Four Steps to Improving SEO with Social Media

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Four Steps to Improving SEO with Social Media

Social Media continues to influence the way people communicate, do business, and perceive other companies, their services and products. Social Media is an increasingly important marketing tool for business of all shapes and sizes.

Having a solid Social Media marketing strategy creates a signal referred to as a social signal.  The strength of this signal is an indicator of your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. Search engines use a myriad of factors to determine your website or web page credibility and authority. Your social signal is a major factor and significantly influences your search engine rankings. 

The importance of Social Media 

Millions of people use social media platforms every day to search, communicate with friends, family and colleagues. It is used by businesses to share service and product information and by their customers and prospects to learn, comment and make recommendations. Almost 50% of the searching population use social media prior to making a purchase. You can see why companies around the world heavily use this efficient and cost-effective channel of communication for marketing purposes.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a form of online marketing that uses various social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to connect with customers to gain more website traffic. Its activities usually include social sharing of content, videos and images for marketing purposes. The marketing benefits of social media for marketing purposes are numerous. Some of the obvious benefits are:

  • Increased brand recognition
  • Improved brand loyalty
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Decreased marketing costs
  • Quick return on investment
  • Instant feedback, and many more!

How does Social Media affect your website search engine ranking?

According to Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines, Google, and SEO authorities, social media plays an important role in today’s effort to rank well in search results. Companies with a strong social strategy become influencers.  Time has proven that if you are influential socially, your followers will share your information widely, which in turn results in strong social signals. These signals are factors that influence your organic search engine results.

Some months ago, Google made a statement that created confusion and frustration in the SEO world. At face value, it seemed they were suggesting that social signals do not have a direct impact on organic rankings. However, when you look at the peripheral and consequential data, you’ll note that because Google crawls social websites (which are in fact, large search engines in and of themselves) and finds links and references to your website and “likes,” “shares,” and “talk about” your website, it has a strong organic influence on your search engine rankings.

In fact, Danny Sullivan, a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land, spoke directly with Bing and Google to learn how they look at social signals as a ranking factor. Both search engine companies reported that the degree to which you are an influencer on Twitter can impact how well a page does in a regular web search.

Several studies, including SearchMetrics’ Rank Correlation for 2013 and case studies outlined in this infographic from Quicksprout, supported the theory that search engine results are influenced by social signals when ranking a site.

Additional proof of this is a statement by Google’s Matt Cutts that “Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index and so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it then we can return that in our search results”.

The positive effects of social media as it relates to search can no longer be ignored. Top-ranking URLs tend to have higher social signals than those that don’t rank as well. It is official, social media can affect your website SEO ranking. However, simply having a profile on the most important social media platforms will not help your website ranking.

Every social network requires a specific strategic approach and simply posting and even boosting your post isn’t enough. To create value and impact on social media channels you must have a comprehensive understanding of how to:

  1. Identify and adjust your goal for each channel
  2. Understand what it takes to get results on each individual channel
  3. Develop a strong social media strategy and drive your goals and implementation plan down to each individual channel
  4. Implement that strategy effectively across the board
  5. Measure your results at least monthly
  6. Adjust accordingly and repeat steps 1 – 5

The reason so many companies fail to gain traction on their goals is that they don’t get all of these steps accomplished effectively.  Social media success requires a great deal of know-how, time and attention in order to achieve growth and be useful. 

What does it mean to Boost your post?

Increased social signals are indicators of a good and growing domain authority. They also demonstrate the value of the URL. According to Moz, social signals have both a direct and indirect impact on organic search rankings. Direct impact comes from the number of: 

  • People that like your brand on Facebook
  • Facebook shares
  • Twitter followers
  • Tweets mentioning your brand name or including a link to your website
  • People that “have you in their circles” (Google+)

Indirect impact comes from:

  • Increased inbound links and citations due to improved online visibility/brand awareness
  • Increased positive reviews (in Google Local, Yelp, etc.) from happy customers
  • Continually decreasing bounce rate, increased time on site / page and more repeat visitors to your website

Every SEO thought leader and expert will confirm that your social media efforts can contribute to the overall organic success of your website.

How should you use social media in order to boost your search engine rankings?

  1. Grow your social media audience. Having a considerable number of followers and connections can help your website achieve higher search engine results.

Important! Be sure to build your follower base organically. Building it any other way will do you more harm than good. Search engines, like Google, can distinguish real followers from spam or fake followers and your chance of getting penalized is huge. Penalties reduce your ranking – so, it’s simply not worth the risk.

Instead, attract and retain followers with conversation and direct engagement. Create and share content relevant to your target audience and related to your business. Ask questions, share breaking news in your industry as it happens, important statistics, helpful tips and inspiring quotes. Post regularly and respond promptly to comments, especially negative ones. Growing a solid base of followers is a slow process and eventually it will be worth your while.

  1. Make certain your content is sharable. Relevant, unique and high quality content will increase awareness of your website on social media. If you can get your followers to share your blog post via social media sites, you’ll generate more traffic to your website and it increases the chance that people will link to it within their own websites. With a diverse link pool, you’ll inherit and create authority for your domain giving you the power of organic links minus the time it takes to build them manually. Likes, shares, favorites, replies, and retweets all count as contributors to your overall domain authority.
  1. Optimize your posts for searches. Popular social media updates can show up at the top of search results. If you want your posts to rank well, you’ll need to optimize them to maximize their chances. Start by including keywords your target audience uses when they search for your solution. You can also post infographics, videos, links, or a fully detailed article and frame them with text that has been optimized for a specific type of search.
  1. Optimize your post for local searches. Local-specific authority signals can do wonders for your website search engine ranking. The best way to attract local attention is to post interesting and relevant content with strategically placed keywords that are specific to that particular geographic area. Search engines will be able to identify this content and use it to create relevant search results to match common queries. Also, as often as possible, whenever your company participates in local event post about it. Include pictures in these posts and encourage local people to participate in conversations. 

Final thoughts 

It is important to recognize that Social Media Marketing is a heavy hitting SEO factor and it has a direct influence on your search engine results. More and more search engines are leveraging social media channels for quality content. Understanding all aspects of SEO and Social Media Marketing strategies are crucial for providing ranking benefits, more traffic, more conversions and more customers. Make the most of both by providing added value to your visitors and potential customers. Work on your social media strategy and implementation and you will enjoy the positive effects that follow!

Social Media is complex and understanding what is required of you to achieve your goals within each industry relevant channel is literally an industry in itself.

Social media is not longer a wild frontier.  Not only does it yield quantitative results when done well, it leaves you with major value gaps when it isn’t done properly. Not doing it all is worse still.

Have questions? Want to talk about how to build your Social Media strategy or how to improve your SEO?

Give is a call or email us here. It’s free. Contact us today!

Jillian Vanarsdall
Jillian Vanarsdall
Founder of Blue Iris Marketing. An inbound marketing agency assisting businesses, from start-ups to high-growth firms, to phenomenally tell their unique story in a noisy digital world. Our services include inbound marketing, Wordpress web design and development, SEO, and social media.

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