Search engine optimization, commonly called SEO, is a set of techniques used to improve a website’s search engine rankings. The higher your pages rank, the more visitors you’re likely to attract, leading to increased sales.
Although social media usage doesn’t directly influence your page rankings, it can help you drive more traffic to your website, making it an essential component of an SEO plan. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of social media SEO for business.
How Social Media Usage Affects SEO
Just because social media usage doesn’t directly influence your rankings doesn’t mean you don’t need to use Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to grow your business. Social media SEO affects your rankings indirectly in the following ways:
Backlinks are one of the most important factors in determining how well a page will rank compared to competing pages on the same topic. In simple terms, a backlink is a link that refers to another website. If you cite a subject matter expert in one of your blog posts and link back to that expert’s site, you’re giving them a backlink. Google and other search engines place a lot of emphasis on backlinks because these links represent a “seal of approval” of sorts. Linking to a site shows you think the site has something worth reading or viewing.
Done right, social media SEO gives you an opportunity to collect backlinks from authoritative websites, increasing your site’s overall authority. For example, if one of your blog posts “goes viral,” you’re likely to receive backlinks from major media outlets and established influencers.
Social media SEO also helps you build a positive reputation and establish authority in your industry. Think about the process you follow when you need to buy something online. You probably type product-related keywords into your search engine, look through the results and visit the website with the most relevant information. But what if multiple sites sell the same item at the same price? You need a way to determine which site to visit. That’s where authority comes into play.
The more social media accounts you maintain, the more opportunities you have to share your brand. If people search for what you sell and see your company’s name showing up on Facebook, Instagram and other networks, they may feel more comfortable buying from you or at least visiting your website to get more information.
With many people now using social networks as search engines, it’s more important than ever for your business to have a strong social media presence. This is especially important if you run a business that makes the bulk of its revenue from local customers, such as a restaurant or roofing company. Instead of opening a separate browser window, navigating to Google or Bing and searching for companies, products and services, some users just type their queries right into the search bar of their favourite social network. If you don’t have a profile on that network, you won’t show up in these searches.
The more pages you control, the more opportunities you have for people to find your business and learn more about what you do. If you have a single website with a few pages on it, you have few opportunities to show up in search results for relevant keywords. When you use social media, however, you’re producing additional content that can help people find your business. If someone searches for relevant keywords, they may find one of your Facebook posts, tweets or Instagram photos.
Social Media SEO Tips to Grow Your Business
It’s clear that social media SEO has positive benefits for business owners, but it’s important to develop a cohesive strategy that helps you achieve your SEO goals. Here’s what we recommend. If you need help writing tweets, Facebook posts and other types of content, our team of experienced professionals can help.
Partner with Influencers
According to Neil Patel, an influencer is someone who serves as an expert within a specific community. On social media, influencers may write thought leadership pieces, review products related to their areas of expertise or promote specific brands. Partnering with influencers in your industry has several potential benefits for your business. One of those benefits is exposure to a much larger audience. Influencers may have hundreds of thousands—or even millions—of followers. If just a small percentage of an influencer’s audience sees a post about your products or services, you could experience a surge in site traffic and sales.
Working with an influencer also gives you the opportunity to strengthen your brand. Depending on how you structure the partnership, the influencer may agree to post about your product a certain number of times or do a video review that features your product prominently. Every post is an opportunity for an audience member to see your logo or hear your company name. Partnering with an influencer can even help your brand seem more legitimate, especially if you work with someone who has a positive reputation in your industry.
Christian Anderson, president of Lost Boys entertainment, offers the following tips for identifying influencers in your industry and partnering with them to promote your brand:
- Check with an agency. Some agencies represent multiple influencers, so contacting a single agent could help you identify several potential partnerships. Agents also have experience making sure an influencer’s content aligns well with a brand’s goals. Therefore, working with an agent can help you avoid partnering with an influencer who could damage your brand instead of helping you build it.
- Contact influencers directly. This takes much more time than contacting an agency because you need to research your industry and determine which influencers have the largest audiences. You also need to determine if each influencer posts content that aligns with your goals. Although this is time-consuming, it can also help you get better pricing.
- Be clear about your goals. You must provide enough information for the influencer to make an informed decision about whether they want to partner with you. It’s important to be clear about what you expect in terms of content type, content length and publishing frequency.
Focus on Engagement
Many business owners make the mistake of thinking content frequency is more important than content quality. That couldn’t be further from the truth. While the search engines do take publication frequency into account when determining page rankings, they also look for quality signals to tell them if one page is more relevant than another for a specific keyword. It’s better to publish high-quality content three times per week than low-quality content every day.
One way to make your content more engaging is to include photos and videos. Huge walls of text are a barrier to engagement because they make your content more difficult to read. It also takes a lot more time to read a long post than it does to look at a photo or view a 30-second video. Another way to increase engagement is to skip the stock photos and do your own photography. You don’t have to be the next Ansel Adams to take photos for Instagram or Facebook; simply use a point-and-shoot digital camera or the built-in camera on your cell phone to snap photos of your products or employees.
Pick the Right Platforms
Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram…the list of social media platforms seem endless, especially if you don’t have experience using social media for SEO. The good news is that you don’t need to be on every single platform—just the platforms where people in your target audience are likely to hang out. Nearly 80% of adults between the ages of 30 and 49 use Facebook, but only 48% of them use Instagram. If your target audience includes adults in this age group, using Facebook is a better use of your time than using Instagram.
Age is an important consideration, but it isn’t the only factor you should use to determine where to spend your time online. You also need to consider race, ethnicity, sex and household income. If you sell a high-end product, it’s important to know that 50% of adults who earn more than $75,000 per year use LinkedIn. Adult women are more active on the top three platforms—Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn—than adult men, a fact that can help you determine the best way to spend your time and your marketing dollars.
Repurpose Your Content
You shouldn’t post the exact same thing on multiple platforms; that would defeat the purpose of using more than one social network to improve your page rankings, drive traffic to your website and connect with members of your target audience. But that doesn’t mean you can’t repurpose your content to save time. Repurposing involves taking your existing content and using it as the basis for new content. This eliminates the need to “reinvent the wheel” and keep coming up with new ideas. Here are a few examples of content repurposing:
- A few years ago, you wrote a blog post on how to use your product to save time or increase efficiency. You can repurpose the content by updating it with recent statistics and editing some of the content based on current best practices in your industry. Sharing a link to the updated blog post gives the content new life and eliminates the need to come up with a brand-new idea and write a blog post from scratch.
- You have an e-book that introduces potential customers to your business and provides an overview of your products and services. If the e-book contains statistics, you can add those statistics to infographics and share them with your social media followers.
- If you have a podcast related to your business, you can link to the transcripts on Facebook or post “behind-the-scenes” videos on your Instagram account. Not only does this help you repurpose your original podcast content, but it can also help you appeal to new audience members.
- You can even turn existing infographics into short blog posts by using the infographic content as an outline and filling in each section with new content.
Repurposing content saves you time, but it can also help you improve your search engine rankings, as Google is more likely to see your site as an authority if it has several pages of content focusing on closely related keywords.
It’s easy to write off social media as something teens do after school, but the truth is that social media is an effective way to market a wide variety of products and services. SEO content creates more opportunities for search engines to find your pages and determine how relevant they are to specific search queries, driving traffic to your website and giving your business more authority.