Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media are two important pieces of the digital marketing puzzle. While each piece is shaped by its own benefits and channel-specific strategies, they fit together side-by-side as part of a strong online marketing plan.
In this guide, we’ll talk about the relationship between SEO and social media and give you actionable tips to start improving your business’s organic and social media presence.
The Link Between Social Media and SEO
Before we dive into techniques you can use, let’s briefly explain the connection between social media and SEO in Google’s eyes.
There’s been lots of debate between SEO experts about the role social media plays in search engine optimization. Most of these debates are about social links, and whether or not Google recognizes them as part of their ranking algorithm.
We know that Google uses backlinks as part of their ranking algorithm. Backlinks are links from other websites to your site. For instance, a website could link back to a case study or blog post on your site within its content as a reference or example.
If high-quality, authoritative websites link to your site, Google will view your website as trustworthy. On the other hand, if low-quality websites link to yours, this may hurt your website’s reputation.
Whether or not social links hold this same ranking weight is a bit fuzzy. If someone links to your website from a post on Facebook, will Google assign the same value to that link as it does to a link from a high-quality website?
Even if Google doesn’t officially recognize social media links as part of it’s ranking algorithm, it’s likely that they influence your site in some way. Plus, there are many other ways social media can influence your website’s SEO apart from social links, which makes it a channel you shouldn’t ignore as part of your online marketing strategy.
Here are a few ways to optimize your SEO and social media marketing together.
1.) Optimize Your Social Profiles for Branded Search and Social Search
A search for your business name likely brings up your website alongside any social profiles you’ve created. Your social profiles can appear as links within the main search results, links in your knowledge panel, or links in your Google My Business profile. If an organic searcher visits your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram page through these links, what will they find?
It’s important to optimize your social profiles to ensure brand consistency across all your brand’s online platforms. If someone finds an out-dated or off-brand social page of yours, that can hurt their initial impression of your business. Think about your customer journey, and make sure any touchpoints (including social profiles) are optimized. Here are a couple of guides on how to optimize your Instagram profile and how to optimize your Facebook page.
Traditionally, SEO has been focused on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and has ignored social search capabilities.
Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are search engines themselves! From searching hashtags on Instagram to looking for companies on LinkedIn, there are many ways to find information about a company without turning to one of these traditional search engines.
Having optimized profiles on social sites can help you capture more of this social search traffic. This is especially important for eCommerce companies, as online stores with a social media presence have an average of 32 percent more sales than those that don’t.
Summary: Your social profiles should be on brand and optimized because they can appear in branded search results on Google. It’s also important to optimize these profiles for people using social platforms as a search engine.
1.) Promote Your SEO Content On Your Social Profiles
One of the pillars of a solid SEO strategy is content. The better the content is on your website, the better your chance at SEO Success. Even Google has said that “Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.”
But what is quality content? According to Google, quality content should “contain useful information”, “clearly and accurately describe your topic.” and should be “helpful [and] information-rich”.
Creating this kind of content takes time and effort.
First, you’ll need to figure out what your potential customers are searching for online. This typically involves keyword research, conducting interviews with past/existing clients, and using behavioral data. Figuring out what your audience is truly interested in can be a large task, but it’s critical to make sure that you write content that potential customers truly care about.
Once you have a list of topics you want to write about, crafting compelling content that stands out takes even more time. From data gathering to writing and formatting your content, quality content isn’t something that can be written in a couple of hours.
If you’re taking the time to write this kind of content, promoting it on your social channels will increase its reach. Whether it’s a post on Facebook, LinkedIn, or an Instagram story, incorporating social media into your content promotion strategy can help you get more eyes on the great content you’ve been creating and can help you create more buzz about your company.
2.) Use Organic Visitor Insights in Paid Social Media Campaigns
Sharing data and insights across your SEO and social media strategies is another powerful way these marketing techniques intertwine.
SEO insights, including search terms people are using to find your content, the keywords you show up for in search results, and website user demographics, can all be incorporated into your paid social campaigns.
For example, if you know organic visitors in a certain demographic are high-converting, you can target the same demographic in your paid social campaigns. Sharing this type of conversion information across channels can help you fine-tune your campaigns and increase your social campaign conversion rates.
However, this kind of optimization is dependent on your current website tracking capabilities. With Marketing 360, you’ll be able to see what search terms are bringing organic users to your website, what content they’re viewing the most, and user demographics.
3.) Tie Your Social Media Feed Into Your Website
Constantly posting on social media is key for getting new followers and expanding your social reach. Some say to post 2-10 times a day depending on the size of your current following.
Depending on your SEO content marketing strategy, you may only be posting new content one to three times a week on your website.
Given the shorter length of social posts and the frequency that businesses are posting on their channels, social media is a faster way of getting out content and information than websites are.
Featuring your social feed on your website can give your organic website visitors a glimpse into your business’s day-to-day better then your website can. It can also increase their time-on-site, which is a metric Google considers as part of it’s ranking algorithm.
As people use social media more and more, and as social platforms ramp up their search capabilities, SEO is no longer only about optimizing your website. Integrating your SEO and social media marketing efforts can help you maintain brand consistency across your customer journey and help you build your website’s SEO by getting more eyes and shares on your content.
Try these tips today to integrate these two online marketing tactics.
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