A common question that gets asked by many businesses embarking on their SEO strategy is, does social media really help SEO? This article illustrates how social media does actually contribute to your overall SEO strategy. There are many elements that go into boosting your online presence, some are easy to implement, and others are more technical and may require you to outsource your SEO activities.
Social media tasks are one of those activities that most businesses can do. Even if you don’t have an internal marketing team or you are too busy to do it yourself, you’ll likely have someone on your team that can take on the responsibility of social media outreach.
Seeing as how social media tasks can be easily implemented in-house and don’t take a whole lot of skill, as well as it having an impact on SEO, it’s important that this is part of your overall online strategy.
Here are key ways in which social media can help boost SEO.
They are credible, external online platforms
If you have done some quick Google searches on whether social media impacts your online ranking, you may have come across various articles that say social platforms don’t contribute to a direct ranking factor.
The reality is Google’s algorithms are forever changing. What may have been accurate 1 year ago, may not be relevant anymore. Sometimes it’s better to use common sense or “SEO sense” to determine your online actions.
Google isn’t one for announcing strategies on how to boost your SEO. They don’t want businesses creating strategies that are unnatural and not relevant to the end user.
However, what we do know is that Google prioritises websites of importance and authority. Social media platforms are known to contain informative articles, tips, advice and videos. Therefore, it’s common sense to have your website and blog pages associated with such platforms.
There are many sites out there that you can post blogs, articles and information on. However, how many of these have you heard of before? How many of them receive a good amount of traffic to make your postings worth it? How many will actually negatively impact your online ranking strategy? At least with social media platforms, or at least the well-known ones, you don’t need to worry that it could negatively impact your strategy. Ensuring your activities aren’t damaging your online efforts is just as important as conducting activities that you know will boost your online visibility.
You can gain more links
When you have content, images and a call to action that really engages with your audience the chances of getting shares increase. These links that come from social media shares are what can give you the SEO boost that you’re after.
If you are regularly posting content and blogs on multiple social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+ on a weekly basis, this gives you an even greater chance of increasing your links.
Also, gaining these links will occur over a period of time, not all at once. Gaining links all at once is something that Google heavily frowns upon. Typical black hat SEO tactics that focus on purchasing links, which can see you gain 100 links all at once, is a completely different strategy to slowly gaining legitimate links via social media.
It helps build your brand and audience
Nowadays, businesses need to be online to have a healthy brand. It’s not because this is the one and only way to attract customers, because it’s not. You can attract customers via direct mail, telemarketing, word-of-mouth or e-marketing. However, even these tactics won’t work as well as they should without some sort of online presence that the receiver can link back to.
This is because in today’s world an online presence isn’t just about having an information hub for your product or service. It’s also a key factor in brand credibility. Having a website is one way you can show your credibility, however a website alone is becoming a less powerful way to demonstrate your business credibility. Today, anyone can really build a website.
However, social media brings with it a different sense of credibility. It shows your day-to-day business activity, your followers, comments, likes and reviews. It represents to your current and potential customers how “active” your business really is.
So, how does credibility help with SEO? Simple. The larger your audience becomes via social media, the more your brand awareness you will receive. Not just brand awareness, but credible brand awareness. This will encourage more people to click on your link when they see you come up in a Google search and click through rates are important for boosting SEO.
For example, let’s just say you were a fan of cooking and you decided to follow a “cooking equipment” company on social media due to the great recipes they were posting. You like, share and engage with this brand on daily basis because of their content. Then one day you decide that you need a new fry pan. You do a quick Google search for “cooking equipment”, which is a keyword that this business is ranking for and you come across the company you follow for recipes. Because this brand has now built up a rapport with you online and has earned your trust through engaging content, you are more likely to click on their link. If this brand didn’t build a relationship with you via social media, would you have clicked on their random link? The answer more than likely would be no.
Social media really needs to go hand in hand with your SEO activities. Just say you have a great SEO strategy and you are ranking for all your chosen keywords. Your company may come up in a user’s search, however, when they decide to do further research about you via Facebook and see you have posted twice in a year and only have 50 followers, they may feel inclined to go elsewhere. Your competitor may have a great social media presence, followers and reviews. At the end of the day, your product or service may be just as good as your competitors, but because of the credibility they may have built via social media, you could see your business miss out on the sale.
You may start appearing in “related searches”
We’ve established that the more your social presence and followers grow, the more likely you will be seen as a credible product or service to your target market.
This in turn can lead to individuals typing into their search engines the following formula – “your brand name + product/service”. For example, you may have a clothing label. You sell t-shirts, jeans and jackets. A customer is after a new jacket and because they follow you on social media, your brand has become credible and memorable. Therefore, they type the formula “your brand name + jacket” as their search. As more people do this type of search, then you could start appearing in related searches.
The reason for this is that Google will start to associate your brand name as a credible source for jackets. Therefore, when people type in a jacket related search, you could appear in “searches related to jackets”. These related searches are at the bottom of the page when you type something in Google’s search engine.
You can incorporate a video strategy
We’ve all heard that content is king when it comes to an SEO strategy. Part of your content creation should be engaging videos. YouTube is a great social media platform that can help you boost your links via videos.
You don’t need to go to the effort of creating a whole bunch of new content for your videos. Simply tweak the headline of your blogs and turn these into videos. Remember not to forget keywords in the headline, descriptions and transcript of your videos. These are all great for your online search ranking.
Think about when you do a search on something you need help with. For example, if you type in Google “Top cleaning tips” and click on the videos tab, you will see various videos helping with this issue. The more specific you can be, the more likely your video will appear for its related search topic.
To see what people are searching and sharing when it comes to your industry, do a quick search using BuzzSumo. You can simply type in your industry keywords and it will give you a list of the top web pages that are being viewed, shared and liked across social media platforms. Take this information and start creating videos that relate to these interests.
Even if you have a product, you can still create some great informative videos. For example, you can provide videos on “how to get the most out of your product” for your current customers and those thinking of purchasing from you. You can also share tips and advice on topics related to your product. For example, you may sell bicycles. You can create a series of videos on the best bicycle routes and paths in various suburbs.
SEO works best when incorporated with the marketing mix
As most of us are aware, there are many tactics that can be used when it comes to your online ranking strategy. There are directories that you can post on, blogging, keyword placement, building the right website structure, user experience and the list can go on.
The point is, all these factors work hand in hand to boost your ranking performance. Yes, you can concentrate on one activity and it may help boost your rankings, slightly. But when you combine a mix of activities, this is seen as the most credible form of SEO and can help you be seen online.
Having a strategic and consistent social media presence is one of these tactics that works together with other SEO activities. Social media posting can be an online rankings strategy in itself, but without all the other factors tying into it, it won’t work as well.
Same goes for great content. You can have content that is informative and has good keyword placement, yet you aren’t getting in front of a big enough audience. This is where social media can help.
If you are ever skeptical about whether to put the time and effort into social media when you are trying to concentrate on your SEO efforts, then the short answer is yes, social media should be one of the priorities in your overall strategy.
Social media works because the well-known ones are credible online platforms. We know that thousands of people every day use these sites and go to them for information, stories and videos.
They help create links through link sharing and can help build your audience and brand, which will also help with click-trough’s and influence what people type into search engines, both of which are crucial to SEO.
Although social media may not reign supreme when it comes to Google’s algorithms, it’s still a crucial part of the marketing mix. As mentioned before, you never know when and how Google’s algorithms can change. Maybe 6 months from now, social media will play a larger role in SEO. If you already have a consistent strategy, then you’ll be ahead of the game.
So next time you second guess whether to spend that hour doing some social media postings, make sure you take the time to make it happen.