The links between social media marketing and SEO have long been debated, and while there’s no definitive connection between the two (Google, for example, doesn’t factor in Likes and shares on social platforms when ranking pages), social platforms do facilitate content sharing, and help drive traffic – there are various key SEO elements which are very much directly influenced by social media activity.
And now there may be another consideration in this. According to a new report from Red C Marketing, based on eye tracking of over 400 search journeys, 82% of consumers will select a brand that they’re already familiar with in search results, regardless of that brand’s actual ranking within the SERP.
As noted by eConsultancy:
“The study’s findings lend a new weight to the importance of brand trust, brand recognition, advertising, and other off-site factors when it comes to winning clicks on the search results page.”
Essentially, by utilizing social media, and other digital marketing platforms, to help raise brand awareness, you may be helping to influence search behavior, regardless of Google ranking.
There are a couple of key provisos within this – the first being that users in different life stages and age brackets behave differently in this regard.
For example, younger, pre-family participants are the most likely to choose a familiar brand in their search, with 91% making a selection based on familiarity, not on SERP rank. Older users – people with families of their own – referred to the familiar at a slightly lower rate (84%), while the darkly titled ‘post-family’ cohort were most influenced by search rank, with 67% of them opting to choose a brand they knew ahead of other considerations.