There has been a ton of back and forth about how social media marketing impacts SEO and whether social profiles and posts can positively affect organic search rankings and visibility.
Despite Matt Cutt’s famous 2014 video, in which Google’s former distinguished engineer refuted the idea that social signals were part of the ranking algorithm, the debate regarding the importance of social media to SEO has only continued in our industry. Google, more than Bing, denies that Facebook and Twitter posts and popularity are direct search ranking factors.
While we’ll respect what these top search engines have to say on this subject, it’s still undeniable that a proper social media strategy – both paid and organic – is critical to help increase your rankings and overall search visibility over time.
Let’s look at three ways you can include social media into your SEO campaigns to drive better results.
1. Social Media Marketing = Brand Building
The buying process is often a lengthy one, especially when buyers are making decisions on service-based offerings or high-ticket item products like luxury goods.
These types of consumers and business customers do their research online and do it well. In fact, many times they might start searching right in a social network, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
The brand equity and strength behind what the company is selling is what ultimately converts consumers. After all, people buy for two simple reasons: trust and likeness of a person or a brand.
Making your social brand stand out involves several factors in a social media campaign. Enhancing your strategy will likely support your SEO efforts.
Here are a few things you can improve:
- Design of the identity and the brand that supports the brand intent.
- Messaging around the brand to support the brand promise and target language.
- Making an ongoing commitment of original brand content creation and delivery.
- Creating a community of advocates by engaging them with branded content and contests.
Social media marketing, when developed and managed correctly, can create such brand trust. This means that companies must consider the creation and nurturing of their social brands as something critical to how their target finds them and buys from them.
When a target customer engages with a brand well in social they will inevitably either go to the company site multiple times, refer other people to the company social profiles and pages, or both.
Because people know you from social, they will also search for your brand from search engines – essentially that means you’re generating demand. The more demand you generate, the more important your brand will appear to search engines and the better you will rank over time.
The brand building in social is an important piece of a long-term SEO strategy.
2. Social Profiles Show up in Organic Search Results
There are instances when people look up other people’s names instead of companies on Google.
This is how we know to do business with someone. This can be anyone from a salesperson to a CEO.
Does your LinkedIn profile pop up first? If so, most searchers will click on your profile.
If the user sees that your profile is unused with no information, they might go back to Google or even stay on LinkedIn and find your competitor to give their business.
This is also the case, of course, for businesses. Meaning that your company social pages, both corporate as well as those for local stores, are that important.
This is where having a solid social strategy, along with active and appropriate management of those profiles and pages, come in.
What can you do?
- Have a full, completed, current profile for each social channel where your brand lives. This means updated imagery, photos, videos, contact information, calls to action, and ongoing varied content.
- Understand that the reputation of you and your company in social media can be traced back to search queries (or not). Meaning if you do a great job managing comments and positively interacting with your (or your company’s ) fans and followers, you get to build a good reputation in social. This can then help grow the shares of your content, gain new followers, and generate click backs to your site, consequently benefitting SEO. Never mind that Facebook posts and Twitter profiles aren’t direct Google ranking factors. The sites themselves are ranked – and that traffic to a well-designed site for user experience can boost site stickiness and repeat visits.
- Have your social profile settings set for success and understand how each channel works.
- You want to make sure if you allow others to write on your timeline, for example, that the message will be monitored and managed.
- If you’re a retailer with many locations, make sure that you are using the location function on Facebook or on YouTube. On Pinterest, make sure you have the appropriate Boards or Playlists that complement your SEO strategy.
3. Social Networks Have Search Engines, Too
People search within the social networks.
Since many of you are business professionals, let’s talk LinkedIn. Have you reviewed your stats to see how LinkedIn members discovered your profile? Over 50 percent of views, on average, come in from LinkedIn’s search tool.
How well have you optimized your LinkedIn profile? Did you know that your skills, and those related keywords, drive the visibility of your profile in LinkedIn search?
Here’s one simple thing you can do this week: go review your LinkedIn profile. Assess your skills and related keywords across each section – your headline, summary, experience, and so forth.
Optimize your profile for targeted LinkedIn searches. When people view your social profile or your company profile time and again, inevitably they will visit your website.
Of course, if you have done a great job with on-site SEO they will return or share your site pages, helping your overall SEO rank.