Any search engine specialist who’s in the know will tell you that social media and search engine optimisation work in tandem to bolster your visibility online. However, breaking down the symbiosis between the two isn’t easy. That’s because while the data behind social media and organic performance tell us that nurturing your social activity will grow your organic results, not many have analysed why.

Unfortunately, you can’t expect to create your social media accounts and have your organic results grow overnight. There is strategy involved and ignoring the strategical element will reflect poorly on your ROI.

The Authority Factor
Authority, or site trust, is recognised as a vital factor for gaining visibility in search engines whether that be via ranks or other placements. Building that authority is a multi-faceted process, and nurturing your social media is only one part of developing that authority in the eyes of search engines. With the increasing integration of social networks into Google – for example, social media profiles in the knowledge graph or tweets within search results – it’s not difficult to draw the conclusion that Google respects the influence a thriving social profile can make to people’s perception of a business.

And that’s not a perception held by search engines – it’s consumer behaviour, too. It’s easier than ever for consumers to conduct research on the businesses they’re purchasing from and one of the first ports of call is an organisation’s social network presence. If you’re not there, you could be losing business before your sales pitch has even started.

The New Link-Building
While links were previously king for driving your website to the top of the search results, they were too easily manipulated. As a result, search engines are clamping down on black-hat tactics and are looking into alternative measures of audience approval for websites, and social media is just one of those new metrics. In fact, it’s arguably easier to grow your link profile via social media compared to traditional methods as much of the work is crowdsourced. You needn’t ask for your link to be shared across the web – it’s just natural behaviour in social networks if your content is social-friendly.

Ripe with Signals for Local
Social Media is especially important for local businesses. Local SEO has a number of signals that are especially nurtured to gain ranking for local queries, or queries affected by a searcher’s detected location, and these signals marry well with the capabilities of social media. Multiplying your online presence with social profiles while help you build a consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) that Google will look upon favourably. Couple this with reviews on platforms such as Facebook and Google+, and you’ll find that your local visibility will grow considerably.

Social Media – It’s Mandatory
No matter the industry you’re in, social media isn’t just an option – it’s an expectation from the customer base, and it can’t be ignored. Not only do you open up a dialogue with your potential and returning customers, you also provide a number of signals to search engines which will aid in growing your search visibility.

At the end of the day, social media is where the conversations are happening and that’s where your business needs to be to flourish in this digital age.