Should businesses be thinking of social media and social media SEO as two completely separate domains? Is the importance of social media in SEO greater than commonly thought? Some marketers go so far as to use the term “social media SEO,” referring to how social channels can support search engine optimization efforts. Let’s say you’re using content marketing to attract more site traffic. Well, chances are you’re putting lots of your effort into your Blog SEO strategy.
Of course, you’re also posting that content to your social media profiles, but for many, it’s a half-hearted attempt to engage people. The truth is, both SEO and social media require a significant investment to do well; many businesses choose to focus on one or the other. As of today, SEO still remains a mysterious and ever-changing web auditing strategy.
It can be difficult to understand which keywords to prioritize to drive traffic and conversions. For this reason, that’s where the likes of HubSpot SEO Tools come in. As a result, you’ll get actionable recommendations on how to optimize your site for SEO, ranked in priority order to show which optimizations will have the most impact on your overall site in search.
See exactly which pages need to be updated, what actions should be taken, and watch as your site’s SEO improves. Monitor brand mentions and relevant conversations, track engagements automatically and schedule your social posts to be published when the right people will see them. That said, let’s look at what social media SEO is and its impacts.
What Is Social Media SEO?
Social Media SEO refers to how social media activities can boost your website’s organic traffic through search engines like Google or Bing. But, social media is important for SEO in more than one way. It not only makes your SEO activities effective but also lucrative. Of course, yes, social media and SEO might look different, but there’s no doubt they help each other.
However, contrary to popular belief, social media doesn’t directly contribute to SEO. In other words, social media signals don’t directly help your search engine rankings. The links that you share on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest may help your brand get more exposure, yes. But, they aren’t seen by Google or Bing’s algorithm as a ranking signal. Now, here’s the thing.
Even though social media is not a ranking factor on a superficial level, it has significance if you look deeper. Indirectly, it does have a positive effect on a page’s search ranking. So yes, there is a definite correlation between a site’s position in the SERPs and the number of social signals it has.
If you study the websites that hold top-ranking positions in Google searches, you will find many of them have strong social signals. So if you, as a marketer, are investing in a social media marketing strategy, then you are in essence also improving your chances of performing well in the search engines. But, does Social Media really affect SEO in any way?
How Social Media Affects SEO
First of all, does Google crawl and index social media profiles/pages from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn? Of course, it does. Does it view a piece of content and the links published on them any differently? No, it treats them like a regular HTML page of a website. Coming to social signals, Google doesn’t take the number of social media shares or followers into consideration.
More so, when ranking a web property. Simply, because it would be too easy for anyone to cheat the system and have an undeserving site ranked higher than a deserving one. Also, it’s important to note that social media shares happen 24/7. And they take place quicker than Google can catch up, which makes it difficult for the search engine giant to crawl and keep track of them.
We do not know how much data Google has access to from the major “must-login” social media sites, and we’re not sure if they use it for ranking purposes. What we do know is social media plays an indirect role in helping people find your brand in the search engine results. And for now, that’s all that matters.
The relationship between SEO and social media is not immediately apparent. Social media does not play a direct role in optimizing a page or a site for search. But, a strong social media presence can affect your SEO efforts in three very important ways. For instance, it increases E-A-T, strengthens branded search results, and helps you build links.
(a) How It Increases Your E-A-T
An active, engaged social media presence can increase your E-A-T, which helps with search engine optimization. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness — three factors that many Search Engine Results Page (SERP) bots like Google or Bing consider when determining where to rank a page in their search engines.
Building your brand presence can help, especially with authoritativeness, or perceived reliability. If you have a lot of active followers, it’s a signal that helps Google and social media – it shows people consider you a valuable resource.
(b) How It Strengthens Search Results
Social media SEO also comes into play when someone searches for your brand. Obviously, because social media profiles can show up on search engine results pages. What if your Twitter profile pops up when someone searches for you? But unfortunately, your profile looks dormant? Well, it can reflect very poorly on your overall brand image.
This is a missed opportunity to build trustworthiness. And, it can even make a potential customer reconsider doing business with you. Who’s to say you’ll answer customer service queries if you’re not even tending to your own profiles?
(c) How It Extends Reach & Backlinks
Equally important, social media SEO can be a very effective distribution channel for content. More so, if your website has already an engaged audience of followers. When you share your content on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, for example, a highly engaged audience will be more likely to click through and read your posts.
Aside from immediate traffic, this engaged audience can help distribute your content further by sharing it. The more people see your content, the more likely your content will be linked to, which is a major ranking factor for SEO. These benefits can be quite powerful.
But, creating a strong social media presence is a challenge for many businesses that have focused on SEO first. Why? It may come down to the content itself. Listening to the cues on social media can help a business improve its content for SEO, too. And now, let’s learn the benefits of Social Media in SEO.
How Does Social Media Help In SEO?
Hiten Shah, a prolific author, and content marketer says, “There’s a tension between search and quality, and when people focus on SEO early on, quality tends to drop.” He recommends making sure you’re producing the highest-quality content you can before optimizing distribution and investing in SEO. Social media can act as a control litmus test.
A litmus test that helps you see whether your content is hitting a nerve or proving useful to your audience. It can be an important indicator that your blog is on the right track. “Before your content ranks high in a search engine’s index, social is a key channel for distribution,” Shah says. “It allows you to leverage networks, and build up backlinks for SEO.”
He notes that among the blogs he examined in his research that had not yet reached 150,000 visits per month, social media played a fairly large role in bringing traffic to a site. If you’re not seeing engagement on your social media channels, it may be worth looking at the quality of the content you’re producing.
More so, in order to understand why it may not be resonating with readers. Now that it is established that social media isn’t a direct Google ranking factor, below are five ways social media actually does help you rank better.
(1) You’ll Get More Quality Links
Backlinks have always been one of the most important Google ranking factors. Both, the quality and the number of backlinks have a strong effect on how well your site ranks. By focusing your efforts on better social media marketing, you are more likely to attract the right type of backlink opportunities. Content with a higher number of shares gets noticed.
Not only by influencers/power users but also by many relevant webmasters/bloggers who might want to link to you. According to a study conducted by Dan Zarrella of HubSpot, there is a definite, positive correlation between the number of social media shares your content has and the number of backlinks.
Gone are the days when social media was only about shares. Today, it’s about making leverage. It’s about making your content engaging enough so that it is shared and seen not just by anybody, but by the right people. Given that you are publishing and sharing high-quality content on social media, your content should be able to generate a higher amount of engagement and backlinks.
(2) Build A Strong Following
Creating a great product is obviously the first step towards achieving great marketing goals. However, in order to truly call your product or service a success, it is important to spread the word about it amongst your target audience.
Especially, the early adopters. Always remember, if your audience doesn’t know about your offering, it’s as good as not having it. The marketplace of today is highly competitive where businesses are ready to make a real investment to get their share of the pie. This is why you have to put in the needed extra effort to actively reach out to your target audience.
And, the more proactive you are in your approach, the better results you will see. Social media makes it easy for you to build your web presence. It lets you connect to an audience that is not only ready to hear from you but also wants to do business with you. Nowadays, most online users have some kind of social media presence.
Thus, it’s just about finding the best social media platforms your target audience hangs out with the most. And then working on producing social content that gets you to connect with them on a certain emotional level.
(3) Increase The Branded Searches Number
Growing your audience and building a strong brand is a huge part of any online marketing campaign, social media marketing being no different. Your social media profiles and pages help you create a relationship with your chosen set audience. With your constant social media updates and by supplying quality information to them on a regular basis, they recognize your brand.
They know who you are and what kind of content you create. And start seeing you as a trusted source. When done right, social media marketing helps you grow your brand awareness. When more people become aware of your product or service, you’ll find more of them clicking on your content in the search engine result pages.
Since Google and other search engines give immense importance to click-through rates, this can significantly impact your rankings and increase your visibility. Also, keep in mind that these clicks are far more valuable in the eyes of the big G because they have a lower bounce rate.
Why? Because these people are already aware of your brand, which means, fewer of them are going to hit the “back” button once they visit your page. Since bounce rate does correlate to the ranking of a website, lowering it gives you an edge over other competing sites.’
(4) You’ll Tap Into Local Search
If you’re a small or a medium-sized business with a physical address, you cannot and should not ignore the power of local SEO. Google knows the importance of geography and its relevance to giving people a better user experience. With a large majority of Internet users searching for local businesses on their mobile devices, local searches are bound to grow.
So, make sure to keep every profile updated with your current address, phone number, company name, etc. Have the same information across all profiles, which should in turn match with the information on your site. Or else you may experience lower rankings and miss out on potential customers.
(5) Learn What Your Audience Wants
While the importance of a keyword strategy in SEO remains the same, the way they’re being researched has evolved over the years. Today, finding and selecting the right keywords involves a strong understanding of “user’s intent”. Without understanding the intention of the searcher, the chosen keywords may not give you the results you’re looking for.
If you search for “landscape photography”, Google wants to know why you did so in order to serve the most relevant results. Are you interested in learning how to photograph various landscapes? Or you’re only interested in reading more about it? There are many ways to learn about what your audience wants, such as email surveys.
But, you can do the same with social listening. By tracking and looking into the various types of conversations your audience is having on social media, you can gain insights into their needs and wants. This can help you create content that caters to their needs, which in turn gives Google and other search engines what they’re looking for.
(6) You Can Gauge What Resonates With Your Audience
There are various Social Media SEO Tools that can greatly help you plan your content. Particularly, by showing you what resonates with your audience. For instance, you can utilize clues from social media engagement in this case.
For they can greatly help you understand what people really want to learn from you. Again, to see the topics and articles that are stirring shares and comments in your industry, try the Content Exploration Tool by Alexa. Whereby, when you input a keyword, it shows the most successful content based on aggregated social engagement.
You can also input a competitor’s site to see their most popular content and get a sense of what other businesses are doing in your industry. Begin with the Audience Overlap Tool to find sites that you compete with. And then, run those sites into the Site Comparisons Tool to see which ones are doing well on social.
The Best Practices To Increase Your Online Brand Presence
SEO efforts tend to primarily involve creating content once your site architecture is optimized. Then, distribution happens passively, relying on searchers to find your content. Many marketers have recognized the need to actively promote their content, as this helps increase reach and accelerate results.
There’s, even more, to know about your online web presence. According to the 2020 B2B Content Marketing Report by the Content Marketing Institute, 46% of B2B marketers expect to prioritize improving their content distribution and promotion by 2022. And 34% say increasing the size of their audience will also be a priority.
In fact, Derek Halpern of Social Triggers says you should be spending 80% of your efforts on content promotion and only 20% on creating it. Whilst, Neil Patel, the serial entrepreneur, and online marketer advise spending at least half of your time on content promotion. For this reason, social media remains such a key channel for tuning into how your readers receive your content.
Therefore, it makes sense to optimize it for even greater reach. Consider what you might need to invest to incorporate the following social media activities into your content marketing:
#1: Grow Your Social Media Audience
For social media to be an effective distribution channel for your content, you need an active, engaged audience. To build engagement, focus on building relationships and engaging in others’ discussions, not just posting your own content. Below are some of the key activities that can help you create a presence that people will want to connect and engage with.
Consider the following:
- Like and share content from others in your industry. This will make others more likely to do the same for you. Plus, it shows you are tuned into the industry.
- Answer questions related to your product or industry on platforms like Quora and Reddit. This helps establish your brand as knowledgeable and interested in the issues people face in your space.
- Participate in Slack channels, LinkedIn groups, and other industry-specific forums where potential customers can see your answers.
- Encourage user-generated content (UGC) on your social media profiles. In a Curalate survey of social media and shopping habits, 50% of respondents said that UGC, such as images from customers who had bought the product, could entice them to buy it through the brand’s social media channels.
- Guest publish on websites that promote their guest posts enthusiastically. This can help you piggyback off of their audiences for more exposure.
By the same token, you should also encourage guests posting on your blog from other companies or micro-influencers who enjoy high engagement on social media. They will usually be glad to help promote their work on your site. And, as your presence grows, you will gain a bigger audience to help with distribution for your subsequent pieces of content.
#2: Start Publishing High-Quality Content
Search engine optimization is no longer what it used to be. It’s a lot more mature and approachable. If you want your social media content to rank for the right keywords, you’ll need to focus on creating fresh, original content that gives immense value to your target audience. Forget about keyword stuffing on your social content strategy.
Instead, focus on producing content that naturally attracts links, gives people exactly what they’re looking for, and climbs the search engine ladder effortlessly. The most important step to publishing high-quality content is to get into the shoes of your target audience and understand what they’re looking for. However, it’s not just about who you share your content with.
But, it’s also about what you’re sharing. It has to be useful or resourceful in some way to your potential customers or prospects. To learn more about why you need to publish quality content, you can read more about the top 25 benefits of content marketing in detail.
#3: Maximize Your Social Media Content Distribution
The larger your audience, the greater the potential shares and interactions for your content. You should check to make sure you’re including some of these activities below when you post to social media channels too.
Consider the following:
- Repackage content so you can post it multiple times. This might mean creating different images or calling out different aspects of the article each time.
- Advertise on social media channels to gain exposure. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 72% of B2B marketers use paid advertising on social media channels to promote their content. Test it for your content if you haven’t tried putting money behind posts yet.
- Direct message and/or tag people you’ve linked to in your content. Even well-known experts are often glad to have the mention, and they may decide to share it with their following, too.
- Reach out to others for their opinions on a topic via social media, and then include their quotes in your content. This can be a win-win because they also get exposure.
- Consider staggering your promotion for each piece across different channels to create a longer runway of engagement. For example, start with Facebook, and then, a few weeks later, promote your piece on Twitter rather than posting the same material to each channel all at once.
Circling back to Hiten Shah’s research, we can see that as blogs mature, they go on to secure a greater percentage of traffic from organic search. When you think about how social media can impact search.
More so, by improving authoritativeness, increasing brand awareness, growing links — it’s no wonder that social media engagement happens first. Your investment may just be the catalyst that helps improve SEO results down the road.
#4: Make Your Site Social Sharing Easy
The purpose of encouraging social sharing is to ensure your content reaches more people. Your target audience already has the need for the content you’re creating. By connecting your brand to a larger segment of the social web through targeted content, you increase the reach of your message.
As a result, it also improves the brand’s visibility. In order to make it easy for people to share your content on social media, you have to go beyond just adding social media buttons to your site. You have to work on making your content helpful, entertaining, and enticing enough to have them talk about it. You have to motivate people to share your content too.
And, while there are many factors that negatively impact your social media SEO results, one which is obvious is not optimizing your social media profiles. As a social media management company that has been working with hundreds of clients over the years, we know that you want more people to find your brand when they search.
By optimizing your profiles with relevant content you create multiple “doorways” for people to learn about you and your business. Making sure your social profiles are consistent with your website is the easiest way to rank and dominate the search engine result pages, which equals a higher number of clicks and increased organic traffic.
#5: Optimize Your Web Images For Both SEO & Social
In reality, images are powerful when it comes to conveying a message and expressing your thoughts. But, there’s another area where they play a key role and that’s non-other than search engine optimization. That’s right – if you’ve been ignoring images in favor of text, you’re making a mistake.
The fact is, images can have a strong impact on helping you drive organic traffic to your site if you manage to optimize them well. Start off by optimizing your images for search by using the keyword in the file name, adding the right alt text, and using relevant surrounding text.
At the same time, you have to optimize them for social sharing by making sure they’re inspiring, are in the right format, and are posted on all the social media platforms your brand is on. These things may look simple or trivial but they make a big difference in the long run.
#6: Engage In Active Social Conversations
Building a relationship with your target audience is the first step to understanding their demands. Using social media, it becomes easy to create and nurture relationships by engaging in relevant conversations with your audience. But, you don’t have to wait for it to happen.
As a brand, you can ask questions, post useful information, reply to queries, or use trending hashtags. Your aim should be to respond to any comments as soon as possible to create a positive impression. Always make sure you are there for them when they need you.
Likewise, when you converse with your followers, the sense of community grows, leading to a stronger bonding. These interactive conversations are a crucial part of your social media SEO efforts. For one thing, they help you build authority while delivering value. And what would you get from being an authority in your industry?
For instance, when your company makes a press release or an announcement, the news sites will often feature the news. And these news sites will eventually share it on their social media accounts.
Aside from your brand’s audience, their followers will see the news too and would possibly share it with other people. You see, the impact of the news will be much bigger. If it all goes well, your audience will also be more than willing to do some “word of mouth” marketing for your brand.
As more people trust you on social media, you may see the impact on your SEO due to the positive mentions that you would earn on blogs and websites. This may seem like a slow strategy, but it’s worth it in the long run.
#7: Use A Good Social Media Engagement Strategy
Important to realize, social media engagement is more than just the accumulation of followers across social platforms. Moreover, businesses that focus on building their social media engagement can highly benefit from better marketing reach and ROI. Not to mention, a greater brand reputation awareness makes it easier to attract new customers.
Notably, social media engagement conversations can take place on individual social media platforms. Such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, through blog posts, web forums, third-party review sites, etc. Whereas, a strong social media engagement strategy allows businesses to remain in constant contact with their customers.
For instance, by advancing brand interests and responding to feedback in a seamless cycle. In other words, social media engagement (also social involvement, social participation) refers to one’s degree of participation in a community or society. Most companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media.
Luckily, those customers end up spending 20% to 40%. That’s more than the intended money with a socially engaging company. That said, you can read and learn about the best social media engagement strategy in detail.
#8: Utilize The Social Media Analytics Tools
Social media analytics tools are usually used to complement social media management tools. The latter lets you plan and schedule your social media content while the former enables you to measure the performance and informs your strategy.
First of all, if you’re responsible for your brand’s social media analysis, you have a lot of explaining to do. Simply, because your business’ ability to build a following and convert customers means answering questions backed up by data. Secondly, you’ll need to ask and answer a few questions in regards to your Social Media Analytics long-lasting goals.
- which social network deserves the bulk of your time and budget?
- what are your top-performing pieces of content?
- what’s the overall impact of your brand’s social presence on your business?
On top of answering these questions, according to a 2019 Social Index Research, 63% of marketers discuss social ROI with their bosses. More so, in order to justify their spending for campaigns.
By any cost, measuring the ROI of social media is still a thorn in the side of so many marketers. It doesn’t have to be, though. Whether you’re laser-focused on a single channel or need an all-purpose solution, the right social media tools can give you the analytical answers you need to grow your brand. Below are a few tools you can utilize to analyze your social.
These Tools Include:
- Sprout Social
- Google Analytics
- Shield App
Wait a minute! What about native social media data analysis tools? Hey, fair question. Sure, there are valuable insights you can glean from Facebook or Instagram’s Audience Insights, for example, to gather some data.
The reality, though? Sticking solely to native tools limits what you can learn about your social presence. Not only can third-party social media analytics tools provide you with more data, but multi-purpose tools like Sprout Social mean that you don’t have to bounce between platforms. In addition to saving time, you’ll see how well your campaign numbers rise.
You’ll see how they are stacking up across platforms with no second-guessing involved. Generally, what your brand needs in terms of analytics will obviously vary from business to business. That said, you’ll need to adopt a “the more, the merrier” mentality when it comes to gathering data.
#9: Track Your Overall Social Media Performance
Making your SEO & social media efforts pay off requires you to know where you’re going. More so, by tracking and measuring your overall social media progress. Regardless of your marketing goals, by measuring and analyzing your actions and their results, you can get better results. The last thing you want is to put your efforts in the wrong direction.
Proper tracking and analyzing of your social media KPIs lets you understand what’s working and what’s not. Eventually, in order for you to focus your efforts on improving the right metrics. In other words, it’s very important to measure the metrics that according to you are helpful. That’s if your goal is to keep track of the number of social media shares per post.
Or rather, if your goal is to see how much social referral traffic you’re generating. Thus, it’s quite important to know where you start your journey. Meaning, before you jump on the social media SEO bandwagon, be clear about your actions, and how you will measure them. In other words, let go of any guesswork and move your attention towards data.
#10: Start Managing Your Social Profiles Better
Of course, last but not least, social media has created quite an unprecedented opportunity for many brands. For sure, it plays quite a key role in the overall online business presence, reputation, and even awareness. And now, if you have not been managing your social media accounts — from your personal accounts to those of your brand — well, it’s time.
To enumerate, social media management is the process of creating, publishing, promoting, and managing content across social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest. And the easiest way to view it is to at least consider that it includes three major disciplines. Some of which we have already looked at herein.
The key disciplines include:
A social media management plan allows you to;
- Easily engage directly with your lead customers
- Increase your overall online web business presence
- Handle any related customer complaints expediently
- Uncover valuable insights about your target buyers’ persona
- It is a great way to increase your brand reputation and even awareness
- Learn how your consumers view your products, services, and even your brand
- Develop a stronger consumer value proposition by putting your brand out there
- It’s also a great means to show your lead prospects and customers that you care
Basically, social media management touches on a number of important elements. In nutshell, all of which form part of a well-structured digital marketing strategy. Not forgetting, managing your business’s social media accounts can benefit you or even your brand quite a lot. Together, these benefits also help socially active brands build better solutions.
Overall, your working digital marketing strategy addresses how your brand will position itself online to generate more business. Be that as it may, all these tools help to know how a brand is performing and the areas to choose to be more productive. In addition, they also help you learn how to grow an online business and attract more followers.
Having said that, Hootsuite is a very great social media management platform that you can start off with. It covers almost every key role and aspect of a social media marketer or manager. And with just one platform, its users are able to do very simple and basic kinds of stuff.
A strong social media presence can prove golden for helping you promote your content. For example, the greatest value that social media brings to SEO practitioners may be its feedback cues. For one, it lets you know quickly whether your content is on track by showing how people react to it.
Content that is purely optimized for search can take on a mechanical, lifeless feel. When you consider how content will be received on social media, it immediately pulls you into the human side. This can inject your writing with a more user-friendly voice. In the long run, this will improve how it’s received by people who find it via search, too.
With this view in mind, you may not even need to increase your investment in social media right away. Not yet! But, rather change how you look at it. Use it to gauge how your audience feels about your content. If you run a site, you should also consider Business Blogging too. This is a marketing tactic that uses blogging to get your business more online visibility.
A business blog is a marketing channel (just like social media, direct mail, email marketing, etc.) that helps support business growth. Often, business blogging entails the process of creating relevant contextual and well-written articles.
Always remember, if you’re not seeing reactions like shares and clicks to your site, consider digging further to find the topics and angles that will appeal to your readers. By building brand awareness on social media, you’ll have more people specifically searching for your brand.
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A good social media strategy goes on to boost the organic search traffic to your website as well as your social media pages/profiles. Once you’re confident that your content is resonating with your audience, then it’s time to think about investing more in social media as a distribution channel to complement your SEO efforts.
But, if you’ll need more support, you can Consult Us to help you in incorporating your social media efforts and SEO efforts. In detail, we’ll let you know and learn how our Technical SEO packages can help your business. After all, the Social Media SEO guide above is just enough for you to get started. You can also lookout for more Social Media Tips from our weblog.