The SEO industry is worth more than $70 billion, a number that keeps on growing. More businesses are investing in search engine optimization.
Many SEO businesses and strategies focus on your website or your content. You can try to optimize your blog posts to push your SERP higher, but you may be missing a big piece of the puzzle.
As you begin to think about your SEO strategy for next year, consider how you can optimize your social media. That’s right, SEO isn’t just for websites any more. Check out these tips to enhance your SEO for social media and get ready to watch your business grow.
What is SEO for Social Media?
If you’re familiar with SEO, then you know it’s a strategy to rank your website higher in search results.
In the past, keyword ranking was the most important part of SEO. If you wrote a blog post, you just needed to use the keyword a lot, and you’d rank high on Google.
Those days are long gone. Search engines use more complex algorithms to decide which website gets top billing.
The factors in Google’s algorithm number in the hundreds and include:
- Website speed
- Keyword use
- Mobile optimization
- Image optimization
- Domain authority
It’s become harder to rank, unless you’re producing both good content and good SEO. The good news is that there are many different things you can do to optimize a page or website.
Most of those tactics focus on optimizing your website or your content. Some involve what’s under the hood, such as the code or design of your website. A few ranking factors look at third-party content, such as reviews or backlinks to your site.
Given this, it’s easy to think of SEO and social media as having nothing to do with each other. After all, Google doesn’t use social signals to determine your rank in the SERPs. Bing and Yahoo!, on the other hand, do use social signals in their algorithm.
SEO for social media isn’t as straight-forward as getting a certain number of retweets or using keywords in Facebook posts. It can be a little trickier to optimize social media for SEO, but it can be done.
Why Social Media Matters for SEO
If social signals have no direct bearing on your SERP position, why bother optimizing?
Google might ignore social signals. That doesn’t mean your social media efforts aren’t doing anything at all. There’s an indirect link between social media and SEO.
Google may not incorporate social media pages in its rankings, but it does index these pages. That means it has the data. It’s possible a future update will incorporate social ranking factors.
Social media can still improve your SEO by helping you build authority and visibility.
Social Media Marketing Creates Visibility
People can’t find what they don’t know exists. Social media gives you a platform to help get the word out about your product or service. The larger your following, the wider the reach of your message.
This increases your visibility, which can drive branded searches. As more people see your business name or learn about your product, they may turn to Google to discover more.
You may also find you have a stronger, larger, and more loyal following. These brand evangelists help you spread the word and influence others.
Social Media Builds Authority
If you’re not on social media these days, does your brand even exist? For the vast majority of Internet users, you may not.
Being on social media can also increase your authority. People tend to trust brands they can interact with more. Social media creates a platform where you can do just that.
Social media also showcases your following. If 500,000 people are following you, then you must be saying something worth hearing about. The experts at SEOExplode remind us that a strong social media presence builds trust for that reason.
Finally, social media can help you collect data and understand your audience more. With these insights, you can create more of the kinds of content they want to see.
The Proof is in the (Social) Pudding
Another key to keep in mind is that search engines do pay attention to what’s known as social proof.
People turn to those they trust when they need recommendations for products or services. Most will ask friends and family. Some will ask their colleagues at work.
Many now turn to social media too. Influencer marketing works because people value influencers’ recommendations. People also look to reviews from others.
Taken together, these factors become the “proof” that your brand or product is high-quality and trustworthy.
Impact on Search Rankings
Social media marketing may not make you jump to the top spot overnight. It does influence several ranking factors. In turn, social media can help you increase your SERP rankings.
Rev up Traffic
The first thing social media can do is improve your traffic. By sharing new content and resharing still-relevant content, you can increase site traffic.
Those people may then engage with your content or share it with their own network. Lather, rinse, repeat. As more people share your content, you continue to drive more traffic to the site.
Search engines use traffic and associated statistics, such as dwell time, to determine the quality of your content.
Better yet, you’re likely to build an audience this way. As you get more followers, you’ll have a built-in audience ready to click and share your future content.
How Does Content Measure up?
The data provided by social media can help you understand your audience. In a world where creating high-quality content is key to ranking, these insights are invaluable. You can create content that people find useful and actually want to see.
Content quality is important to search engine algorithms. It also matters for social shares. When someone finds your content helpful or entertaining, they’re more likely to share it.
Sharing is Caring
You may think shares help you reach a larger audience, but they also have another effect. Shares increase the number of links back to your site. Google and other search engines rank the number of authoritative sites linking back to your site.
Shares and social media engagement also signal authority and quality to search engines. People are more likely to share content they find informative or entertaining. If many people share your content, the search engine assumes it’s both credible and high-quality.
Sharing also creates more links and more backlinks. When more sites link back to your content, it can speed up search engine indexing.
Clicks and Bounce Rates
You can increase the number of branded searches people run by building your audience. When a search user clicks your page after running a search, Google takes that as a signal that your content is a good match for those keywords. That, in turn, pushes your ranking higher.
Most of these clicks will also have a lower bounce rate. That’s another signal search engines use to check how well content matches user intent. The longer someone spends on a page, the better it matched what they were looking for.
How to Optimize Social Media on Your Website
Now you know how social media can impact your SEO efforts. The question is how you can go about improving your social media optimization.
It can be difficult to optimize social media, though, in part because getting shares and comments is up to the users. There are a few things you can do to encourage people to share, comment, and link.
Content is King
The very first rule of thumb is that you must create quality content. How users define “quality” can vary. One user is looking for informative how-tos, while another user wants to see funny cat videos.
The second user isn’t interested in big-budget video or slick production values. They want to be entertained. The “quality” is less in how well-produced the video is and more about how well it satisfies the user’s needs.
This is where it’s important to use data analytics and insights from your social media. Discover what content your users love, or ask them about the content they want to see.
By creating more of this content, you’ll increase the chances people will like and share your content.
Make Sharing Easy
Another trick of the trade is to make it easy for users to share your content. Social media sharing buttons on your blog mean it takes just a click or two to share something with a user’s network.
You can also share your content to social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. Users can then re-share your links and content across these platforms.
Optimizing Social Media Platforms
Your next stop is your social media accounts themselves. There are a few things you can do to spruce them up and optimize them.
Optimize Your Profiles
Google does pay attention to social media profiles when it comes to matching business names. This is especially important for local search, so make sure you use a consistent business name across platforms.
This increases trust for both your audience and search engines. Your customers know they’re talking to the right business. Search engines know they’re pulling results from the same business.
Finally, be sure to share relevant content. Relevant content creates many “doorways” for people to discover. In turn, there are more opportunities for people to find your brand.
Optimize Your Images
SEO and social media have at least one thing in common. They both love optimized images.
Be sure to include your keyword in the image file name. Alt text and relevant surrounding text is also important for image optimization across platforms.
Finally, make sure your images are the right format. You want them to look good when people share them on different platforms. Don’t forget to post images to social media yourself, as posts with images perform much better than text-only posts.
Engage Your Audience
Today’s marketers know the importance of playing the long game. You can’t put an ad in someone’s face and expect them to buy your product instantly.
Today’s consumer is skeptical and self-sufficient. They like to conduct research and discover solutions on their own. Once they’re convinced a product might be right for them, they’ll reach out to you.
In this environment, brands have a more difficult time building trust. That’s why it’s so important to think about building relationships with your audience. You want them to buy from you again and again, so you have to focus on the long term.
Engaging with your audience is perhaps the most important part of relationship building. With social media, it’s easy to answer questions when someone’s frustrated with a product or cheer them on when they do something amazing.
Be a conversation starter on social media. Talk to your audience about their interests and their needs. Finally, join relevant conversations.
Measure Your Performance and Climb the Ranks
Once you take steps to optimize social media, you should be sure to track and measure your performance. Likes and shares aren’t the be-all, end-all of social media, but they sure do help.
By measuring the right statistics, you’ll find out what you’re doing right and where you can improve. You’ll also learn more about what you audience wants.
With these tips in hand, you can improve both your social media presence and your SEO. If you’re looking for more ways to boost your SEO, take a look around. We have plenty of tips and tricks to help you find SEO success.