There’s some debate within the search engine optimization (SEO) world about whether or not social signals, that is, your presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Snapchat, have an impact on your overall search results rankings. And like many other issues debated among SEO services, there’s a lot of different opinions.

In fact, there are three correct answers: “No,” “Yes,” and “It Depends.”

Google representatives claim that social signals do not directly factor into their ranking algorithms, at least for the time being. But that doesn’t mean they’re entirely worthless when it comes to your SEO services. Facebook and Twitter are still crawled for content, just like any other site, which means that keeping your profile pages updated, informative, engaging, and full of shareable content is an important search engine optimization strategy.

Additionally, social shares, including retweets, are a lot like link-building, which is probably one of the most crucial SEO services for augmenting your online reputation. These days, a viral Facebook post is just as noteworthy as a major news piece. Whether or not it truly factors into your ranking might be beside the point. Around 70% of active social media users in North America are connected to at least one local business, and the more eyes on your content, the better.

Plus, social media marketing is a powerful tool for branding, advertising, and lead generation. If your social profiles are bringing more traffic to your website, that traffic will act as a ranking signal to Google.

Bing, on the other hand, has said that it does take into account social signals like authority and the number of followers when determining page rankings. Even though Google still dominates the search engine market, you should make sure not to forget about the alternatives out there.

There’s a definite correlation between social signals and ranking signals, but whether one directly influences the other is hard to say. One thing is for sure: there’s certainly no harm in curating a powerful social media presence. Now more than ever, consumers research companies through their Facebook pages or use Instagram to find new local businesses, and it’s important not to discount these sites when coordinating your SEO services.

Social media platforms were built on an ethics of open and direct communication, which is perhaps one of the most valuable branding strategies any local company could hope for. Strong social content goes hand in hand with strong customer service, and at the end of the day, that’s exactly what a successful small business is really all about.