Marketing gurus are constantly analyzing, discussing and defining the relationship between search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing. However, many believe there’s a newcomer that needs to be added to the mix: social media. Think of search ranking as a game of cards, if you will, with social media being your hidden hand.
So, could the link between search engines and social media be a game-changer? Well, a hidden hand is often secretive, and Google is the king of keeping secrets. To that end, clearly defining the relationship between SEO and social media is not easy. However, that there is a connection goes without debate.
In this article, we break down the link between social media and SEO. Read on to know whether social media is a showstopper or a side character!
Social Media: The Potential Power Behind SEO
In 2014, Google announced that social signals play no role in determining search rankings. Naturally, this bit of information came as a shock to several marketers.
All this while, metrics such as Facebook likes, Twitter followers, etc., meant something. They stood for authority, influence, quality and, most importantly, trustworthiness. Well, there is reason to believe that social media is still pretty influential in SEO ranking.
A 2018 Hootsuite study shows social shares can boost content by an average of 22 percent! So, while not directly influencing SEO, social media is not something to overlook in content marketing.
1. SEO, Ranking and Social Media Backlinks
Google clearly states that a profile authority’s social signals do not affect the SEO algorithm. However, you may wonder if that applies to links posted on social media accounts.
For example, say your Twitter blog post blows up. A question you likely have is whether these links affect the original post’s search ranking. Well, Google hasn’t let the cat out of the bag just yet. However, software engineer Matt Cutts explains in a YouTube video that Google crawls social sites for data as it does any other website.
Google treats Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., as standard web pages in their index. So, if Google manages to crawl trending topics from these sites, they will show up in Google Search results.
OptinMonster backs Hootsuite’s claims that social media boosts SEO ranks with their 2019 research. So, unconfirmed as it is, Google likely counts links on social media as credible backlinks. However, a social account’s authority is still quite valueless to search engines.
2. Ranking and Social Media Profiles
The effect of social media shares on a web page’s search engine rankings is uncertain. However, related social media profiles certainly pop up in these rankings. What’s more, they often tend to be in the top search results for brand names!
For instance, if you were to Google “Unreal Web Marketing,” you will find our Facebook profile as the second result. Right after that, in the number three spot, is our LinkedIn profile! Oh, and F.Y.I., this isn’t a sneaky ploy to get hits on our name! We’re simply trying to point out that social media profiles rank.
Also, this applies to all social media platforms, from Twitter to Instagram to YouTube. It is up to you to leap at the opportunity and put this visibility to good use! Social media profiles are appealing as they give companies a more personal touch.
So, having a few social media channels churn out content is a fun way to engage with potential clients. Also, try to make this content as captivating as possible. Every single like, share, retweet – even a +1 – is worth something!
3. Social Media Channel or Mini Search Engine?
With how popular social media is, it’s no surprise that people no longer rely only on search engines. Yes, now people even use social media channels to look stuff up. Let’s talk about how this works.
Say you’re a content marketing company that doubles as a “tweep.” Well, your activeness on Twitter could put your newly-released content distribution app on the map! A simple search for tweets related to content marketing could lead people to it.
Similarly, if your company focuses on eye-catching visual content, you can follow Instagram and Pinterest optimization tricks. These usually include proper hashtag usage, pin categorization and more.
People will likely look through these profiles to get to know your brand before reading blog posts about it. So, create a positive presence across different social media platforms. A crucial step in this process is making your social media handles super easy to find.
Social media sites may have multiple accounts with similar names, so you can make the real deal stand out by deleting duplicate accounts. If your company has more than one social media account, label them according to their purpose. For example, you can include “HR” or “PR” next to the brand name.
Social Media and SEO: Wield Your Power the Right Way
When it comes to content marketing, even the littlest bit of promotion is worth a fortune. What’s more, it doesn’t cost a penny if you do it right! Here are some simple ways you can use the magic of social media for better SEO:
- Social media sharing buttons: Incorporate these into your websites and blogs. The more people share your content, the more traffic you get and the better your website ranks!
- Integrated keyword strategy: The line between social media and search engines is a fine one, so you can quite easily include SEO keywords in social media content. Be careful about keyword stuffing, though!
- Social media linking: We’ve already talked about how social media content can rank in searches. Use this to your advantage and include links to the content you want to promote in your posts!
- Video/presentation linking: If you use a video sharing platform like YouTube, link your other content in these videos. These will help build traffic and create inbound links.
- Build social media reach: You should make it your goal to post quality content and boost engagement across social media pages. Doing so will not only improve your reach but also create more inbound links.
No matter what Cutts said in 2014, all signs point to social media’s influence in search rankings. So marketers and companies must broaden their SEO strategy to include these platforms too. After all, social media can increase traffic to a website, and increased traffic can only boost search rankings.
We’ll keep it short and sweet: SEO, content marketing and social media are much like the Three Musketeers. Your content needs social media – especially with these ever-changing times.