As small business owners and fledgling marketers are traversing various digital avenues, social media is becoming the heart of brand awareness campaigns. At the same time, search engine rankings are an essential ingredient for an effective digital marketing strategy.
But as a savvy digital marketer, how often do you consider social media and SEO a part of the same strategic framework? Not very often, right? This is why most inbound marketers fail to achieve their campaign objectives.
According to the 11th Annual State of Search Report presented by SEMPO, social media advertising is the largest growing segment, although trickier to prove ROI. But when it comes to optimizing your website for search engines, how do we incorporate social media platforms into our SEO strategy?
Using links as the sole focus of off-page optimization is no longer as viable. As consumers are going social, it’s important that your site catches their attention on their newsfeed.
Social media acts as a vote-generator for your site. The various platforms help your site garner “votes” in the form of clicks, likes, tweets and shares.
Enter social signals: the metrics such as Twitter followers and Facebook likes that indicate social media success. Yet not too long ago, former Googler Matt Cutts said that social signals do not influence search rankings.
But a couple years ago, Google struck a partnership with Twitter that gave the search engine complete access to Twitter. It was big news in the SEO community.
Although Bing algorithms are said to incorporate social signals in search engine ranking, social media links may or may not have an influence on your rankings. But here are a few reasons that justify there’s a connection:
Considering the fact that some search engines factor in social profiles while ranking and social searches also comprise such ranking, social media SEO should be a part of a business’ overall SEO strategy.
If you are getting intimidated by the term “social media SEO”, you don’t have to worry much. Surely it’s challenging but it’s also a continuous learning process. You can incorporate social signals into your SEO efforts in the following ways:
The saying, “Content is king”, hold true while establishing a strong base for both search engine optimization and social media marketing. For succeeding both in search and on social media, brands need to focus on creating relevant content.
For example, social relevance largely depends on hashtags and mentions. Using a content curation app such as DrumpUp can boost social media presence by providing useful hashtag recommendations, Twitter “@mentions” and relevant content recommendations that are shareable across social platforms. If your content gets like, shares, tweets, and retweets, you are likely to catch search engines’ attention.
Social reputation defines “who you are” as a brand on social media. In order to drive social media performance, building a strong reputation is crucial. Search engines don’t view all social accounts equally.
Why should they after all? A brand may open a hundred different accounts and generate fake buzz online that way. In order to unify SEO and social media, your interaction on social platforms should be authentic and genuine, or else you lose your business completely.
Another social signal that influences search ranking is social shares. If you are creating quality blog content and that content is being shared widely on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or any other social platform, it would certainly be an icing on the cake. In order to reach a larger audience, you need to have a well-defined plan for leveraging relevant social platforms.
Although different search engines have different algorithms to index link-backed content, you cannot completely disregard the share-worthiness of your content. Customizing your social share buttons is a good way to make social sharing easier. This will make them more prominent and boost traffic to your website.
As an online marketer, you need to acknowledge the power of visuals. Images are considered a magnet for your audience on social media but sadly, excessive focus on written content overpowers them. Instead, you should focus on optimizing your images for both search and social.
You can do so by using a keyword-focused description of images, image linking, sitemaps, and alt text for optimizing them for search. Using high-quality and inspiring images drives social performance and enhances the user experience, which is gaining increasing importance in the recent times.
You may have noticed that people no longer depend only on search engines to look for brands. Social media platforms are also becoming the next search engine for users looking for brands. Your job as a marketer is to make your social profile identifiable for your users.
Your official page is your social identity. Your audience will like to know more about you by visiting your page, and finally landing on your website. You may have to delete duplicate social media profiles or label each social account so that your users get what they are looking for– your brand.
Both SEO and social media are something you can master overnight. It’s a continuous learning process. But in order to ensure that your efforts are providing results, you need to measure them. Data from social media performance metrics and Google Analytics should be integrated while planning insightful digital campaigns.
Measurement of your SEO and social media performance is of utmost importance because it provides direction to your efforts and strategies. Of course, you don’t have to consider all the metrics, but at least measure the ones that show your overall brand engagement. You will eventually know what works and what does not.
The web is nothing but an interactive platform for fostering relationships and sharing ideas. So there’s no reason why social media shouldn’t be given a place in a business’ SEO strategy. As a small business owner, it is imperative for you to integrate your social media and SEO strategies for driving your brand’s visibility in the digital space.
Aashish Sarma is a Content Writer at Godot Media, a leading content agency. His interests include social media and content marketing. Writing, travel, music and socializing are few hobbies he pursues whole-heartedly.