The short answer is “yes … but.” I know – there’s always a “but”.

Using social media as a means to drive your website’s search results through Google, Yahoo and other common search engines is still in its relative infancy. And by that, I mean that it’s not yet one of the core ranking factors – like say writing great content or link-building with credible sources. However, this could be changing.

By now you’ve likely heard all about how Google’s magic formula for determining its search results listings is shrouded in deep mystery. And to a large degree that’s still true.

But some internet analysts argue that not only does incorporating social media into your marketing plan and entwining it with your website have a direct impact on your SEO – it is also quickly becoming one of the most important factors. It should come as no surprise then that some are even trying to turn social media into Blackhat SEO.

There are, without question, many valid reasons for jumping in to the social media sphere – if that’s where your target audience is. Social is a great way to engage in a meaningful way with customers and potential customers about your goods and services. It can also be a great way to market toward potential new employees. And it offers an opportunity to fully flesh out your brand.

So adding SEO to the list of benefits only makes the case that much stronger. BUT … (I told you it was coming) … just know your mileage may vary.

And the reason is simple: not every social channel will benefit you – or your website’s SEO.

Common sense says if you are spending time blogging/tweeting/posting to a passive or nonexistent audience – chances are slim they are going to help you build your web reputation and improve your Google standing.

However, if your target audience is part of an active social media community, maintain fully built-out profiles and contribute regularly with meaningful content – well now you may have something to build a marketing strategy around.

So, as with most marketing initiatives, everything (including SEO and social media) still comes down to:

  • identifying your audience
  • targeting your audience
  • engaging your audience
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