Many companies believe that social media and SEO are two completely unrelated digital marketing strategies. In many ways, they are. You can certainly have one without the other, or have both operating independently.
However, the truth is social media impacts SEO and helps grow your business in ways that many business owners and marketers may not realize. Social media marketing may not directly affect your organic search rankings, but if done with a particular strategy in mind, it will help improve the ranking factors that can move your business higher up on the search engine results page.
Conversely, a lacklustre social media strategy can cause your website’s rankings to fall, while your competitor’s rankings increase. This undesirable outcome can attribute to a decline in lead generation and overall revenue.
In other words, it’s not a question of “Does social media affect SEO?”, but rather, “How much does social media (or lack thereof) affect SEO?”
Here are 5 ways social media impacts your SEO:
1. Your social media profiles get ranked
Not only are your social posts important, but your social media profiles are too. That’s why when you Google a company, their Facebook page often appears at or near the top of the search engine results page. It’s not just because it’s Facebook – it’s because the company’s social media profiles have been optimized for search using relevant keywords based on high-ranking search terms.
If your social media profile includes robust, keyword-rich information, content, links, ratings, and reviews, it will tell Google that people can learn a lot about your brand on your Facebook page. Google will increase trust in your brand as a result, and reward you with better rankings.
Be sure to complete your Google My Business (GMB) profile as well. Although it might not fall under the traditional social media umbrella, it also provides an important introduction to your business for new customers. Great ratings and reviews on your GMB can also help your rankings.
2. Local SEO results are improved
For many companies, most of their customers will be located close to them. Social media offers an opportunity to get more local traffic by geotagging your posts and stories.
You can also include your company name, address, hours of operation, URL, and phone number on your GMB, social media profiles, and website to further allow Google to serve your local area in the search rankings. Be sure to keep this information consistent with what’s listed on your GMB for maximum effect.
3. Content distribution is broadened
You already know that producing ongoing, keyword-rich content such as blogs, images, and information is crucial to your search strategy. Social media gives you the perfect opportunity to spread your content far and wide, especially if you use relevant hashtags that introduce your content to a whole new audience and extra web traffic to your website.
Not only that, social media shares can help your content spread to an even wider audience, which will bring in even more website visitors. More web traffic means higher authority, which helps Google push your rankings higher.
4. Searches within social media platforms are captured
Social media platforms are for more than posting pretty pictures. They can also be used as search engines. For example, a search within Facebook can return lots of different profiles, business pages, and content. Your business page can be one of them.
By ensuring your profiles and content are thoroughly optimized for search, your page will capture this search traffic to your social media page, and from there to your website. A recent study showed that 9.6% of website traffic comes directly from Facebook. If you’re not taking advantage of social, you’re missing out on a lot of potential sales.
5. Your YouTube videos rank you higher
Everyone knows that Google is the world’s most used search engine.
Do you know what #2 is?
If you said YouTube, you’re right!
Popular and relevant videos often show up at the top of certain searches. You can benefit from the extra SEO power from YouTube by ensuring both your channel and video titles and descriptions are fully optimized with the right keywords.
Be sure to also insert the videos onto your website, if possible. Videos keep people on your website longer, which gives your website more authority and helps boost your rankings.
Implementing a successful social media strategy
Using social media to boost your company’s search engine results and authority sounds easy in theory, however executing this successfully requires a comprehensive social media marketing strategy.
Naturally, this takes more than setting up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn pages and waiting for the site traffic to come in. You need to seize the opportunity to connect with your audience for the strategy to work.
Here’s what you can do to get your strategy rolling:
- Post relevant content regularly
- Link back to your website home and core service pages in your social media profiles
- Answer all questions your customers might have
- Respond to customer comments promptly – even negative ones – to build relationships
- Build photo albums with pictures that appeal to your customers
It’s important to note that you should avoid assigning social media marketing duties to the youngest person in the office just because social media is largely associated with younger people. Social media is an important component of your overall digital marketing strategy and needs to be treated with as much respect as any other part of your marketing efforts. Age doesn’t matter with social media, but marketing expertise does.
That means having the skills to develop a fully-integrated social media strategy will help increase brand awareness, improve your online visibility, boost website traffic, build authority, and improve your local SEO results. Building your strategy with a solid understanding of how social media affects SEO will pay huge dividends in the long run.