Time and again the discussion of “does social media signals affect SEO” reignites. There have been countless “case studies” completed but the questions continue to get asked. Note that this is such a strong debate because most websites that have a strong social media profile tend to rank highly in search. Is the reason because they have a strong social media profile? Not necessarily. To answer the question, “Do Instagram likes or followers help with SEO?” we must go back to the roots of the Google algorithm.
The Google algorithm ranks websites based on the quality of the content and what cites or links to that content. When the Google algorithm was first created, a link from any .gov or .edu was extremely valuable. That is no longer the case today. Back in those days, there were no social media sites or apps. Fortunately, Google built into the algorithm that a citation or link can change in value. It is quite possible that if a website got a link from AOL in 2007 it was extremely valuable. That same link today holds less value due to the decline in the AOL brand.
When it comes to social media outlets, everyone asks about Instagram and TikTok. Remember, the value of the link that points to the website is determined by Google’s algorithm. If someone has an extremely popular Instagram account that has links from all the popular news and media outlets, a link on that Instagram account will hold huge value in terms of SEO. But only because the Instagram profile holds SEO value. You cannot simply create an Instagram profile, slap up a link and hope that it will have the same value as Alix Earle’s Instagram profile.
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