Last Updated on by Karl
The number of worldwide users is 3.196 billion in 2018. The uninitiated may think social media is simply a way for people to stay in touch. While it is that, it’s also a powerful tool to help you with your marketing, SEO included.
True, people interact with social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram differently than they do with search engines. Yet, the results of both are the same in some ways. Content is filtered, links are shared, and the most trusted sites get the most traffic. You could even say that social media is the new frontier for SEO.
Together social media and SEO will complement and enhance your efforts in both areas. Social media content, for instance, can amplify your SEO campaign with content that is optimized for keywords and by generating more backlinks.
Let’s take a look at how your social media strategy can improve your rankings in the search engines:
1. Increasing the Visibility of Your Content
Although indirectly, social media can help your SEO through content promotion. No matter how great and keyword-optimized your content is, if it isn’t reaching your target audience it’s of little use. Social media allows you to take all of your quality content and promote it on a multitude of channels.
Social media platforms give your content a new stage to encourage discussions. Take Facebook, for example, where the consumption of content has grown by 57%. The same study also reported that 76% of people use their Facebook feed to find interesting content.
Tools like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter are some of the easiest and most effective channels to push SEO content. Incoming links from your shares on social media may not be as impactful as high-quality backlinks. They can, however, improve your bounce rate and engagement rate.
The biggest advantage of social media as a marketing channel is that it allows you to disseminate content to a large audience. By promoting your content on social platforms, your content can reach a lot of new people who may share it further.
Social reach alone may not be much good for your SEO. But every reader could be a writer or editor who can provide you with natural links to your site in their content. Social sharing broadens and improves your inbound link potential.
Google has started to index content from Twitter and Facebook, with other platforms likely to follow. Timed right, if your content is relevant, it will turn up as one of the top search results. Thus, posting on social media can open the way for further visibility on these platforms.
TEDx does a brilliant job with their social media campaigns to leverage all of these aspects. Not only do they create informative content but also turn it into something sensational that gets everyone talking. They’re always pushing snippets of information through bite-sized videos across social media. Just have a look at their Twitter page, for instance.
Reinforce Backlinks and Guest Posts with Social Sharing
Social channels are a way for search engines to establish that something is spreading around the Internet. You have to share all guest posts or other syndicated content links to followers and preferably re-shared to increase the potential of backlinks.
Image via Twitter
2. Better Link Building
Relevance and authority are two key factors search engines like Google consider when ranking search results. Relevance deals with how appropriately an entry meets the criteria of a search result. While authority deals with how trustworthy the source might be. Authority, for the most part, is determined by the number and quality of the inbound links your page has.
Although the science behind the effect of backlinks on search rankings has evolved in recent years, it still plays an integral role. The number of quality backlinks you have can make or break your search rankings. Consequently, link earning and building is a tactic widely used by marketers.
A wider audience is the single most important reason why your social media pages are the perfect staging ground to earn quality backlinks. That’s because social media operates as a great syndication platform.
The logic behind all of this is fairly simple. Social media tools help people to stay connected and share their stories. For brands, that equates to sharing their best content and fostering relationships with their target audience.
Engaging content leads to more shares, resulting in more opportunities for people to find and provide links to your content. In fact, in a Q&A session, Andrey Lipattsev, Google Ireland’s senior strategist, revealed Google’s top 2 ranking factors. In his own words – “It’s content, and links pointing to your site.”
Content sharing on social media can also result in authentic, high-quality backlinks from prominent and influential websites. Influencers tend to use social media tools as much as, if not more than normal users. If your content is circulating in the same circles they are in; chances are they’ll come across it and link their blog posts to it.
The thing is that this kind of high-quality link building from influencers would be virtually impossible if not for social media. That’s why it’s important to have an active social media page – to build a more diverse and authentic link profile. The more authority you gain, the more it improves your SEO.
Check out what National Geographic did for Microsoft last year on the occasion of International Women’s Day. A variety of Nat Geo channels on Instagram posted inspirational stories about Microsoft empowering women. Given the context of the posts, the authority of the posters, and the emotional connections, these definitely qualify as high-value backlinks.
Image via Instagram
3. Improving Brand Awareness
Another important way that social media contributes to your SEO is by increasing your brand awareness. At first glance, it may seem like more of a branding advantage than SEO. While that’s true that social media has amazing benefits for branding, indirectly, it can do a lot for your SEO too.
Social media is another digital channel for your target audience to seek you out and engage with you. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to build your audience, and more importantly, your brand. The more that happens, the more people recognize you in search results and the more inclined they’ll be to click-through.
That increased brand awareness you’ve built on social media results in more organic search traffic for your pages. Considering that these things contribute to your rank in branded searches, your SEO will only have one way to go – up.
Seeing as the ultimate goal of all of this effort is to increase your sales, why not kill two birds with one stone? Generating informative brand and product content and sharing it on your social media is the way to go. Consumers want to make informed and educated purchase decisions. And what better way to help them do that than by giving them what they want?
How? Collaborate with your influencers to come up with useful and informative brand content, product descriptions, and reviews. Not only will this type of content contribute to your brand awareness and outreach, but it will also help customers make that final purchase decision. These could take the form of blog posts or videos.
90% of people read online reviews, and 85% trust them. Pair that with the fact that Facebook and YouTube were found to be the most influential social channels. With 19% of consumers basing purchase decisions on Facebook posts followed by 18% for YouTube. Brand content like this is effective and should be part of your social media strategy.
An increase in branded searches also increases the likelihood of you ranking well for non-branded keywords. Just look at what Blendtec did. Founder, Tom Dickson had a major marketing problem on his hands seeing as nobody wanted to buy blenders from him. Despite his claim that they were the best blenders around, capable of blending everything.
Image via YouTube
His solution? Proving that they could, indeed, blend anything. He came up a with a series of videos demonstrating the destructive prowess of his blenders. From iPhones to glow sticks, his videos went viral. As a result, Blendtec’s brand awareness and outreach went through the roof.
4. By Measuring and Optimizing
That which can be measured can be improved. To get the most out of your social media campaigns, it’s critical that you regularly monitor and adjust your strategies. There are numerous metrics you can use to measure the impact social media is having on your search visibility.
The first set of metrics you should be monitoring includes comments, shares, and brand mentions. Higher numbers mean more relevance and authority – two major driving factors for SEO. Increased credibility will have a positive impact on your search rankings.
The second set of metrics you have to look at relate to the impact social media has on your website. They include such things as visibility levels in search engine rankings, site traffic associated with it, and conversion rates. Lastly, it’s worth conducting an overall sentiment analysis, to check the impact on traffic, ranking, and sales.
To understand which of your social media efforts are improving your SEO, you need to be able to measure these metrics. To help you do so, there are tools like Pro Rank Tracker. Such tools provide you with easy to understand reports on your SEO rankings from which you can draw actionable insights.
Image via Pro Rank Tracker
Only after you know what is working for you, and what isn’t can you tweak and optimize your social media efforts. Getting the most out of your social media campaigns is an iterative process that involves measuring and adapting it.
Like I mentioned earlier, social media works a lot like the search engines. Therefore, it’s imperative that you craft posts keeping both SEO and your target audience in mind. Additionally, optimizing your social media profiles will also benefit your rankings. While these may seem like minor details in the grand scheme of SEO, they add up to make a significant difference.
5. Going Mobile, Local, and Social
StatCounter reported that mobile devices had overtaken desktops in internet usage. In fact, smartphone users spent the bulk of their time on social apps, portals, and on search engines. Mobile adoption served as a prompt for 62% of marketers who optimized their blogs for mobile to boost SEO.
Google, for instance, is switching to a mobile-first index. The links and content to your mobile site, plus other factors like user experience and speed will be rank driving factors.
76% of people who search for something nearby, on smartphones, visit a related business that same day. 28% of these searches end in a purchase. Given these numbers, mobile searches cannot be ignored, especially by retail brands.
To create a meaningful local presence, it’s important that you optimize your local listings on directories, search engines, and review sites. In this regard, Google and Yelp are the two most important platforms you need to take care of.
Once claimed, populate your profiles on these platforms with relevant content. Then monitor and update them regularly. You can even optimize your website for local searches and utilize Google Maps to provide driving directions.
To gain some positive press, you can even work with your local media. Media outlets often post stories online which can link back to your profiles on social media. Produced professionally, and coming from such credible sources, they are a recipe for more shares and better rankings.
Integrate Your Social Media and SEO
Social media doesn’t just work to improve your organic search rankings. It has a host of other benefits that your business can leverage. Here's an actionable step by step guide how to create your social media strategy?
Although the two are quite different, integrate your social media marketing and SEO efforts. Primarily because they can help each other. It’s a trend that’s catching on, and you should jump on the bandwagon as it’s worth a shot. If you know any other ways social media can help SEO efforts, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.
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