It’s no surprise to see that there is a high correlation between social signals and high ranking websites. In light of this let’s take a deeper dive into one of my favorite social signals. Here is a close look at what happens when website visitors use social sharing buttons to like or share your content on Facebook.
Social Sharing Buttons
Let’s start by making sure that we know what social sharing buttons are. These are the images that website visitors can click on to share your content socially. When visitors click on social sharing buttons there is generally a counter that keeps a tally of the total amount of likes, shares, etc. These tallies are the social signals that most believe to have a high correlation with high ranking content.
Social Sharing Actions
There are a plethora of social media sites so there are many ways to configure social sharing buttons. The most common configuration that I see is as follows.
- Tweet content
- Facebook like
- Facebook share
- LinkedIn share
In the example above we are missing the Facebook share option. What I have always found interesting with this social share button configuration is that there are two options for Facebook. So what’s the difference between a “like” and a “share”? Is one better than the other?
A Facebook Like
Let’s take a close look at what happens when you click the like button in a Search Engine Journal article. Here’s what it looks like before you click on the like button.
Here’s what it looks like after I click the like button.
So what happens on Facebook after I click on like.
After you click on like the link to the article appears way down at the bottom left corner of your Facebook page. The link appears in your recent activity box right below whatever music you are currently listening to on Spotify.
A Facebook Share
Now, let’s look at what happens when you click on share in this recent post Vivid Image by Karlie Mosher. Here’s what the social share buttons look like before.
Here’s what it looks like after I click share.
First a box opens allowing me to write whatever I want about the link that I am sharing.
After you write your comment and click on share link here’s where the link appears on Facebook.
The link shows up in my news feed. I can also see that my friend Jackie Kaufenberg also shared the same link. If you are friends with Jackie on Facebook this link will appear like this in your news feed too. This is much more visible than the like button.
Which is Better, a Like or a Share?
Like we said at the beginning of this post both likes and share have a correlation with high ranking websites. With that in mind we could say that either option is great for your website’s SEO, but which one is better for your brand and for website traffic? In my opinion the best option for your site is the share button. Here’s why.
- Shares are more visible on Facebook
- Shares encourage engagement
- Shares encourage Facebook users to click on your link and check out your content
- Shares can lead to more traffic
Keep this in mind while designing your site and configuring your social sharing buttons.