Social media is no longer the water cooler for the world’s digital office. It’s become the town square, where people flock to find friends, entertainment options and even goods and services. It’s also a growing factor in search engine optimization for your brand — directly and indirectly.
Read on to find out how social media SEO may be impacting your placement in the search results in 2019, and get some digital marketing advice from experts using social networks to get ahead online.
4 Ways Social Media Impacts SEO
Social media has become much more than a place to find friends’ photos or spill the tea about certain celebrities or last night’s disappointing television finale (GoT, we’re looking at you). Here are four ways your social media profiles can impact your search marketing and SEO efforts.
1. Increasing Links to Your Site
Social media platforms provide an easy place for you and others to share your SEO content and website. Some social sites can actually pass link value back, and even those that don’t still drive traffic to your site and offer an opportunity to boost behavioral metrics such as time on page or clicking through to other pages on your site. And all that’s great fodder for better performance in the algorithms.
2. Adding to Your Brand’s Chance of Scoring Search Results Real Estate
In some cases, social media activity even increases your brand’s chance of showing up in the search results for any given query. Luke Wester, a Digital Marketing Analyst at Miva, Inc., lists Twitter as the social network with most to offer in terms of SEO. “Why?” says Wester, “Because Google has a SERP feature specifically for tweets. At the moment, no other social platform has a SERP feature.”
Although Shawn Pillar, the Director of Marketing at Juicer, says Pinterest also has direct impact on SERP results. “Pinterest has had the biggest impact on our SEO,” says Pillar. “Google executives publicly deny that social media has any effect on SEO, but Pinterest posts and accompanying hashtags do show up on a SERP. Some even show up on page one for some keywords. “
Sean Kolina, co-founder of ignite360.com, reminds brands to make posts on their Google My Business listing, calling it the “most unknown social media platform.” Konlina notes, “It’s arguably more important than any other social platform in the long run as it’s helping your SEO within Google search rankings.”
3. Increasing Authority
Claiming (or creating) and maintaining your business’s social media profiles can help you build trust and authority with the search engines and audiences. Your bio, about sections and profile listings can form the basis of citations, and when you do the work to make sure your local business information is included and that it’s the same across all platforms, you increase your brand’s credibility online. That’s great news for search engine optimization, as citations do factor into placement in the SERPs.
4. Acting as a Search Engine in Their Own Right
As social media use grows, some platforms are beginning to act as search engines themselves. Some users search for businesses on social media platforms before going to the search engines, especially when using mobile devices. If you’re not on Instagram, Facebook or other popular platforms, you’re losing out on engagement with people who never make it to Google when they take this route.
Tips for Social Media Marketing (with an Eye to SEO) from the Experts
We know social is important, which is why we make it easy to order social media content from our professional workforce. But we’re not the only ones in the know; we reached out to more experts and asked them to tell us how they’re using social media to impact their online content marketing and SEO efforts.
Leverage Influencers and Consumer Content
“Our company has been able to improve our SEO by collaborating with Instagram influencers,” says Steve Rezaie, the president of CBD’R US. “Many notable websites within our niche follow the influencers we collaborate with. As a result, there have been many scenarios where companies will contact us to see if we can send them a sample to feature in their next product review or blog post in exchange for a dofollow backlink. Since our website is rich in content, these backlinks have allowed us to increase our keyword rankings significantly.”
Consumer content has the most direct impact on your SEO when it includes strong links to your content. When you work with social media influencers, look for individuals who are willing to offer links and promote your content and pages as well as your products and services.
Choose the Right Platforms
Be smart about how you promote your content on social media or where you spend your time. A B2B brand aimed at the C-suite audience isn’t likely to spawn serious engagement on Snapchat, for example.
Nick Rinylo at ASSISTED says, “The best way to use social media to help SEO content really depends on your audience. For example, if we were promoting a professional services piece of content, we should look to LinkedIn. A fashion related piece targeted at generation Z would work best on Instagram, and if we’re looking at silver surfers, then Facebook.”
Keep Social Content Engaging
It’s not enough to copy-paste your links into a generic status or use a tool such as Hootsuite to pepper your profiles with links (although social media management and publishing tools like Hootsuite can save you time as you manage multiple profiles). Those status updates need to come with engaging content in their own right — content that persuades a person to click through or share your links.
“Using social media platforms to create engaging content that links back to our website helps increase the chances of this happening,” says Andrew Clark, Marketing Strategist with Duckpin, a Towson, MD-based creative agency. “In the year that I’ve been with Duckpin, I can attest to this strategy working on a couple of occasions and generating some interest from media outlets that previously didn’t know us.”
Watch Other Platforms and Experiment
Conventional wisdom is that you can’t be in all the places at once, and while platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are huge players and you may want to be on at least two to reach as wide an audience as possible, social media marketers must remain aware of fringe networks and up-and-comers. In short, you always want to be where your audience is.
Shehraj Singh of YoStarter.com says, “Reddit is the upcoming most significant social media. According to the SimilarWeb, Reddit has whopping 1.5 billion visits every month. Moreover, 99% of bloggers are not focusing on Reddit, so this is a time to grab the opportunity and become a significant player in the market.”
Singh also points out that you have to keep up with innovations and evolutions on platforms you’re already using, pointing to Facebook Groups as an example. “As we know, Facebook decreased the reach of a Facebook page. But, they increased the range of a Facebook group.”
The Bottom Line on the Link Between Social Media and SEO
The two are definitely related, and your social media activity comes with many benefits. When you create engaging content on social, you help build your brand, develop your culture and audience and, potentially, push your pages up farther in the SERPs.