As digital marketers, one of the questions we get asked the most frequently is how we use social media- but until recently, we didn’t really have much evidence about the impact social media has on SEO. Recently, however, a study showed that 58% of marketers who have used social media for one year or longer report increased search engine rankings.
This positive correlation is evidence of social SEO– “the idea that social media links and interaction play a considerable part in a website’s search rankings.” And as SEO and social media become more entwined, strategically combining the two areas can help your business flourish both online and offline. Here are ten ways that SEO and social media can help your business:
- Link sharing buttons. By adding a link sharing buttons to the content on your website- whether it’s a blog post, an infographics, or a gallery of photos from your latest event- you make it pretty much foolproof for anyone who liked your article to share it with their followers on social media. Don’t forget to make sure the share buttons are set to include your company name and URL, as well as any relevant hashtags.
- Authorship and authority from images. It’s true that Google has removed rich snippets from the search engine results; however, images in social media profiles can still work as trust signals that convey authority and expertise. For example, you’re much more likely to click on a link posted by someone with a professional headshot than you are if the same article was tweeted by someone with an egg for a profile picture.
- Increase traffic volume. Social media can increase the volume of traffic that goes to your website, which affects your search engine rankings. To maximize this traffic opportunity, share content like blog posts, videos, and event listings rather than just links to your homepage- if the content is compelling enough to keep viewers on the page for a while, you’ll be rewarded in search engine metrics with lowered bounce rates and higher time spent on site. These improved metrics may then carry over to search engine results.
- Let your followers do the work for you. Posting content on social media is an effective way to spread your links by letting your social followers and fans do the work. When you post a new blog and then share it on Facebook, chances are, some of your followers will share your content or link to it in a post of their own, thus expanding the amount of people who at least lay eyes on your content’s title. It may not convert directly into signing new customers, but these social shares do help increase attention to your company website.
- Build a presence online. This means going beyond signing up for social media profiles on every single platform and posting a link to your homepage once- it means researching which social media sites your target audience is on, optimizing your profile, and posting relevant content to your channel on a regular basis. It’s called “social” media for a reason- respond to your customers and interact with others, and you’ll start to build buzz around your company’s online presence.
- Optimize your social media profiles. At the very least, your social media profiles should have the same basic information on them: your company’s name, your company’s purpose or mission in a short statement, your website, and your physical location (including your physical location will help with your local SEO). You should also make sure that every field is filled out completely and that you’re using words or phrases that describe your business and that your potential customers would use to search for your business.
- Get on Google’s good side. That is, make sure your business is on Google+. Like we mentioned above, fill out every field that you can in the “About” section with your target keywords, and link back to your website, blog, and social media profiles. You should also create a Local Google+ page (formerly Google Places page), which shows your customers your business’s physical location.
- Content gets quickly indexed. Simply put, the more links a page on your website has, the faster a search engine will index its content. Factors such as number of shares with links, the influence of people who shared the content, and the time frame during which the content was shared may all affect how quickly your content is indexed. So, more social media shares and links mean that a piece of content will be indexed quicker (in some cases, indexation time has been cut by 50%).
- Increase domain authority. Each time a piece of your content is shared, your domain authority is increased, which helps with your long-term goals of driving traffic and increasing your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
- Provide fresh, relevant content. Google favors websites that are updated regularly with new content, and this principle also holds true for your social media channels. Search engines will notice if the social media profiles connected to your website are frequently updated with high quality content.
Since SEO optimization is a long-term process that doesn’t happen overnight, time will tell more about how exactly social media affects SEO. For now, focus on building complete social media profiles and using these channels to share your content. You’ll “like” your results.