How many times do you go ahead and click on the second page of Google in your search for the desired result? It is known as the best place to hide a body for a reason – no one visits it, ever! With so much data being uploaded to the web every second, developing an alluring brand and getting traffic has become a herculean task. The possible solution is through combining forces of Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. Sounds complex, eh? Don’t worry, in this post we will reiterate four great ways to boost your SEO game using your socials.
A Slight Background
Before we start, here is a little history of the hows and whys of the subject.
We have already established that to reach a greater audience, it has now become imperative to tap into the realms of SEO, but what can you do to improve your game?
Well, Google did confirm that content and links are two primary factors that act as ranking signals to the Google search algorithm- so, the production of quality content, and adding worthwhile links to it are essential. Initially, Google had made a statement where it regarded social signals as a determinant in the ranking of the webpage, which changed the course and strategy of online marketing.
Several studies surfaced, including one conducted by SearchMetrics’ Rank Correlation gave additional weight to the idea that search engines picked up on social signals when ranking web pages. Imagine the surprise and dismay when after three years of that announcement, Google backtracked and said: “sorry bros, we don’t do that just yet.”
At this low point, it was the webmasters refused to buy into the statement that Google served the public, and instead found out varied signals through which social media could influence SEO. From link-building, the focus shifted on getting more followers and likes on social media.
A study by CognitiveSEO provides enough proof to back that statement. Social signals might not play a vital role in the ranking in the Google Search Algorithm, but the correlation between social media and search success is strong, which gives one plenty of opportunity to rise through the ranks using their social media.
Let us dive into how social media can bring more traffic to your website and take your overall SEO up a notch:
Brand Awareness can set you on the right path!
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? It is surprising the number of brands that lack in the area, as a result of which there is a scarcity of traffic on their online portals.
Social Media provides you with the boost it requires. An experiment was performed by a UK based company which calculated whether brand awareness had any role to play in organic search rankings, and it was concluded that there is a strong correlation between popular brands and search performance.
Imagine this, if you are scrolling through Instagram and find a page with stunning home decor, which you almost immediately wish to purchase- and luckily, they have an online portal- you will automatically click on their website link, without any qualms in mind. Social media not only help you represent your brand in a liberated fashion but also help you target your potential future customers.
Participating in conversations and driving engagement on your posts, will automatically give it a boost on the app- let’s not forget that even apps like Instagram are their own search engine; It all comes down to the basic principle- the better the experience you provide to your users, the higher you are going to rank on Google. Identifying your audience will also help you target them with relevant ads using PPC, which in turn will also increase brand awareness.
If you think managing your socials will be too time-consuming or just too much of a burden, there are always paid options like sponsored posts, which makes the pool of targets even bigger. There are also great tools like Hootsuite and SproutSocial, which can help you post content on a maintained schedule.
Social media has been around for some time now, so if you are just starting out, there is no harm in seeking some inspiration from other brands in the business- it will eliminate your chances of making the mistakes that they made while starting out.
If you post a few times a day, then there is a better chance of getting noticed by your targets, and drive conversation and engagement, which is paramount in growing brand awareness. Another great tip is to limit the number of social media icons you use. It is better to only focus on where your audience will be found- if you are targeting a middle-aged group and are active on SnapChat, of course, your hard work will yield no desired results.
Opportunity to drive Local Engagement
A local community can help you expand and raise your social rank. Social media provides the perfect opportunity to engage in the local community by sending local-specific authority signals to all major search engines.
The best ways to drive interaction are:
- Making updates when your brand gets involved in a local event
- Interacting with local establishments and local brands on social media
By keeping your audience involved with all your ongoings, you not only immerse them in your brand but also help them build a certain level of trust and faith in the brand.
Q&A style content, interactive stories, and posts, polls, hosting live discussions are just some ways of posting and keeping your audience engaged. By posting a few updates about having attended a local festival or event will make you more socially visible and strike a conversation as well.
A great way to now drive the conversation on social media is through using hashtags. Hashtags have become a component that lets you access all that is being discussed around a single hashtag. If brands use this to their advantage, it not only reaches their target audience but also scales the content to a level on Google, because they can be counted as keywords.
Hashtags have become essential in the spectrum of digital marketing because it automatically makes your idea or campaign more accessible to a whole new audience, which would not be possible by only using keywords. All trending topics around the world get more engagement through hashtags.
When trying to engage with local brands on social media, do your research beforehand. The best approach would be to engage with them on a regular basis, and build a relationship where you share each others’ posts, get involved in discussions or even guest-blogging, whilst sharing the links to your socials.
Doing the aforementioned will increase your audience, and make your brand more visible, driving up your traffic. Humans are curious creatures; all you need to do is leave a little room for speculation and see how that drives your numbers through the roof.
Optimizing for searches
The lack of time has been a perpetual complaint now. Does it not drive you over the edge when you are in a hurry and searching for something on Google desperately, but instead get search results that are absolutely not relevant to your search? Many suffer in a similar manner. This just means that the undesired result has been incorrectly optimized.
To optimize the content, you need to think from the perspective of the potential searcher. Google has been known to favor popular social media updates in the top section of the search results. It might be a temporary position, but with the number of people on the internet, it is bound to generate some traffic your way, only if your posts are optimized for that opportunity.
You can choose your medium of content- be it a video, or a blog that can pose as a strong anchor for your post. Next, you should title it in an accurate, descriptive, yet something which sparks curiosity, or a sudden burst of some emotion- sadness, happiness, aspiration, etc.
The next step would require you to frame your foundation text using text optimization for a specific kind of search. For example, if you have written a blog about the best practices for making apple cinnamon pies, you could frame it in the form of a query- “How to get the perfect golden top apple cinnamon pie?” Throw in a few seasonal keywords, go crazy, but not too crazy, else even your potential customers might be at the receiving end of frustrating search results.
External inbound links can make or break your brand
If your blog has external inbound links of diverse categories, it will be golden in Google’s eyes. Social media proves to be a great instrument in such a setting because it encourages more sites to link to your content. It is a given that to jump on this bandwagon, you will need to have high-quality content that people like enough to link to and share.
If you are just starting out but have great content you can use social media as your as a broadcasting channel, where your content can act as bait.
Use hashtags to attain more visibility for initial rounds of syndication and do not back away from introducing your content into existing threads and discussions.
This will help you maximize your potential external link sources.
Make your page, your brand a linkable asset and leverage social media to gain more exposure. SEO Powersuite conducted some research on the topic and it showed that many specialists used social media for link building:
- 53% experimented with viral campaigns like giveaways and contests
- 81% shared their content on social media platforms
- 88% included links in social media profiles bios
Social media is a great alternative to email. It is more likely to get a response on social media because of the laid back foundation and vibe associated with it. People tend to put off emails for a duration where they are in that formal state of mind, but with social media, that is not the case. Keep up with the times, switch your link-building methods and connect with people outside their busy inboxes!
Social media has grown exponentially in the past five years. Not getting on board with it will only increase the gap between your brand and the customer. Marketers should broaden their concept and definition of SEO, and take into account the myriad ways that people find content. They should keep in mind the traffic increase through social media and its effect on rankings on SERP.
The web is ultimately a place for building relationships and fostering audiences through a string of diverse ideas and identities. If you do just that through your social media, there is no reason for SEO to go against that flow because ultimately it is supposed to assist a better, enjoyable experience for every individual.
Harsh Dutta is a digital marketer, professional copywriter, and entrepreneur at Italics, a content writing company in India.