We all know SEO is essential for the success of businesses – search engine optimization is the core of powerful websites. Your position on Google SERPs can have a huge impact on the amount of organic traffic your website receives, and even how much business your company brings in.
But when it comes to SEO, where does social media come into play? How much does social media marketing really impact your SEO?
Understanding the Importance of Social Media in SEO
Social media and SEO have a complex relationship. While Google claims social activity doesn’t directly contribute to your ranking factor, research has proven otherwise.
In 2018, Hootsuite conducted a study to test the success of articles with and without social shares, and the results were undeniable – the articles that were shared across social platforms received a 22 percent boost over those that didn’t.
If you ask us, that's a hard stat to ignore. But what exactly made the difference between these two elements within the study?
Sharing and Backlinks
Let’s take a closer look at how this relationship works. Sharing a piece of content, like a blog post from your website, won’t directly impact your SEO. However, it does create exposure for your brand and the content. It will generate more traffic for your website, and if the content is highly valuable, can cause a bit of a stir.
With a greater exposure rate, there’s a better chance your content will be found by companies and other blogs who may want to reference your material in their own work – boom! You’ve scored a backlink, and that does directly impact your SEO.
Having active social media accounts allows you to engage with your audience on a platform they commonly frequent. If you engage with them enough and foster conversations, then you’ll be able to build a community of your customers centralized around your social channels.
Once again, while this doesn’t directly impact your SEO, it will generate a ton of exposure and brand loyalty for your company, which is great for your business.
While social shares don’t appear in SERPs, your social media profiles will. In fact, social profiles are often some of the top results on a SERP when you search a company’s name.
With this in mind, your social profile should be a strong representation of your company, displaying both your core values and explaining what your business does.
Additionally, your social profiles should include strong keywords that are relevant to your industry and any unique niche that your business falls within. As anyone with basic SEO knowledge knows, proper keyword use is everything.
Just make sure you avoid nasty black hat SEO practices like keyword stuffing, as you’ll get slapped with a penalty from Google.
How to Optimize Your Social Media for SEO
Now that you understand the relationship between social media and SEO, you may need a few tips on how to best optimize your social channels for this.
There are a few key tricks you can follow to ensure your social presence is contributing to your SEO efforts.
Update Social Bios.
First and foremost, it’s important to not let your social channels fall stagnant because that’s the number one way to miss valuable opportunities.
Make sure all your social profiles have relevant, up-to-date summaries/bios about your company. This is one of the most important elements of your company page, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or even Twitter.
Your company summary is often your business’s first introduction to your audience, so it’s important for it to reflect your company core values and clearly communicate what you do.
Post Content Often.
In order for your content to be widely shared, you actually need to post it. Sharing a blog post to your social channels is quick and easy, but if you do need help, there’s plenty of social media management tools you can use to streamline these tasks.
In addition to blog posts, you should also share photos and videos, as these are some of the most popular, engaging forms of online content, and audiences typically respond to them more powerfully than written materials.
Make Sharing Easy.
Nothing holds your content back from going viral like the inability to easily share it. This might seem like a meager issue, but it can be as simple as taking a long URL and condensing it into a shortened link.
It’s much easier for users to work with a shortened link when they’re trying to, copy, paste, and send it to their friends on and off social media.
Engage With Your Community.
As we’ve already discussed, building communities throughout your social channels is an important element of creating a beneficial social presence. One of the best ways to do this is by responding to the comments people leave on your social posts.
Additionally, you can get conversations started by posting tweets, Facebook statuses, LinkedIn queries asking your audience relevant questions, or hosting polls.
Companies with SEO Friendly Social Presences
There are tons of companies out there that are already utilizing their social presences to enhance their SEO efforts. Any social media platform can be used for these endeavors – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more.
Let’s take a closer look at a few companies who are using their social media profiles to their SEO advantage:
Fabletics, an athletic apparel company owned by Kate Hudson, keeps a very healthy Facebook profile. They’ve managed to build a strong community to support their customers.
Customers and prospects often post questions and comments on Fabletics Facebook content, and the company almost always responds to their queries.
For example, take a look at this exchange between a prospective customer, Fabletics, and a current customer.
Thanks to the community that Fabletics has built, a current customer was able to provide valuable information to a prospect who was considering purchasing their products.
Mailchimp uses LinkedIn to their advantage by maintaining a rich, active company page. They maintain an active feed full of rich content, which engages their audience. Take this trailer they posted on their page, for example.
This video has been viewed almost 5,000 times, effectively grabbing their audience and directing them back to Mailchimp’s website.
Additionally, take a look at Mailchimp’s company summary on their page – it’s brief and to the point, but also expresses a true sense of passion for their work. This level of dedication to their profession is attractive to prospective customers.
Social media management platform Hootsuite makes the most of their Twitter account by using it to share valuable, relevant content with their audience and build a community amongst their customers.
For example, check out this question they asked their Twitter followers – “what’s on your summer reading list?”
While this question doesn’t have any direct relevance to Hootsuite’s services, it sparks engagement with their audience by starting a conversation.
Hootsuite also shares an abundance of content that is directly relevant to their products and services, such as this report on five social trends that they recommend you put into practice for 2019.
This valuable content has already been retweeted 10 times in two days, thus creating a 10x audience than it originally received with the first post.
Understand the Relationship in Order to Utilize it
In order to utilize social media for your SEO efforts, you need to fully understand how it works. Don’t expect for your social media marketing efforts to skyrocket you to the top of SERPs – you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you are.
Nevertheless, you should invest careful time into your social presence, as it can make a difference in your SEO, even indirectly. SEO strategies should be fleshed out and well rounded for maximum reach and ultimate success.
In order for you to create this fully developed SEO strategy, you should consider how social media can play a role and implement campaigns accordingly.