Website owners and marketers know the power of social media in generating positive results, but they don’t realize that it can also be used to complement their SEO strategy. So, they focus their resources in SEO services such as link building and growth hacking techniques to get a higher domain authority and page ranking.
However, it’s getting harder and harder to build links. Some websites are stingy about linking out to other sites, while others block them to prevent spam. A lot of websites will link back to yours, but they can be no-follow links. To top it all off, search engines are implementing stricter protocols that make it more complicated to increase page rankings. Enter social media.
For most businesses, the main goal of their SEO strategies is to get on the first page of Google and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo!. So, how does social media help your website get closer to that coveted #1 spot? Here are the things you can do.
- Reach Out Through Social Media
Email outreach is one of the tactics used for link building. But, social media can be used the same way. For example, instead of emailing the prospects, we can use Twitter to tweet or DM them the link. It’s a great way to earn links through outreach.
Think about it. Big brands and well-known bloggers most likely use social media to share their content and engage with their followers. Connecting with them through social media lets them know that you’re doing your homework. You didn’t just go to their website and clicked their ‘contact us’ button. You engaged with them on another platform, which means that you do follow their content. You’re not just one of those trolls asking for a backlink.
- Influence Social Shares and Engagement
Social shares and engagement can help search engines determine how valuable and relevant your content or website is. It’ll send a ranking signal to Google if a lot of people are commenting, sharing, and liking your content. Chances are, you’ll get a higher ranking on Google because of this.
Think of social shares and customer engagement as part of your online public relations strategy or online reputation management. When people engage with your brand, they are encouraged to go to your website and find out more about you. In turn, this increases your website traffic.
High engagement rates also encourage external inbound links to your site, giving you more opportunities for link building. The more diverse your external links are, the higher authority search engines will associate with your website.
- Manage your Online Reputation
People talk about their experience and post their opinions on social media. Since no brand or website is protected from criticism in this digital era, it’s important to make sure that you’re managing your online reputation well.
If someone googles your brand and a negative review comes up on page one or two of search engines, then you need to devise a search marketing strategy that pushes down the negative content in exchange for positive content.
Note that social profiles rank higher on Google, so if you’re planning to start an Online Reputation Management strategy for your name or your business, make sure that you have all the necessary social profiles that are relevant to your industry. These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, IMDB (for the film and TV industry), Quora, and more.
- Grow your Fans and Followers
Having a horde of followers interacting with your brand can indirectly contribute to your search engine ranking.
Recently, Search Engine Journal conducted a quick analysis of the fashion website FashionNova, after it significantly increased their search ranking to 88,000 keywords on SEMrush in just one year. According to their findings, the only positive SEO ranking factors it exhibited were its very low bounce rate and 6.3 million Instagram followers.
Growing your fans and followers can increase brand awareness and encourage more people to talk about your brand. People were hopping on Google and looking up their brand and products.
- Increase Brand Awareness
This may seem more like a marketing strategy than an SEO strategy, but social media can help with brand awareness (as illustrated by FashionNova) and ultimately, your SEO ranking.
When you improve your online presence and increase brand awareness, people will remember your brand. They will search for you on Google and talk about you. Chances are, the buzz they create will prompt other users to look you up as well. It’s a chain reaction that can go on and on.
The more brand searches your brand receives, the higher the likelihood of getting more qualified leads and conversions.
- Optimize Business Listings on Yelp
Remember how your grandparents used the yellow pages to find services they needed? Well, it’s all online now. Placements on sites like Yelp (yes, it’s a social networking site) and the like can help boost local SEO for your website.
Not only are you helping users and potential customers find you on the platform that they trust, but you’re also placing your website (with its relevant keywords) on Google.
As long as your site is getting great reviews from these business listing sites, Google and other search engines will take notice of your website. The more positive reviews you’re getting, the more signals search engines receive that will help them track and rank your website for the relevant keywords.
- Use Hashtags
What started on Twitter is now being widely used on major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Hashtags help social media users discover the latest trending topics.
On social media, words that start with a hash or pound symbol becomes a searchable link. When users click on the hashtag or search the platform using it, they’re led to social media posts that use the same hashtag. In short, hashtags are to social media as keywords are to search engines.
If you want to be searchable on social media or join a specific topic exchange, then you better use hashtags. They also help increase shares and engagement.
Articles posted on social media that get very high social engagement rates tend to result in better organic rankings. According to a Twitter report, brands that use hashtags get a 50% increase in engagement. Additionally, tweets with more than 1 hashtag are 55% more likely to be retweeted than those without.
On the other hand, the same isn’t true for Facebook. An Edgerank Checker research discovered that hashtags don’t have any effect on the reach and engagement of Facebook posts. In fact, posts that don’t include any hashtag outperform posts that use hashtags. So, be mindful of using hashtags.
- Use Social Media Listening Tools
Use social media listening tools such as Google Alerts, Mention, and Social Mention. These tools crawl blogs and social media pages for brand name mentions and related keywords. You can use it to identify and track unlinked brand mentions so that you can reach out to these websites and ask them to link your site to their content.
Website owners or bloggers tend to mention your brand on their site, and there’s a chance that they don’t link to you. This is where you reach out to them to get that link. This link building strategy works perfectly for well-known brands, as they get mentioned a lot on different sites.
Social media listening can also help you determine what’s trending within your industry or niche. If you know what your target market is talking about and what keywords they’re using on social media, then you can also determine the top keywords to rank for when creating content.
Again, this does not directly affect your SEO, but it can enhance and complement your link building, keyword research strategy, and content ideation. Get insight into the content that’s currently going viral so that you can choose the content topic, format, and type accordingly.
Google remains highly private about their algorithms, but search strategies can get you up there on the first page. If you know someone working in Google who didn’t sign a non-disclosure agreement, then lucky you. But chances are, your SEO strategists, no matter how awesome they are, are left to their own resources and experiences to create the best tactics that can increase ranking and authority.
Nonetheless, social media is now part of the overall online experience that can contribute to your SEO strategies in the long run. Google and other search engines may (or may not) include social media as part of their algorithms, but one thing’s for sure, your social media efforts contribute to your website’s SEO success, whether directly or indirectly.