Social media has seen an explosion over the last couple of years — and has come a very long way since its beginnings. We all remember the now seemingly archaic platforms that we had once used including AOL, MSN Messenger, Myspace, and Friendster.
But social media has transformed from its humble beginnings and now is one of the most potent tools that marketers use to push products and ideas to mass markets. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become an integral part of every marketer’s plan and are often the most effective ways for a brand to reach an audience.
Contrary to popular belief, social media strategies do not have a direct effect on SEO and the ranking of a brand’s website. Yet, SEO and social media marketing do share a lot of common ground. They are both inbound strategies that focus on bringing customers to your brand. Most importantly, they both have organic aspects that are based on naturally attracting an audience with quality content.
The relationship between SEO and social media is more like a two-way street: good SEO will help boost your social presence and successful social media campaigns will improve your website’s ranking.
Using Social Media to Impact SEO
Just because social media isn’t a parameter that Google uses for ranking websites, that doesn’t mean it should be ignored as a part of your SEO strategy. The following are some of the ways you can use social media to impact the SEO of your brand’s website.
The very nature of social media gives your brand the opportunity to distribute content to a large number of users with the click of a button. With social media, you can be proactive and reach out to customers; this is much more powerful than sitting back and hoping leads will come to your website.
By putting yourself out there, you are increasing the awareness that exists around you brand. As your presence grows, so too should your social media following, and the chance that followers are sharing your content. Think of your following as a snowball, the more followers you get, the easier it should become to capitalize on this community and grow it even larger.
A larger community means more eyeballs being exposed to the content you’re creating and a higher likelihood that this content will be shared. This increases the number of backlinks leading to your site which will help with your ranking.
Also, the more engagement you have around your social media activity, the more likely people are to search for your brand on Google via branded searches. Branded searches can help your site get ranked for non-branded keywords that are related to your brand and the service or product it offers.
Keep in mind, this whole premise is based on the notion that you are distributing content of the highest quality. If you are publishing mediocre material that has no value, you are shooting yourself in the foot. Users will have no incentive to interact with you if you don’t offer some sort of interesting and entertaining information. If you want people to share the content you are creating, invest time and effort into developing materials that will actually attract readers.
One last thing that’s important to note is that social media profiles themselves do rank on Google. Your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles all rank on Google — and may even be among the top results — so maintaining these profiles and keeping them current is extremely important. If a user is searching for your brand, your social media profile pages will likely be among the first results they see.
Establish and Cultivate Relationships
Social networks are just that: social environments where users can communicate with one another to share ideas. For brands, one of the most innovative aspects of social media is the ability to communicate directly with the community that surrounds them. They can connect with customers, answer their questions or concerns, and even get feedback.
Think of social media as another customer service channel. By answering questions online, you can show that your brand is willing to take the extra step to make the customer happy. This will not only help increase your brand loyalty and satisfaction; it will also help your SEO. It increases the chance of users sharing your content with their friends and family, which will augment your reach.
There are other social media relationships that you can similarly cultivate online. You can collaborate with other businesses, content creators, personalities, and contributors to increase your reach and to add some diversity to the content you produce. Online partnerships can prove to be invaluable and it’s worth the effort to constantly look for new opportunities by building relationships via social media.
In the end, a well-thought out and properly executed social media plan can work in conjunction with your SEO efforts to lead to consistent organic traffic. While social media doesn’t currently directly influence your rankings on Google, the future of the internet undoubtedly lies in social networks. Therefore, you should take the time to invest in social media now because in the future it could become an important factor in determining your website’s ranking.