch - Relentless Digital LLC

Author's Bio:

Joshua Crouch, a regular on the Service Business Master podcast, is renowned for his insights on service-based businesses. 

An active member of industry groups, he’s at the forefront of emerging trends. As a recognized Google Business Expert, Josh drives growth for Relentless Digital’s clients.

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