Did you know social media can have a positive or negative effect on your search engine optimization (SEO)? That’s right, social media and SEO are intertwined. You are probably sick of hearing about the power of social media. However, just because Facebook and Twitter may not be the driving force of your sales does not mean you can’t leverage them. Statistics from the Pew Research Center shows that social media usage has dramatically increased and is a significant percentage of American adults. This corresponds to a worldwide trend, and is why search engines are now using social media signals to help determine rank.
We often discuss online marketing in segments. There is social, content, and search marketing. Nonetheless, they are all interdependent. Good content is shareable, and shared content has value. Search users expect to receive the most reliable results. Therefore, search engines have worked tirelessly to align their algorithms to supply the needs of their customers. Consequently, signals from social media now help determine search engine page results. This does not diminish the technical aspects of SEO, but it does mean these off-page factors can impact results. Keep reading to learn about the relationship between social media and SEO, and how to improve yours.
How Social Media and SEO Are Intertwined
1. Content Discovery – Some estimates suggest that there are 1.6 million blog posts published and 60,000 new websites created every day. That is a lot of content to find and index, even for search engine giants like Google. Social media platforms, like Twitter, are a natural repository. Search engines are able to quickly discover new content and evaluate its popularity.
2. Social Engagement – Much like with link building, social engagement improves your perceived trustworthiness and authority. This is what marketers call “social proof.” People give a great deal of weight to the opinions of others. As a result, thing like social shares, “likes”, tweets, comments, and reviews can influence the perception of your brand and content.
3. Online Influence – In addition to social engagement, search engines evaluate your online influence and the online influence of others. Have you ever heard of a Klout score? While many online marketers find Klout’s system unreliable, it can give you some idea how the search engines may see you and your active audience. So, again like link building, who is engaging with your content will influence algorithms.
Social Media Practices to Boost SEO
This is the part many marketing experts leave out when writing about the relationship between social media and SEO. When you incorporate these strategies into your overall marketing practices, you can expect to receive a boost to your SEO.
1. Increase Your Followers – As a general rule, most social media marketers will tell you quality is more important than quantity. They example the idea that 100 engaged followers will provide more value than 10,000 inactive. While technically true, this does not hold up to real world scrutiny. If you follow the best practices for attracting relevant followers, then you should be able to build a large and effective audience. Nonetheless, even under ideal conditions, only about 20 percent are every really active.
2. Encourage Social Sharing – The more active you are on social media, the more users will naturally engage with you and your content. However, limit self-promotion to 20 percent or less of your activity. People will not interact with your brand if they perceive the conversation is one-sided or blatant advertising. This becomes a self-feeding cycle. The more people engage with you on social media, the more followers you receive. The more followers you have, the more your content is shared.
3. Social Web Design – Don’t forget to integrate social media into your website. Add social icons at the top and bottom of every page, linking your site to your social profiles. Make sure content and product pages have share buttons, allowing users the ability to seamlessly post your content. Add social login so users can register using a one-click process. Also, add Facebook Open Graph and Twitter cards to your code so you can control the content’s appearance.
4. Optimize Content – There is a lot that can be said about what makes for good content. Nonetheless, HubSpot found the most shared content often share specific characteristics. For instance, word count is extremely important. Articles with between 2,250 and 2,500 words earn the most organic traffic, but those with more than 2,500 words received the most social shares. The same was true for gaining inbound links. Therefore, long-form content often provides the greatest value.
What haven’t we covered yet that is important to you. If you would like to talk about the relationship between social media and SEO, or need more information, please contact us.