Are you wondering how to grow your business by using social media to enhance your SEO for increased traffic?
Your SEO strategy and social media have a strong correlation. Still, traditionally, they are viewed as two distinct aspects within digital marketing, and there’s a reason for that.
Optimizing for search engines makes your content more discoverable. On the other hand, you can use social media to determine the right content, find your niche audience, and create a solid call to action.
Social media complements SEO in more ways than you might think. Your social media activities can be indirectly responsible for your ranking position. By applying SEO best practices to your social media content and understanding how search engines utilize these signals, you can increase your site traffic and social following simultaneously.
The benefits of using social media to enhance your SEO include:
- Enhancing brand recognition
- Improving visibility and traffic
- Building brand authority
- Acquiring social shares
- Acquiring backlinks
- Improving local SEO
Search engines use signals from social activity to determine where to rank your content in the (SERP) Search Engine Results Page.
As content is created by millions of users every day, fierce competition makes it challenging to rank high on search engines. If you're not utilizing social media to its fullest potential, you could be missing out on a significant source of organic online traffic to your site.
This guide will go over several important questions you may have and offer valuable tips and benefits of viewing social media through the lens of SEO best practices.
Table of Contents
Terms and Definitions
- (SEO) Search Engine Optimization
- - The process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
- (SERP) Search Engine Results Page
- - A page of results listed to respond to a search query on a string of keywords.
- Social Media
- - Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or participate in social networking.
- - Google stores all web pages that it knows about in its index. The index entry for each page describes the content and location (URL) of that page. To index, Google fetches a page, reads it, and adds it to the index: Google indexed several pages on my site today.
- - The process of looking for new or updated web pages. Google discovers URLs by following links, by reading sitemaps, and by many other means. Google crawls the web, looking for new pages, then indexes them (when appropriate).
- - Automated software that crawls (fetches) pages from the web and indexes them.
- - The generic name of Google's crawler. Googlebot crawls the web constantly.
- - Otherwise known as ranking signals or ranking factors, are secret characteristics that search engines use to identify websites and even social accounts that contain credible and reliable information.
- Social Signals
- - Refer to a webpage's collective shares, likes, and overall social media visibility as perceived by search engines.
*Source: Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide
1. How To Use Social Media To Enhance SEO
Here we explain three actions you can take to enhance your SEO through social media. These actions include sharing your content, engaging with your community, and ranking your business profile.
2. Share Your Content
haring your content is the main reason social media marketing effectively strengthens social signals and improves SEO. The benefits of sharing your content on social media sites can build brand authority, brand recognition and increase your potential to acquire backlinks
Here’s a list of different modes of content creation:
- Videos or Vlogs
- Live Videos
- Blogs, Articles, and Guides
- Testimonials and Reviews
Having a schedule with consistent content will engage and retain your followers by delivering value through information, entertainment, and a shared purpose or ideology.
These participants respond in kind by liking and sharing your post, driving even more traffic to your site.
The goal of sharing content is not quantity but quality. Yes, you want to be posting often and consistently. If you can, post every day. Yet, if your content is lacking, it just won’t get the response that you deserve.
Social media content can be indexed, and there are a ton of posts every day. WorldOMeter shows that there are about 6.6 million blog posts a day and over 700 million tweets. That is a lot of content to face off against.
Having quality content can increase traffic to your site, this is probably an understatement. It’s important to optimize your content for a responsive design. Making mobile-friendly content is a good practice.
Sharing your content on social media will boost SEO by indexing your work and placing it in the digital hands of your customers.
3. Community Engagement - Interact With Your Audience
Posting your content on social media opens the door for comments, questions, and shares. You can, and should, engage with your prospects by responding to them
Responding to comments and questions builds a personalized relationship between you and your customers. Another benefit is that one of your customers may have the same question as many other customers. Responding to just one person can sell many more on your services. It’s out in the open and available for other prospects to see.
TIP: Responding to comments also creates the potential for keyword research. What are your followers looking for? Is there some need still not filled? The comments on your posts are ripe for content.
Think if you had a bonfire and invited a large group of people. Yet, when everyone came, they sat down and didn’t converse, play games, or anything else. How do you get the conversation started?
Engaging with your community in a way that prompts them to react will get the conversation started. When sharing your content, ask a question or give a personal story relevant to the topic. As long as you are engaging and truly show your business brand, people will have something to talk about and look forward to.
Include a call to action. When you deliver quality content and engage with your prospects, they will be more willing to go to your site for help. If someone hands me a sample of their food and a flyer for their business, I will probably read that flyer. The same can be said when you deliver a quality post.
4. Rank Your Business Profile
Your business profile page does get crawled by Google and Bing, allowing it to be ranked in SERPSs.
When optimizing your social media profile page, make sure that your profile is filled with thoughtful descriptions of your company and tags relevant to your industry. This allows Google to correlate your website with your social media profile, moving both up in search ranking.
Other important information to include:
- Consistent branding across platforms
- A link to your website
- Keyword tags that describe your business
- A business email
Optimizing your social media profile for Google to rank increases the potential of claiming more SERP real estate. If done thoroughly, your website, FaceBook, Instagram, and LinkedIn can take up the first through fourth ranks on a SERP.
5. The Benefits of Using Social Media to Enhance SEO
Improves visibility and site traffic
Marketing is one of the most challenging aspects of doing business. How do you get your brand and content out there?
Sharing your content on social media platforms gets your work in the digital hands of your prospects. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. But, creating a following can spread your content to thousands, if not millions, of people—keeping your brand top of mind.
The more people you reach with your content, the more potential traffic you have for your site.
Send Signals to Crawlers through Social Shares
Social signals are the likes, shares, and comments your posts receive on social media platforms.
As we saw with visibility, the more your content gets shared, the more likely your audience will see it leading to more prospects linking to your content. These social shares can have a considerable impact on your site traffic and search ranking.
Organic links are hard to come by these days, so anything you can do to increase your chances of getting your content shared and linked is a benefit.
There is still debate over whether Google ranks for social shares. It’s best to lean on the side of caution and consider them as important.
Always brand your content. When content is shared, so will be the brand that created it. Even if your brand is not tagged in the share.
Helps improve local SEO
Using social media helps your local SEO, which also helps potential customers find your business.
Many local searches come from non-locals. For example, someone may be searching for a hotel with free WiFi in town for their trip next week. This would be a great opportunity for search engines to see that you have free WiFi
Local search optimization empowers customers to take action and helps businesses convert leads.
The more content and data customers have about your business, the more trustworthy you are in their eyes. This is a major reason to use social media in your marketing plan. Building relationships with your leads on social media helps move them through the sales cycle.
Builds Brand Authority
Delivering quality content has the benefit of building brand authority. Using social media to showcase your best content builds trust and value with customers.
Answering questions, writing social posts, giving a youtube how-to guide, these all deliver value to your prospects, building trust in your brand as an authority in your industry.
When your customers know you do good work, they will know the content that you share is beneficial.
Creates the Potential to acquire Backlinks
When your content is shared, another content creator may decide to use it in their blog. Google crawls for these backlinks and considers them when ranking sites. The more people that see your content and use it, the more authority Google will attribute to your site.
Backlinks are a major factor in SEO and using social media to share your content for backlinks will most definitely increase your site traffic and SEO if done well.
6. Does Social Media Improve SEO?
The hard truth is that social media does not have a direct impact on your SEO on Google (but it does on Bing). In 2014, Matt Cutts of Google said that they do not track special metrics such as followers or likes. Yet, this is rather outdated
Google also pointed out the indirect benefits of social media and SEO. For example, sharing your content on social media can increase visibility and drive traffic to your site.
In 2016, CognitiveSEO did a study of Google rankings to determine how social shares impacted SEO on four different social media platforms. They found that high-ranking sites often had the most social shares.
From what we can tell, social media does play a role in boosting your SEO and site traffic in some way. The exact way is still being debated to this day but is currently believed to be an indirect correlation rather than direct causation.
7. Which Platform Works Best?
Choosing the right platform to advertise your content is crucial. You could create an account on every social media platform and attempt to manage them all.
Yet, it may be better to focus on a few platforms that house your target market. It saves you time from posting your content on every platform just to have a few social media accounts get clicks.
For example, Facebook may be a great place to share an event, but YouTube is a great place to house your how-to videos.
Facebook is the largest social media platform. Oberlo wrote an amazing article on 10 Facebook Statistics Every Marketer Should Know In 2021.
Some of the most important statistics were:
- 2.8 billion monthly active users
- Reaching 59% of all social media users
- Over 200 million small business accounts
- 98.3% access via mobile
- 86% of US marketers use Facebook for advertising
Seeing these numbers, what do you notice?
The first thing may be that over a quarter of the world’s population uses Facebook every month, or that it still only reaches 59% of all social media users. Posting on another platform augments your potential reach!
Yet, these statistics show that Facebook has kept its place as the number one social media giant.
Facebook is highly adaptive and has been delivering a surplus of value to its consumers and other businesses consistently. For many, Facebook has become a way of life. People spend hours upon hours scrolling through feeds. Businesses spend a lot of money on advertising.
The number of people using Facebook provides an incredible opportunity to advertise your website and its content. The more people that see your content, the more traffic you get to your site. This, indirectly, will increase your SEO for traffic
Why shouldn’t you show up in a Facebook feed? Just remember to optimize your profile and your content for mobile.
LinkedIn has come a long way from being the social media site where users simply upload their resume on and search for a job. It has since evolved into a place where industry experts share their content, boost their brand, and network with other experts.
Unlike Facebook, only 3 million LinkedIn users share their content on a weekly basis. The marketing potential on LinkedIn is increasing rapidly. Sharing your content now can secure you a spot in feeds and establish your brand authority before it becomes too cluttered.
Twitter works differently than other social media platforms by having a smaller limit of 280 characters in a tweet. Because of this, keeping your tweets to one specific message will keep the attention of your followers.
Like Facebook, you can pay for ads and target specific markets for your services; however, Twitter’s ads are more subtle in their approach and are more integrated with more organic content.
Because of the smaller group of people, the competition for traffic is lower. Many companies do use multiple social media platforms. The nature of Twitter is more fast-paced and appeals more to millennials. Make sure to create #qualitycontent for that pace, and mind the hashtags. Piggybacking on trending hashtags and tweeting frequently is key to boosting content on Twitter.
Quora is a great place for you to market your authority by answering questions that many people cannot find answers to.
Marketing on Quora is a little different than other social media platforms. The value comes from straight, honest information answering a question. Involved in your answers can be a link to your blog or services, but the question should always have priority.
Essentially, don’t do it for marketing.
Ash from Smarthustle argued it this way, “However, hustling or selling is exactly what you shouldn’t be doing on Quora. Instead, aim to spread knowledge.”
An extra benefit of Quora is that you have a direct source of the questions people are asking about in your topic or industry. If you notice a trend in the questions, there is potential to make blogs and articles out of the keyword research you do before they hit Quora.
A neat function of Quora is that they will send you notifications on these topics every day. Not only the questions but answers as well. There are other experts on Quora answering these questions and may include new information for you to use.
Aim to spread knowledge
YouTube (Search Engine)
YouTube is a video-sharing platform that has over two billion monthly viewers and over 500 hours of content uploaded every minute. To get started, all you need is a profile to upload your videos to. Your followers can then like, share, and comment on these videos.
One of the greatest benefits of YouTube is that it is a search engine itself. Many people go to search their questions on YouTube instead of Google because videos are easy to watch, pause, and return to. Yet, YouTube is owned by Google. If you make a great video that is shared often, it will be crawled by Google and ranked in a SERP.
YouTube is one of the best social media platforms to place your content and deliver value to customers by answering common questions in the form of guides. It offers a more personal experience than other platforms and allows your audience to connect with your brand, which will help your SEO by boosting your reach.
If you can make videos, why not try? You may go viral. iMovie, Vimeo Create, LightWorks and VideoPad all offer free video editing software to get started.
This platform allows many variations of blogging content, including the following:
- Original Stories
- Republished articles
- Personal Events
- Repurposed content
Medium assists you in reaching a wider audience you may not have acquired if you only relied on your blog and website for exposure. Many Medium articles are ranking for the top spot on Google SERPs, including for search volume and keywords.
This is primarily because of the authority Medium has. If you are having trouble ranking your pages, Medium’s audience of over 100 million monthly active users can help kickstart ranking your articles
Social media is more imperative than ever as a source of marketing material. While social signals may not directly affect your SEO (yet), the indirect benefits of social media are too substantial to pass up.
There are many more social media sites than those listed above that people use. Just make sure that the platforms you choose will reach your target market.
Test them out and publish some content. Watch the growth on each platform, and put more effort into those that resonate best with your audience. Soon, you may see a growth in traffic to your site or an article that uses your content as a backlink.
Which platforms do you use, or want to use, for your social media marketing campaign? Let us know in the comments. ∎