Is social media SEO really a thing, and should I be giving it more of a focus?
We already know that social media marketing is excellent for brand awareness, engagement, website referrals and – when done right – low-cost conversions.
But what if I was to tell you that a carefully thought-out social media strategy could also leverage your SEO strategy?
Every word you tweet, every hashtag you post, and every YouTube video you share could lead toward reaching every SEO dream for your business or marketing campaign.
The link between social media and SEO hasn’t always been clear-cut. Some argue about the impact social media can have on search engine ranking, while others are adamant their Facebook profile is the key to their website success.
The question is? How do you optimise your SEO strategy using Social Media?
The fact is, along the consumer path to purchase, SEO is never quite enough. In all sales, not one channel is enough. An integrated, multi-level approach is always the most effective.
So, let’s deep dive into making sure your social media content is doing the very best it can to optimise your search ranking on engines such as Google.
Why SEO matters
Let’s, for a second, imagine you’re new to the SEO party, and search optimisation makes as much sense as a marmite pasty.
Search Engine Optimisation is how you ensure your website pages show up in major search engines, such as Google, Bing & Yahoo. As SEO experts, we work to increase your organic visibility in the serps (Search Engine Results Pages) and increase your website traffic through many factors.
As Google receives over 77,000 searches per second, making sure your site comes up at the right time for the right people is the name of the game.
Can social media SEO affect Google’s ranking?
How high you appear in searches is determined by many ranking factors, with engines such as Google crawling sites regularly to access relevance to your audience.
So, does social media impact how high your website ranks on Google?
The short, boring answer is no.
The longer, more complicated, but WAY more exciting answer is, yea, it kind of does.
Though social media doesn’t directly influence Google ranking, active social profiles and engaging content do positively affect SEO.
Confused? Let’s dig a bit deeper.
Though Google confirms social media is NOT an SEO ranking factor, there is plenty to suggest that social signals – especially comments and shares – do affect the ranking of a website. The more social activity, the higher a site rank.
This makes sense on many levels:
- Your content is being shared, increasing visibility (in SEO, links & visibility are key)
- Your social media includes quality backlinks to low bounce rate pages such as blogs
- Your social profiles are driving many clicks through to your site, thus increasing traffic.
- Increased brand recognition and reputation are resulting in more organic search.
- Your content is bossing a hashtag (especially if you created it) and mirrors keywords you rank higher on your website too.
- Localised, micro-influencer social media engagement is boosting local SEO
- Continual sharing (in the case of viral) extends the lifespan of blog posts
One point to remember: though Google is the kingpin of search (dominating at least 2/3 of search engine activity), other search engines, such as Bing, DO include social media as a direct ranking factor for SEO.
Why Social Media is Not Ranked on Google
Why doesn’t Google consider social media profiles from Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter when ranking a site?
As any good SEO expert knows, there are many ‘cheat’ practices worth avoiding when trying to rank high on Google.
The fact is, Google doesn’t take the number of social media shares or followers into consideration when ranking a web property because we are now in a world where these can simply be bought.
Social media activity is also incredibly prolific with content; it’s simply impractical to imagine any search engine can keep track fast enough of how often you Tweet; on Instagram alone, there are 95 million posts daily! Pretty sure Google ain’t got time for that kind of crawling!
How a Social Media SEO approach works
So, as we have found, social media – whilst not necessarily being ranked by Google directly – can improve your SEO through quality backlinks, increased brand awareness and making your content go further for longer.
This is largely down to 3 factors:
- Social Media IS Indexed
Ok, we’ve established that search engines cannot keep track of every social media post. It will. However, index content when it is super relevant to a search query, shared extensively, or referred to by many other profiles and websites.
Yes, that’s a tall order for your organic loo roll campaign, but it’s great to know if your super-soft loo roll video goes viral, your SEO will feel the hit too!
2. Social Media DOES build authority
Again, we know that building a successful business is more than just driving visitors to our website and waiting for the sales/bookings to roll in.
If search engines deem your site high value, you are considered to have authority. Whether you have a particular niche or are hyper-focused with your keywords, your quality social media content supports your SEO by proving you walk your talk.
Again, this is a beautiful balance of visibility and backlinks. The more your content is viewed, shared and mentioned, the stronger your authority.
3. Social media brings the HUMAN into SEO
We are geeks, yes. We love apps and stats and handy hacks that turn sad SEO into spectacular SEO!
But all the keywords and backlinks worldwide won’t cut the mustard unless a human-centric approach to digital marketing also supports it.
Bringing brand love, meaningful cross-business connections and producing social media content that gets people genuinely talking (and sharing!) drives the RIGHT audience to your website faster than someone searching one of your keywords might.
Ten ways to Optimise SEO using Social Media
Create to share
If you want your social media to increase your SEO ranking, create content with this goal in mind. Create eye-catching, thought-provoking, sharable content with quality links to increase visibility! Actively ask for shares in your content CTA is obvious but often missed. You are X more likely to receive shares when you ask for them!
Optimise your bio
Ensure your social media profile copy is consistent across all platforms and carefully thought out to utilise keywords. Use hashtags sparingly on profiles such as Twitter, and consider using sites such as Linktree to offer multiple backlinks to content on your website.
Keep social media content regular.
Know your platform and keep a regular, consistent content stream flowing. That means keeping fast-paced social like Twitter or Instagram stories posted several times a day, whilst Linkedin is updated a few times a week.
Integrate your SEO strategy with your Social Strategy
Whatever your business size – whether you have a team of marketing magicians or are managing it all single-handled, make sure all strategies are talking. If your SEO goal this quarter is to drive sales for your new wooden-handled loo brush, build your social plan around all the ways you talk about a wooden-handled loo brush.
Simply put, every word uttered by your brand, whether it’s a website or an Instagram post, should be moving you toward the same outcome.
SEO Keywords and Hashtags
As mentioned above, when choosing your hashtags, marry them up with keywords already existing in your SEO plan. Hashtags are essentially keywords and, when effectively used in your social media strategy, will hugely affect your SEO ranking,
Keep it local
Google knows the importance of locality. After all, when looking for real-life service, we almost always want something on our doorstep.
Build a local element to your social media. Mention and engage with other local businesses, use your location in hashtags, tag your site in posts, and, if you are a brick-and-mortar business, encourage your customers to check in when they visit or buy things from you.
Make it move
Using video content posted on big SEO-friendly sites like YouTube will leverage your social media content on search engines.
Build a Social media feed into your website.
We all know it’s crucial to build your website structure for SEO. Social should not be forgotten here.
A live social media feed not only teases web visitors into your community (thus aiding in building brand love and engagement). Google reads your social feeds like a regular HTML page of a website, so there is an opportunity for improving your ranking in the process.
Great WordPress plugins for Social media feeds include:
- The Walls.io WordPress plugin makes it easy to add your social media feed to WordPress. No programming skills are needed. It only takes a minute.
- TwineSocial provides the tools you need to grow and engage your social audience. Display any social media content on your WordPress site, and drive massive social engagement.
- Smash Balloon is the best social media feeds plugin for WordPress. It’s easy to use and offers powerful features to show social content on your website.
- Feed Them Social also lets you add like or follow buttons to increase followers. Plus, the plugin also allows you auto load more posts when a user is done scrolling.
This is a mega pro for those of you who don’t have lots of time for regular blog posting, as the social feed essentially keeps your website flowing with ‘new’ content.
Build community & conversation around SEO.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, folks! Social media is only effective when you make it social. Just in the same way, SEO is a fluid process of regular check-ins, so too, social media can’t simply be scheduled.
Be present. Engage in conversation, follow the heck out of your SEO keyword hashtags, be the first to arrive when your area of work is trending, and don’t be afraid to start interesting debates that get people chatting. By being active on social media, you can make the keywords you rank highest on something people are actively searching for.
Team up with micro-influencers
Bah, I’m a bit of a Scrooge regarding influencers; it’s true. Despite time and time again seeing brands succeed on social with a bit of help from the latest non-celeb or sports personality, it can sometimes feel icky if a partnership seems paid for.
After all, we’re a pretty down-to-earth bunch and like to keep it accurate.
That being said, I do LOVE meaningful team-ups with micro-influencers – those bossing it in our area of expertise with an organically engaged audience and a great authority on search.
As we have seen above, authority and relevant backlinking underpin the key to improving your SEO with social media. So, what better way to do that than guest blogs, joint giveaways, featured Podcasts, or simply asking your peers to share relevant content with their audience?
As it is often known, social marketing is simply a free and audience-focused approach that benefits all involved and builds actual authority for your brand.
Tip: Use your SEO keywords as hashtag searches on profiles like Twitter and Instagram to find those dominating your area, then delve deeper into the smaller influencers (usually with 800-2500 followers) to find the micro-influencers.
I know what you’re thinking. If only a digital marketing agency could take on my SEO and social media for an integrated approach!
Well, hey, bingo! Our team, spanning Manchester and Cornwall, have the skills and know-how to make your SEO sing.
We can audit your website and social media, suggest changes or take on managing it all so you can get back to running your business the way you do best.