Making Social Media & SEO Go Hand-in-Hand

Author Justin Smith
by Jen Allchin, Search Marketing Strategist

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When it comes to boosting your organic search rankings, it is a widely known fact that content is king. Google seeks to provide quality over quantity when satisfying search queries. Simply plastering your page with keywords is not going to cut it anymore. But if content is king, how exactly can you distribute it in a way that makes you noticed and found?

The landscape of content distribution and customer relations has changed drastically with the recent boom of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others. In today’s world, conversation and two-way dialogue happen instantly and is open for all to join and witness. Word-of-mouth marketing and customer engagement is now easily employed and tracked through comments, shares, retweets, hashtags, and other social media actions. But how do all of the engagement and conversational functions of social media affect search rankings and site visibility? Below are 5 ways that maintaining a social media presence can actually be an extension of your site’s SEO.

Make Your Content Easy To Find With Social Sharing

When Google made changes to its search algorithm, it aimed to find ways of interpreting social signals to find quality content when providing results to searches. With social media platforms making the distribution of content more ubiquitous and constant, Google and other search engines have had to adjust to quickly filtering through more posted content in order to index it so that it can be incorporated into searches. To make this process easier and quicker, search engines look at how many times a certain piece of content is retweeted, who is posting it, how many people have shared it and when it was posted when deciding what gets indexed first. The faster that the content is indexed, the faster it is available to search results.

Social Reputation as a Metric of Site Quality and Authority

A search engine’s main goal is to find the best, more trustworthy and relevant answers to inquiries. Having a well-engaged social media page, such as a well-followed Twitter page, actually increases your reputation and social equity in the eyes of search engines like Google. Building reputation through authentic engagement with your audience and sharing relevant content that resonates with your customer base not only helps in spreading your brand and identity, it also helps in making your voice an authority in your field. When search engines see you as someone with trusted influence on social media, you can actually see a boost to your content’s ranking.

Social Shares Are the New Linkbacks

In the olden days, the number of links directed to your site was a factor in deciding whether or not your site was relevant and real. But it was easy to litter your site with keyword-rich inbound links and make deals with others to do the same. These black-hat SEO techniques can easily get your page demoted and search engines have had to find a different way to track and rank links. Instead of just looking at the number of times a link appears on sites, Google now also looks at how many times URLs appear in Facebook posts, likes, shares, Tweets, favorites, +1s and retweets to rate the authenticity and relevance of links.

Social Media Conversations Can Generate Content

While blogging and posting educational articles are one of the best ways to generate useful content on your site, figuring out what you need to write about can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. With social media serving as the Internet’s platform for conversation, it is now easier to find out what your audience is talking about and what they have questions about. Monitoring and “listening in” on the dialogue of your audience could be a great way to decide what people need to be educated about and what content topics would be helpful to them. If you see multiple people discussing the way a product works, consider writing an article about that product and its operation to give your audience another way to find solutions and answers.

Different Social Media Platforms Weigh Differently With Google

Be diverse - there are multiple social media platforms and each one has unique norms and protocols. It can be time consuming to leverage them all, but each one impacts your site rankings differently. It should serve as no surprise that Google loves Google+ and data actually supports the idea that +1s impact your rankings more than actions from Facebook and Twitter. Yet Google+ it is often times seen as secondary to platforms such as Twitter and Facebook because the audience is not as large. Make the most out of what all three have to offer by maintaining your presence on all three and by catering the content you share to the different platforms’ audiences and protocols.