It's difficult to think back to a time when social media wasn't in existence. For many, MySpace was their first interaction with social media, and for a long time, it was the big game in town (For an interesting look back at the social media timeline, click here). Today, there are a vast array of ways to keep in touch with your friends, family, and total strangers on the other side of the world.Between posts, feeds, tweets, +1s, and everything in between, there are so many options to let the world know about your business. Often, it's asked if social media actually plays an important role in a company's online marketing campaign.The simple answer is: YES!There are two aspects to look at when it comes to social media within your business. The first is the actual use of social media to connect with and keep in touch with your customers and clients. The other is strictly for SEO purposes.This post is going to focus on the SEO aspects and how it can benefit your company.When it comes to ranking your site in Google, you have to consider that Google is becoming more and more sophisticated in determining what deserves to rank. The idea of something going viral is simply the easiest explanation. When something goes viral, traffic is increasing at the destination. As traffic and on-page engagement increases, your ranking capabilities increase with it.How does this work? Google records a wealth of information about what is going on throughout the internet. They know where you go, how long you spend there, and what you're doing at almost all times. Let's look at two sites: Site A and Site B. Both sites are almost identical to the point where one site would not have an advantage over the other for any reason.Both sites utilize social media in exactly the same manner; however, Site A has a larger following and a better creative team. Every post or tweet from Site A sends is sent to 1,000 followers while Site B only sends to 100. Let's suggest that each post only gets a 10% engagement of sending the followers directly to each site. Once on the site, every user is greeted with a video about the site, a product, or a service. Site A has a video that is 5 minutes long. Site B's video is only 1 minute long.The stats are as follows:Site A - 100 visitors to the site @ 5 minutes per visit Site B - 10 visitors to the site @ 1 minute per visitIn Google's eyes, strictly from an algorithmic point of view, which site appears to have the content that people are looking for?And at the end of the day, Google just wants to display results based on what people are really looking for. High traffic, high dwell time (time spent on a site), and a low bounce rate (bounce rate is how often people leave your site quickly after visiting) are all large factors when it comes to ranking a site. It is indeed possible to rank a site based purely on social media.Again - Is social media important? In an SEO sense, absolutely.