SEO is undoubtedly a minefield, and although having a Facebook and Twitter account won’t necessarily increase your SEO by simply having them, it’s what you can do with them that we want to cover, so that you can be reassured that there are ways that social media can improve your SEO.
1. Social media backlinks
Backlinks, or link-building, are techniques that allow you to post a URL to your website, on another website, blog, social media platform, etc. Backlinks must be credible, and of a high-quality; no good will come from spamming your website’s URL across the internet, as if you do that, you’ll actually get penalized by Google for doing so. Quality backlinks, on the other hand, are great for SEO, and can build trust in your brand; whether it’s a personal blog or business website.
Think about it, if your target audience comes across an article on the internet that’s interesting, relevant, and contains content that they can engage with, they are more likely to share said content with others.
If that content contains a backlink to your website, your link will be shared amongst potentially millions of users worldwide, requiring little effort from you. If you can nail the content to perfection in the first place, your visitors will do the rest for you.
If we take this one step further and apply the above to social media, consider the possible audiences you could reach. Sharing your high-quality content on social media could be your key to success; what’s more, social media allows your audience to engage with you, by commenting, liking, and sharing your content with others.
This offers more opportunities for your website’s URL to be found, through the people that are sharing your content, via social media, as well as on Google’s search engine listings. As we said before, links themselves are a ranking factor, so you can optimise your reach through the use of social media, as long as your content is meaningful and engaging.
2. Brand Awareness
Your social media pages can build your brand awareness, just as much as your own website can. Social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, are now the ‘go-to’ places to find information. Whether a user is looking for a local trade business, a restaurant, or a digital agency, social media can often provide them with the results they are looking for.
Ensuring that all of your social media pages are consistent is key; what we mean by this is, the same logo, design, coloring, styling, etc. Brand recognition has much more of an impact that you may realize, so if a user stumbles across your Facebook page, they expect it to follow the same look and feel as your website, and other social media pages.
This will make your brand more recognizable and trustworthy, prompting the growth of organic traffic to your pages, and even to your website. Think of your social media pages as a replica of your website, with a twist, where you can engage even more with your audience.
A real social media push can help to improve you SEO; if you have had great feedback regarding a piece of content on your social media pages, that is now out of date, think about refreshing the content with up to date information to draw users to come back and read the latest, and entice even more people to your page.
The more views, likes, and followers you receive, the more likely your content will be shared, generating social media links on search engine results to improve your SEO.
3. Don’t forget about Bing!
Google has pretty much taken over the search engine world (and the rest of it), but we mustn’t forget that Bing is the second most used search engine. Bing confirmed, in reference to a question regarding social media ranking signals: “We do look at the social authority of a user.
We look at how many people you follow, how many follow you, and this can add a little weight to a listing in regular search results. It carries much more weight in Bing Social Search, where tweets from more authoritative people will flow to the top when best match relevancy is used.”
So, don’t leave Bing out of your SEO strategy, as it can pack a punch when it comes to it’s ranking factors, especially considering social media is a ranking factor with them. Using all of the information provided so far can be implemented in exactly the same way, for Bing, however, just having an active social media account will improve your SEO with them.
The key thing here is not to take this too literally, e.g. don’t just create a social media account and think that your SEO will skyrocket — that’s not how it works, and still requires some effort from you in order to keep your users, viewers, and visitors engaged.
4. Integrate Social Media Buttons into your website
Now you have all of your social media platforms online, it’s time to integrate those with your website itself. This not only gives your website and your social media pages a backlink, it also makes your website user journey much friendlier; another search engine ranking factor.
If you’re a web designer or developer, then doing this may be pretty simple, however, if you’re not, don’t fret — there’s plenty of options and help out there to ensure you don’t miss out. Many different web hosts now offer 1-click installs for CMS platforms, such as, WordPress — with literally a click of a button, you can link your website hosting up to a website creator where there are thousands of free and paid templates you can choose from to design your website. Most of these contain handy widgets, like social media links, so you can integrate your social pages into your website with recognizable and trusted logos, e.g. Facebook and Twitter.
In addition, you can also display your latest posts or feeds to your website users, so they can scoop the latest news from your social media pages, and share the information, without directly landing on them.
If you have your social media platforms displaying your content, as well as your website, your SEO will be right on point, providing a clean and simple user journey, where your visitors can easily navigate from one page to the next. Accessing information at the click of a button is extremely important for website users (after all, patience has long-gone out of the window).
5. Encourage Sharing
Similar to the way link building works, social sharing can increase your website’s domain authority; this translates to search engines as your brand being trustworthy, recognisable, and worthy of it’s content being shared. Every like, follow, share, retweet, and reply you receive through your social media network counts — the more you receive, the more likely your SEO will improve.
“How do you encourage sharing?”
I hear you ask! Well, you need to appeal to your target audience first and foremost, but when it comes down to it, everyone loves something for free. Offering your followers something in return for sharing or liking your social pages is a great way to encourage sharing.
For example, you could run a competition for those who share a particular post, where a winner is randomly selected to win a prize. Or you could run a pop quiz to get your audience engaging with you even more — encouraging them to return to your page in the future.
This type of strategy works wonders, not only because you’re encouraging others to share your content, but by doing so, your content will get seen by others who may not have been aware of your social media presence previously.
These people may then decide to interact with you or follow your social media pages simply because someone else has shared the content with them, and they find it exciting, engaging, and relevant. By gaining more followers, the next time you post your quality content or competitions, the more reach you’ll gain, and therefore improve your SEO.
Social media really can improve your SEO, even if some search engines like Google don’t consider social media to be a ranking factor. It’s what you do with your social media pages that matter; always remember that your content must be engaging and relevant, otherwise your followers won’t find it interesting, and won’t share it with others.
The aim of the game is to get as many people as possible to share, like, and follow your posts, creating high-authority back links, and encouraging others to do the same.