In the interest of telling it like it is… there is no direct, causal link between social media marketing and website search engine optimization (SEO). But there is a VERY strong correlation. And although there’s also a correlation between a decrease in the number of pirates and global warming, this one most likely means something.
Social media presence is not a specific search engine ranking factor, but social media efforts do impact a website’s SEO. Search engines care a lot about ‘authority’. And that means they want to see that a business is active, loud and talked about by their peers.
- The relationship between social media efforts and a website’s SEO is built on two things:
Search engines check your activity across different platforms to assess your presence and authority
- The content you share generates backlinks to your site from people/sites who have presence and authority that you can absorb through some kind of cyber-osmosis
This relationship is the internet’s answer to old-school word-of-mouth. If people are talking about you, they’re doing it often and for a good reason, you probably know you’re shit and you’re likely to be doing that shit right.
So how can you make the most of your social media campaign by optimizing it for SEO? To sum it up in one neat phrase… ‘get noticed by the right people’. Here are 5 ways you can make that happen.
Make it eating-a-21inch-pizza-alone-on-a-Friday easy to share your content
If you want something done, ask really nicely… and strategically… and then give an extra nudge. While you don’t want to hassle your followers, if you don’t make it as easy as it can be for people to share your content, they won’t.
- Create content people actually want to share. Tips, hacks, top news, long-form blogs and videos are top of people’s most wanted list.
- Include sharing buttons on every post. But, only for sites where your audience actually hang out and then make sure you start with the most popular.
- Include a call-to-action in every post, be it in text, at the end of a video, podcast or whatever you happen to have thought up.
Embrace the organic
No, not the avocado-quinoa-earth-shake drinking kind of organic. The traffic kind. Do not go paying for shares, for poor-quality backlinks or any other type of social-media-farm-agency black hat madness.
Google knows! And you will be penalized. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Instead:
- Start conversations with your followers, especially the ones who already interact with your posts.
- Avoid keyword stuff in your writing. Write for people, not robots.
- Share consistently over time. Inconsistent social media activity is not looked on favourably by search engines.
That said, DO optimize your posts for SEO
While you don’t want to go crazy with the keywords, you should optimize your posts for SEO. Other than within titles, this only works for written posts, but all posts can be optimized in some way to show up in searches when people share them, or when they’re linked to from other sites.
- Use titles that match what your content contains. Misleading or clickbait titles are penalized by search engines.
- Use relevant keywords that indicate ‘intent’ – if you’re writing about ‘the best places to buy an iPhone’ use keywords like ‘iPhone sale’ ‘buying an iPhone’ and not just ‘iPhone’. Some website builders have built-in analytics, so there’s no excuse for skipping this step.
- Maintain a consistent brand identity across all of your social media platforms. Increasing brand recognition is great for SEO, but only if people know it’s you when they see you.
Aim your content at influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the big digital marketing trends of 2019. Your aim in optimizing your social media campaign is to get high-ranking, high-authority people and websites to link your content. By linking your content, they’re linking your site and showing search engines that you are relevant.
- Find your market’s influencers using tools like Follower Wonk (free and for identifying Twitter influencers), or Inky bee (paid and shows the SEO benefit you could gain if a person links to you).
- Link or mention their content, quote them, or interview them. To do it with max respect: mention their name, give a brief bio in the text and include their headshot.
Be consistent and stick with it
There are very few legit SEO strategies that you can implement and get results for within a few weeks. It’s sad, but true! These things take time. Probably more than most people are willing to give it. But, if you want your social media campaign to impact your SEO, you’re going to have to play fair and accept the long-game.
- It takes up to 35 weeks for each individual post to reach within 10% of their peak search engine ranking. You need to keep building a content portfolio regularly over time.
- Google favours Twitter activity, so if your campaign does not include Tweeting, you’ve got an instant SEO problem. To rank for authority, you need over 5000 tweets.
Like most things in life, increasing your website’s SEO is not a quick-fix, which is pretty disappointment of those of us who enjoy instant gratification. But, if you include these strategies in your social media efforts from the get-go, you will massively increase your chances of success a few months down the line. Put a little thought in and watch your website edge up to page one.