You know that having a website for your business is just as vital as having social media pages and other searchable content.

But did you know that Google takes all of this into consideration when deciding where your website gets placed in search rankings?

According to Google Webmaster Matt Cutts:

“Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index. If something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it, we’ll be able to return that in our search results.”

So what does that mean for your small business website? Here are some key takeaways.

1. Social media is volatile, which makes it hard for Google to categorize.

“As far as doing specific work to determine how many followers you have on Twitter or how many likes you have on Facebook, to the best of my knowledge, we don’t currently have any signals like that,” Cutt says.

Why not?

Google has to work hard to crawl all the pages on the Internet — and sometimes they get blocked. When this happens, it makes Google’s engineers jittery. They are wary of crawling a site where they might get blocked again.

2. Google cares that you have a social media presence — but not how large it is.

Whereas Google ranks actual web landing pages of your website, social media content is treated differently. A Tweet on Twitter is a page. A Facebook post is a page. As you can imagine, that leads to a lot of content that Google has to index, which means a lot of posts gets left in the dust.

What you can do is ensure that your social media posts contain links, images, videos and authoritative content. That’s what Google looks for when deciding to index a post.

Final takeaway: Companies should be on social media not to increase web rankings, but to drive qualified traffic and build their brand.

So your company Facebook page may not get you ranked in the No. 1 Google spot. But it will contribute to growing your reputation, the availability of better customer service, developing consumer trust, and getting traffic to your overall website.