By Kaitie Frank
13 Nov 2023

Do Social Media Posts Count As Backlinks?

Advanced Link Building     Content Marketing     Link Building

The significance of social post signals in SEO has been debated among experts for a while. While some experts believe that search engines consider social signals when determining ranking status, others consider these signals superficial. 

It is natural to feel exhilarated when a post goes viral. However, social media links are not considered backlinks in the SEO sense because they are mostly "nofollow" links. This implies that they do not pass authority to your site. 

Additionally, John Mueller from Google stated back in 2015 that social signals are not a ranking factor, although social content can appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Nevertheless, social media posts can indirectly assist in boosting your SEO. They can help increase brand awareness, increase visibility and traffic, expand your audience, and build trust.

SEO vs. Social Media Marketing

SEO and social media marketing (SMM) are different yet complementary digital marketing strategies that can help drive traffic to your website. 

SEO refers to practices, techniques, and strategies to improve a website's visibility in the SERPs. These practices include optimizing website content, building high-quality backlinks, and improving website speed and performance. By implementing these techniques, website owners can increase their organic search engine traffic, improving their online visibility.

Conversely, SMM involves using social media platforms to promote a brand, product, or service. This strategy includes creating and sharing content on social channels, engaging with followers, and running social media advertising campaigns. SMM helps businesses connect with their target audience more personally, build brand awareness, and drive traffic to their website.

While SEO and SMM are two distinct strategies, they are highly complementary. By integrating SEO and SMM strategies, businesses can create a robust digital marketing plan that drives website traffic from search engines and social media channels, helping businesses increase online visibility, attract new customers, and ultimately grow their business.

The Relationship Between Social Media and SEO

While not a ranking factor, social media posts can indirectly affect SEO. 

Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines state that the reputation of the website where the content lives and the content creator is an important part of page quality rating. It advises researching the content creators' and companies' social media profiles. Specifically, it states:

“For non-professional content creators, including ordinary people who post on social media or forums, you may find informal reputation information on the page itself, such as comments by other people about the creators.  For example,  you may find comments or posts from other users helpful to see what other people think about a particular content creator.”

So, even though social media does not directly impact SEO, Google still advises manual search evaluators to use social media to indicate online reputation, meaning you can use social media to bolster your site’s online reputation. 

The Pros and Cons of Social Media Backlinks

Social media backlinks offer many benefits to help your business grow and succeed by increasing online visibility. 

For example, some searches can reveal a carousel of posts from different social media platforms, including X (formerly Twitter), YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok. These SERP features highlight the content from your social media and may lead visitors to your website.  

Additionally, social media backlinks have the potential for viral content and widespread sharing, which can exponentially increase reach and engagement with your target audience. By leveraging social media backlinks effectively, you can establish your brand as an industry thought leader and drive more traffic to your website.

Lastly, social proof can help distinguish your content as high-quality. The more social shares a piece of content receives, the more trustworthy it appears to readers. This can help improve engagement on your site. 

Disadvantages of Relying Soley on Social Media Backlinks

Social media platforms are often considered valuable sources for driving website traffic when building backlinks. However, relying solely on social media backlinks comes with its own set of disadvantages.

Firstly, one major disadvantage is the lack of control over social algorithms. Unlike search engines, social media platforms constantly modify their algorithms to improve user experience. This means that the backlinks that worked well for your website in the past may not work in the present or future. As a result, traffic from those posts could diminish if the algorithm changes.

Secondly, social media backlinks have the potential for a short-lived impact. Most social media platforms have a short lifespan for content, meaning posts can quickly become outdated and irrelevant. This can lead to inconsistent website traffic, as the backlinks that once drove traffic are no longer effective. 

Therefore, it is important to consider various sources for building backlinks to ensure a more sustainable impact and better control over the website's traffic.

Social Media Social Signals Best Practices

You should make a conscious effort to focus on social media in your content marketing strategy and SEO. There are various tactics to boost your social media signals:

  • Connect your social media profiles to your website via schema markup. This will allow your social media profiles to appear in the knowledge panel of the SERPs when someone searches for your company. 
  • Encourage readers to engage with your content by adding a call-to-action that prompts them to share snippets of your article.
  • Boost your social media posts by engaging with followers to increase algorithmic visibility, resulting in greater engagement.

The relationship between social media and backlinks is complex but undeniably impactful. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, it's crucial for SEO practitioners to adapt their strategies accordingly. The integration of social media into backlink-building efforts can yield substantial benefits. Still, a balanced and diversified backlink approach remains the key to sustained success in the world of SEO.

Kaitie Frank

Kaitie is a copywriter and content writer for Page One Power who specializes in SEO-optimized content. She has written for various niches and prides herself in knowing random tidbits of information. In addition to putting words to paper, she indulges in physical fitness and telling her cat why he is, in fact, a good boy.