Search engine optimization (SEO) plays an important role in any digital marketing strategy. That's because it helps people find your content. The higher the content ranks on the search results page (SERP), the more visitors it will attract. Social media marketing has become another very effective way to drive people to a website. And all this depends on having an effective social media strategy that drives brand awareness and conversions. To get the most out of SEO and social media, make sure your social media, content marketing, and SEO strategies complement each other.
In this article, we discuss the relationship between SEO and social media and we give 5 tips on how to get the most out of these two.
Does Google Watch Social Signals?
Social signals are actions such as likes and shares on social media. So, if your content generates a lot of social signals, will it improve rankings on Google? Google has not been entirely clear about this in recent years.
The search engine considered social signals a ranking factor. The focus is on quality over quantity. This means that Google looks at the reputation of the author or creator on social media to determine the ranking.
Nowadays Google decided that these social signals were no longer a ranking factor. In other words: likes or shares are no longer used to improve your ranking. However, that doesn't mean you have to give up on your social media strategy, as it is an important part of a complete digital marketing campaign.
Ultimately, getting a good ranking in search results is about getting quality backlinks from highly regarded sources. Shares and likes can also get your content seen by a new audience. This new audience can provide quality backlinks. Hire an SEO agency to reach a more targeted audience using SEO and Social Media
Using social media to get backlinks
What does this history say about social signals today?
- Social cues are important: content that is shared a lot get seen a lot.
- Social signals lead to backlinks: Content seen by influential social media creators leads to backlinks.
- Backlinks improve SEO ranking: content with more backlinks scores higher in Google.
It's the backlinks, not the social signals, that improve SEO ranking. Building the right following, including creators, has a significant impact on the number of backlinks you can expect to get from social media.
The best way to get backlinks is to:
- Build informative content that naturally attracts links, such as how-to guides, blogs, and topic clusters.
- Build a social media following to promote link-worthy content.
- Social media links usually don't impact SEO directly, but can benefit indirectly. Your content gets more exposure and sharing, and some of those people, such as journalists, bloggers, and influencers, may pick up your content and link to it from their websites (backlinks).
- Promote new content via email and social media.
- Research competitors' backlinks with a tool like Ahefs.
Integrate SEO and social media
As with any SEO or social media strategy, content is an important element of how successful your overall (digital) strategy will be. The sweet spot is where your SEO, content marketing, and social media strategies come together to complement each other. You can reach this sweet spot by creating content that provides information, such as:
- Blogs or articles
- Videos, video stories, live video
- Podcasts (with transcripts)
- Create topic clusters
Topic clusters are a great way to structure your informative content. Essentially, you have the main topic and several sub-topics that stem from it. For example, your main topic could be about social media marketing and you could have some sub-topics about marketing on different social media channels. In topic clusters, the main topic is called the pillar. The sub-topics are the clusters. You have to link these sub-topics with each other and eventually back to the main topic so that it is strengthened in terms of SEO.
Tailor content to the customer journey
Think about what stage of the customer journey your customers are in so you can keep them flowing through the funnel. Informative content is the most important thing to generate awareness and interest. In that phase, people are not yet ready to make a purchase decision, because they are looking for information. The closer the person is to making a purchasing decision, for example, because they have gathered enough information, the more important the transactional content becomes. This is where you make the conversion process as smooth as possible for customers.
A common mistake is to focus only on transactional content. If you only use social media channels aimed at promotions, then you are focused on sales and not on the rest of the customer journey. That is a missed opportunity because then you miss a large part of the customer journey. Moreover, it is difficult to get a good SEO ranking if you only have transactional content. To serve first (with informational content) and sell second (with transactional content). This makes the content more attractive for both Google and social media!
5 tips to improve social media SEO
- Driving organic traffic
- Increase visibility
- Improve local SEO
- Expand the content scope
- Improve brand recognition
- Increase (the chance of) backlinks
- So it is indeed important to use social media to improve SEO. But how can you improve your SEO for social media?
1. Work on your profiles
Remember that your social media profile is one of the first things a prospect or customer will see, so take the time to create one that is compelling and reflects your business.
- Include as many details as possible to give a good idea of what your business does
- Use keywords relevant to your brand
- Provide backlinks to your content to generate traffic
- 2. Provide high-quality shareable content
There are many social media channels and accounts for customers to choose from, so you need to make the most of your content to attract customers and engage them in 'the conversation'. Use different types of content to get a sense of what works for your audience, e.g. videos, blogs, reviews, infographics, and so on. Also, use good images associated with your brand so that when people see it they recognize it as yours. This will increase brand awareness and recognition.
3. Encourage backlinks through good content
People will only share content they think is good or relevant to the audience. So it's worth prioritizing quality over quantity. Take the time to research topics and include high-authority research. Also, incorporate internal links and third-party external links to show authority. Quotations from industry specialists or statistics that support your point of view are also good to include. If you link to external websites, you can also ask if they link back to your website, so that you strengthen each other's link profile.
4. Use Social Listening to see what's going on around you
Social Listening is a powerful SEO tactic and there are a few free tools you can use, such as Social Mention and Digimind. These kinds of tools help to track conversations, see what your audience is saying about you and also keep track of conversations around your competitors.
As more and more people turn to social media to ask questions, read reviews (and complain), it's a good idea to lend a listening ear and manage all online reviews and overall customer service.
5. Pay attention to influencers and consider using them
As you probably already know, influencers hold sway on social media. You don't have to bet that high for an influencer marketing strategy, but if you know influencers in your industry or environment that your audience listens to, then it might be worth using influencers for your social media activities. They may share your content and that can bring a lot of extra traffic, likes, and followers.
Using social media as part of your complete digital marketing strategy is a good way to (indirectly) influence SEO. If you use this well, it ensures brand awareness, extra traffic to your website, and increases the chance of backlinks to your website. Backlinks are also a direct SEO ranking factor, so there is a good chance that the relevant pages will rank higher in the search results.