Published June 04th, 2019 by Editorial Team

The Role of Social Media in SEO

“How can people find my business on Google?” That is the internet’s age-old question, and the answer is search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is a digital marketing process that involves “playing” with search engine algorithm factors to make your website rank high on the search engine results page (SERP). It executes strategies that help your website appear on search results pages whenever people look for your industry products or services.

Now, SEO isn’t enough to stay ahead of the curve. To connect with your audience, you need to establish a social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn—these social platforms allow you to speak directly to your customers. If done exceptionally, you can find brand advocates, drive leads, and generate sales through social media marketing.

Social media and SEO go hand in hand. The fundamentals of both marketing strategies are similar: to drive visibility and engagement. Integrating these two together is highly-beneficial for both. But before we dive into the ways social media affects your SEO, let’s get one thing straight:

Google engineer Matt Cutts said they couldn’t rely on social media signals as direct ranking factors. However, some studies prove social media plays a vital role in search engine rankings.

Social media may not have a direct ranking factor for Google and other search engines, but the fact remains: it can significantly influence the ranking signals that Google considers. 

8 Ways Social Media Affects SEO

1. Social media SEO allows content promotion

The most evident role of social media in SEO is the opportunity to promote your website content directly to your followers. Something as simple as writing captions or creating images with snippets from your blog posts can encourage clicks and generate traffic. If your SEO efforts aren’t giving you high returns, and fast, content promotion on your social media profiles can help put your new blog post, products, and services in front of your target audience. If people click your link on Facebook (or other social media platforms) to visit your page, this indicates: 1) they want to read your content, and 2) you get the right traffic that you need.  

2. Search engine spiders crawl social media content

Not everything you tweet or post on social media finds its way to Google’s massive index. But if your social media content is relevant enough for people searching for similar results, it can make a huge difference to your content marketing campaign. Moreover, if your blog article promotion on Facebook or Twitter gains a lot of traction, that effect can be felt in the SERPs, resulting in your blog post ending up in search engines’ index more quickly.  

3. Earn quality external links

Using social media channels to share and promote your content boosts the chances of other websites referring to your content and linking back to it. It encourages more quality external links to your site. This works with an existing or creates high-quality and authoritative content to begin with. Broadcasting the content on your company’s social media networks ensures visibility, reach, and reputation building. When people like the content they read, they’ll share it in their own social accounts or link to it on their blog posts. That’s the power of virality!  

4. Social media profiles rank in search engines

Social media profiles usually pop up among the top results when searching for brand names. For instance, if you look up Hubspot, you’ll find their Twitter profile on the top results, right behind their website. It appears because it’s relevant to the user’s search query. Additionally, Google shows the company’s other social media profile information on the right-hand sidebar at the top of the SERP. This means that your social profiles matter to Google, and especially to users who are searching for your business online. This benefits the searchers as well. When users research a company they know little to nothing about, they can go straight to their social media channels to get a sense of the brand’s identity. Google treats these social media platforms like any other website in terms of ranking signals.  

5. Social media helps grow site authority

Search engines give high regard for websites that have established authority, which is an essential factor in SEO. In Google’s perspective and in other search engines, if your site or domain is of high value, it also has high authority—giving it an excellent chance to place above pages and domains with poor authority. Link building strategies deal with the majority of building authority. But with the rise of social media marketing, a large lump of content online is linked or distributed via social media channels. If your social media channels have an engaged community of followers, that means your content has valuable places to appear in. To put it simply, your influence on social media platforms get extra points and has a direct impact on your website’s authority.  

6. Brand awareness complements SEO

Building a reputation on social media isn’t all for likes, share, and the number of followers. The branding standpoint is one vital aspect to it. But in a bigger picture, social media can also give your SEO efforts a push. Posting valuable and relevant content on your social media regularly, where it can reach thousands or millions of your followers, boosts brand awareness to those who are looking for your products or service. Increased brand awareness means more brand name queries on search engines for your site, possibly resulting in more traffic. Additionally, peer recommendation happens in these social media channels. When someone shares, likes, or tags your brand name in a post, their connections will be able to see it.    

7. Social media networks are search engines, too

Don’t forget that social media platforms have now evolved to search engines in their own respect. People now perform searches beyond Google and other search engines. Many users use social search to find brands and new content, just as they use Google. Roughly 37% of consumers use social media to find out about certain products and services. For instance, when consumers discover your brand profile on Facebook, they can go to the search bar and type in a specific product they’re looking for. If their product pages or posts are keyword optimized, that should appear on the social search results.  

8. Social media sends local-specific signals to search engines

Social media networks allow brands to engage with local communities. After some time, this initiative will send a local-specific authority signal to Google and other search engines. In 2016, Facebook got 2 billion searches per day, clearly indicating the demand for specific information on social media. Engaging with local businesses--participating in local events and collaborating with local brands on social media boosts your local SEO efforts. Hosting live discussions with local companies, sharing one another’s post on social media networks, and guest blogging on each other’s pages promotes your business and attracts local visitors to your website. The relevant engagement and content can then send positive signals to search engines, allowing your site to get indexed faster.  


8 Social Media Strategies to Boost SEO

1. Grow your number of followers

The number of social media followers you have has a significant influence on your search rankings. There’s a massive difference between a shoe brand that only has 100 followers on Twitter, and one with more than a million followers (think Nike). Remember that it’s never a good idea to buy followers. These are mostly fake accounts that don’t drive real engagement and will do nothing for your ranking. So, it’s wise to build your followers organically. It can be a slow process, but it’s worth it. When search engines see millions of quality followers under your brand name, this can positively impact your search engine-worthiness. Increasing your followers require a lot of work. As a business owner, you should consider hiring a social media expert to develop a content plan for your social media posts, present your brand consistently and uniquely, engage with your followers, and build your authority for new followers. To grow your following organically, you need to create real conversations.  

2. Collaborate with influencers for increased brand awareness

Collaborating with an influencer amplifies your brand and promotes to their audience. When their followers see your brand mentioned on their platform, that strengthens your credibility. In fact, 74% of consumers trust social media platforms to base their purchasing decisions on. When influencers review your products on their blog, chances are they’ll link to you. This provides a high-quality backlink for your site. And when people decide to share that post, you have a good chance for other high-authority domains to share it as well. Reach out to influencers on Twitter about their blog post. Building relationship can get you a prized link back from a credible and authoritative site. Also, you can reach out to influencers within your industry niche to talk about collaborating directly with your brand.  

3. Gain inbound links through social promotion

In SEO, building inbound links is essential for enhancing a brand's search visibility and brand awareness. Quality links from authority sites signal search engines that the website content offers value to searchers. Using social media for content promotion encourages inbound links to your content. Promote your SEO-based valuable blog posts, videos, visual content, and other content, on your social media networks. Content that gives users and bloggers credibility just by sharing it helps your brand generate incoming links. It’s a win-win for you and the people or brands who will share it.  

4. Keep social media and SEO keywords in sync

Review your list of SEO keywords and cross-check that against your social keywords. Once you determine the duplicate keywords, use them across all your marketing channels: Facebook’s “about” section, LinkedIn’s company page description, Twitter’s bio, press release headlines, and the works.   Beyond that, include the aligned keywords not only in your digital marketing content pieces (i.e., blog posts, infographics, resource articles), but also in your social media posts, updates, and content promotion copy.  

5. Optimize for searches

This strategy works and relies upon pre-existing content pieces. Google favors viral or popular social media posts in the top ranks of its search results. You’ll need to have a strong anchor for your social post. This can refer to a blog post, an infographic, or a video. This content piece will serve as your basis for your optimization strategies. For instance, if you’ll write a blog post about email marketing trends, you can frame your social post with a specific query like: “Want to get in the know with the latest email marketing trends? We’re spilling the details here in our latest blog post!” Include the keyword phrase in your tweets, Facebooks posts, and LinkedIn updates to maximize your chances of popping up in the search results. You can also use relevant hashtags in your updates to extend your reach to the right audience.  

6. Create locally-optimized posts

As mentioned above, social media sends local-specific authority signals to search engines. It’s only apt that you take this opportunity to optimize for local search through local community engagements. When you collaborate with local businesses in events or activities, document the experience through photos or short video clips to post on your social media channels. You can then craft an engaging caption to invite your local audience to comment, interact, or participate with it in any way (using the hashtag, sharing the post, etc.). This action builds your search visibility in local search. You can also do a bit of research to find local players in your niche and engage with them regularly. You can share, like, and comment on each other’s posts, initiate discussions, and even exchange guest blog posts for sharing on your social media channels.  

7. Encourage social sharing

The number of shares, likes, replies and retweets your post gains all translate to increased authority. If your blog post or video gets ten likes, but it would be a hundred times better if you can drive thousands of people to share it and engage with it. Include direct links to your social media profiles from your webpage and links back to your website from your social media channels. Additionally, you can place social media buttons on your individual blog post pages for easy and quick social sharing. Another way you can encourage this is through offering a reward for followers you share your post like a lottery entry. This applies when you’re hosting giveaways or exclusive promos. The best thing about social sharing is it’s a cycle—the more people who share or interact with your post, the faster it gets out there and the more audience it reaches.  

8. Boost your most-shared content to enhance SEO

Monitor the performance of your posts or content in terms of social shares. The numbers should tell you what type of content your audience values the most. Once you determine your most-shared content, focus on boosting it to drive maximum traffic and improve the authority of your entire domain. This tactic especially works for your evergreen content. You can boost it on your social networks to gain more attention, reach, and shares. This eventually, allows you to earn more engagement, organic traffic, and inbound links.  

Summing It Up

Statistics show that 58% of marketers who’ve been using social media for a year have seen improvements in search engine rankings. Social media may not be a direct ranking factor for Google and other search engines, but it clearly reaps positive results in search rankings. Ignoring social media is most likely a huge mistake.

SEO and social media marketing aim for the same goal: gain authority, establish a reputation, and increase brand reach. Merge the two strategies together; one can significantly impact the other.

These social media channels are the most convenient and accessible places where you can reach your audience, communicate with customers about their concerns, initiate discussions, endorse your products and services, and promote your website content.

Great online marketing techniques rely on strategies that leverage all opportunities. With social media and SEO, these two practices are closely in sync. Social media can help get your brand in front of your target audience, earn you backlinks, and contribute to organic search success. Everywhere!

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