Is social media SEO really a component of effective digital marketing? We know that social media marketing is an effective way to boost the discoverability of your brand online, but do your tweets and infographic posts factor into search engine rankings? As it turns out, the answer to that question depends on which search engine optimization (SEO) expert you ask.
The truth is, social media profiles indeed show up in search results, but there’s much debate about how this form of digital content impacts your business website and how it ranks.
This blog post will help you better understand the connection between social media and SEO, whether it’s a true ranking factor, and how you can use both to give your business presence a significant boost in search algorithms.
Social Media’s Connection With SEO
First and foremost, what exactly is social media SEO? This term refers to how your social media activity influences your website’s organic rankings in search results. Because the relationship between social networks and SEO can be tricky, not everyone believes that the two are connected.
However, there’s no denying that social media signals play a role in boosting visibility, driving traffic, generating leads, and building relationships with people online. Those factors alone make social media marketing a profitable strategy.
With that said, here are a few other things to consider about social media SEO:
•Social Media Profiles Rank in Search Results: Since there’s a good chance your profiles will be popping up on the first page of Google, you’ll want to use them and ensure you’re giving visitors a great first impression of your brand and its content.
•Social Shares Build Backlinks: We all know that backlinks factor into how Google ranks a webpage, and links shared on social media channels could influence your rankings.
•Each Platform is its Own Search Engine: It’s safe to say we’ve all turned to social platforms to conduct searches (especially on Pinterest), making it a great place to create brand awareness.
Is Social Media SEO a Real Ranking Factor?
Back in 2014, Matt Cutts (a former Google team member) stated that social media didn’t have an impact on search rankings. Since then, they haven’t had much to say about the topic. However, research from two big names in the digital marketing world seems to disagree.
A 2018 Hootsuite study claimed social popularity played a role in boosting Google rankings, as did a 2019 study from OptinMonster. The reality is, social media isn’t directly influencing rankings, but rather doing so indirectly because it can impact the ranking factors that Google pays attention to.
It’s also worth mentioning that Google is often changing its algorithm, meaning it could put more weight on social media presence and content in the future. Better to be prepared now!
8 Ways Social Media Impacts a Website’s Rankings
To help you understand social media SEO and its impact on your overall marketing strategy, here are eight ways it can change your site’s rankings for the better.
1. Social Media Can Drive More Traffic to Your Website
There’s no need to rely solely on organic search traffic these days. With so many social media platforms at our disposal, we should be utilizing them as a traffic source. Share posts promoting the content you’ve published so you can drive more visitors back to your website. So, don’t be shy about letting people know what you’ve posted on your site. Someone out there needs what you’ve created.
Although this doesn’t directly impact where you rank in search results, it still tells Google that you’ve created a popular site people love. And at the end of the day, the whole point of social media SEO is to increase your visibility, which this certainly does.
2. More Shares Equal More Backlinks
One thing content marketers can agree on is that backlinks are essential for SEO. When quality sites link to your website, it helps build your backlink profile, which looks good in Google’s eyes. Social media can help generate backlinks if you use it to promote the content on your website. And of course, others sharing your content on social media helps to create more quality backlinks as well.
To encourage people to share your content, the first thing you need to do is create content that’s worth sharing. Cover topics your target audience will be interested in and will tell their friends and followers about. Then, make it easy to share by including social sharing buttons on your website. With a few clicks, they can help spread the word about your fantastic content.
3. Social Media Can Help Get Content Indexed Faster
Those backlinks aren’t just helpful for sending traffic to your website and telling Google that you’re an awesome content creator. Sharing your posts on social media can also help your content get indexed faster, especially if you’re launching a brand new website that doesn’t yet have traffic. Indexing is how a search engine adds web content to its index, allowing it to appear in search engine results. If your content isn’t indexed, no one will see it.
Set up social media accounts on the platforms you’re interested in using and that your target audience is most active on. Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest are all worth considering. From there, you’ll be able to begin generating those backlinks and can accelerate the indexing process.
4. Your Content Will Have a Longer Lifespan
When you’ve worked hard to create an amazing piece of content, you want it to live on forever and continue to bring in traffic for many months (and even years). Luckily, social media sites can assist with this. With social sharing, your content can reach a much wider audience than those already visiting your website. Plus, people can share it with their followers long after publication.
Of course, this is particularly important for evergreen content. Evergreen content applies to blog posts, YouTube videos, and podcast episodes that don’t have expiration dates, and their message lives on and is still relevant for a long time after initial publication. The more evergreen content you can include in your archives, the better.
5. Keywords Your Target Audience is Searching Boosts Awareness
We typically focus on SEO writing when creating content for our blogs, though it doesn’t always come to mind when writing social media posts. It’s important to remember that social media profiles and the content we share can rank for various search terms. That’s why it’s wise to naturally incorporate them into your social media strategy as part of a complete SEO effort.
You can integrate keywords by first optimizing your profile with a bio that features keywords your target audience will likely be searching for. Those exact keywords can be included in individual posts when relevant. This way, your posts may appear in Google search results but will also show up when someone is searching the social media platform for specific content.
6. Social Media Helps Establish Authority and Trust
Through the content you share on social media, people see you as an authority in your field. Once they see you as an authority, they’ll begin to trust you. People love to share content from brands they trust, plus they also are more inclined to purchase their offerings. But the question is, how do you use social media SEO to establish this level of authority and trust?
Well, it’s important to show up consistently by sharing fresh content that’s high quality and of value to your target audience. Consider their pain points and what they most want to hear from you, then write about it on your blog. Use your social media platforms to promote those posts often. And, finally, incorporate relevant keywords to increase the likelihood of being found in search results both on and off Google.
7. Social Media is Great for Building Relationships
Business success is directly related to your relationships with your audience. When people feel connected to you, they’re more likely to engage with and share your content, which is essential for boosting visibility. The brands that are taking the time to reply to their audience on social media are the ones that stand out above the rest.
If you want to nurture online connections, ask questions that get the conversation going. Encourage people to DM you with their thoughts and questions. And you can even join communities where your audience is active to meet and connect with them, whether that’s a Twitter chat or a Facebook group. Building those relationships just might be what attracts someone to you over your competitor.
8. Social Media Metrics Shape Your Content Marketing Strategy
Are you looking to drive new traffic to your website and keep those visitors coming back for more? The best way to do that is to deliver the valuable content they need the most. However, we can sometimes struggle to develop great ideas, particularly when those creative juices seem to have run out.
To alleviate this challenge:
- Let social media SEO inform your keyword research.
- Come up with a list of target keywords related to your brand and the type of content you cover.
- Search those keywords and hashtags on platforms like Twitter and Instagram to see what others share and talk about. The posts you find can help you generate an endless list of ideas you can discuss on your website.
A Few Social Media SEO Best Practices to Keep in Mind
Now, you have a better understanding of what social media SEO is and how it can benefit your website’s rankings. Although we know that social media doesn’t directly impact our position in the search results, it’s clear that there is an indirect influence at play.
If you’re ready to make social media SEO part of your overall marketing strategy, keep these best practices in mind to ensure your long-term success:
•Optimize Your Profile With Keywords: On platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you can add keywords to your display name. These keywords help your profile appear when someone searches for those keywords, whether on the platform or Google. It’s also smart to add keywords to your bio, as this can also help you show up in SERPs. The more discoverable your account is, the better chance you stand at driving traffic to your website.
•Post Consistently for an Active Account: People won’t be inclined to follow or engage with your social media accounts if you aren’t posting there. Determine how frequently you’d like to share content, even if it’s one or two posts per day. Your social signals drive traffic to your site and encourage even more people to share your work.
•Be Patient—Growth Takes Time: Websites don’t explode with traffic overnight. Whether it’s organic search traffic or people who find you through social media SEO, this is something you cannot rush. Keep this in mind when your content isn’t getting thousands of views shortly after its publication. Just keep sharing and trust that the right people will see your content.
•Optimize for local SEO: You have to focus on strategies that allow local customers to discover you for local service companies, like contractors. Your social profiles must be optimized for local SEO, including a keyword-rich description, a clear description of the services you provide, your operating hours, and a business phone number and address (which should match what’s listed on your Google Business Profile).
•Encourage Reviews: One of the most critical aspects of local SEO is having a positive online reputation. Obtaining five-star reviews is an essential part of any business plan, often “making or breaking” a company’s success. Reviews account for thirteen percent of ranking factors for local searches and seven percent of general search ranking factors. Consumers can find reviews on Google Business Profile, Facebook, Yelp, and more.
Need Help With Your Social Media SEO?
Social media is a powerful way to get your brand discovered online and, when paired with an effective SEO strategy, the results are truly unbeatable. There’s no need to wait for people to discover your website and its high-quality content. Instead, be proactive about putting yourself out there and sharing what you’ve created with the world.
If you’re ready to step up your social media presence and boost your search rankings, we can help. Contact us today to discuss our available SEO services.