Gone are the days of paying a fortune of your hard-earned cash for an advert in a newspaper. Social media puts the control of your business back in your safe and capable hands.
Incorporating SEO (search engine optimisation) techniques will ensure your brand rises to the top of Google, Bing and every other search engine on the internet, ensuring your audience will be able to find you.
A study by the website CognitiveSEO found that there was a strong correlation between higher social media rankings and higher SEO rankings. This is backed up by research from HootSuite which found that articles with social promotion through social media benefited from an average boost of 22% in site traffic compared to articles without social media promotion.
What is SEO?
SEO can be a daunting beast for many starting their online business ventures. As stated in the introduction, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.
The main aim of SEO is to optimise your website so that it ends up as a top link when a specific keyword is searched online. If you’ve ever used Google, you’ll know that almost every search you do creates millions of results. SEO is a tool that tells search engines why your links deserve the top spot.
Google is the biggest search engine on the internet, and it is common for businesses to strategise their SEO plans to optimise for ranking on Google specifically.
The drawback is that Google aren’t the clearest when defining how their algorithm chooses results page orders, and they frequently change the algorithm they use anyway. This makes it harder for businesses to have a clear cut set of SEO rules to follow.
Nevertheless, you can follow some key basic practices to ensure SEO optimisation on your web content.
What is the link between social media and SEO?
Unfortunately, the link between social media and SEO isn’t straightforward. According to Matt Cutts, a former Google employee, Google does not use social media presence in their algorithm to rank pages. In addition, Bing has confirmed in their guidelines of best practice that they do not consider social media in their algorithm.
So, naturally, you are probably asking yourself, “well, how does social media help me rank on search engines if the algorithm doesn’t recognise it?”.
While there is no direct link between “likes” and ranking, the amount of engagement you receive on social media through shares and backlinks are recognised by the search engine algorithm, making social media one of the most effective marketing tools available when used with SEO.
Five ways social media affects SEO
1. Audience engagement
Have you ever been walking through a street, seen a crowd formed, and gone to investigate what’s happening? Well, guess what? Social media SEO works the same way.
Search engines notice when social media pages are getting a lot of engagement. This is because they trust that people have a good sense of quality content. Therefore if many people are engaging with a piece of content, it is likely of good quality and value to other people, pushing the search engine algorithm to promote it further by ranking it higher.
The number of shares, likes and comments you receive on your social media profiles send a clear message that your content provides worth to your audience, so it is essential to make content that keeps your audience engaged and coming back for more.
2. Clever placement of keywords
Businesses that create their social media content for SEO will use short and long-tailed keywords appropriately to help them rank online. This includes adding appropriate subheadings and captions that correctly indicate the message the content is trying to relay.
Keywords are a big part of SEO, and using the correct words will help your audience find you. When picking keywords, remember they need to be relevant to the subject matter. Using a tool like Ubersuggest by Neil Patel will help you choose the right keywords for your content and help increase your engagement.
Be aware that while using hashtags may help you rank on specific sites like Instagram, search engines categorically do not recognise hashtags in their algorithms. So stick to focusing your keywords in captions and long-form posts if you want to rank across the internet.
3. Ranking for Local SEO
If you have a physical location for your business, adding NAP information (name, address and phone number) across all your social media platforms will help search engines recognise your local importance and are more likely to rank you higher in searches when people search for services in your area.
Some platforms like Instagram and Twitter even let you geo-tag your location, making it easier than ever for you to be found.
It is easier to be ranked highly for a specific location within your niche than across the internet. This can be a strong SEO strategy.
If you consistently rank top locally, your website and profiles will get more clicks and engagement. Which, as we know, will give search engines the confidence that your business provides value, pushing you higher up the global ranks.
4. Your audience is your best marketer
If you add links to your website and other social media profiles in your content, your audience will likely click on it and share the links. This is because search engines use link clicks as a metric in their algorithm to decide how high a page is ranked on their site.
So if you make content that is shareable and attractive, more people are likely to pass it along to their friends and family, expanding your audience and proving to the SEO algorithm that you deserve a place on the top step of the search engine. See? Your audience is practically doing the work for you!
Make sure your brand is recognisable by keeping a consistent theme across your content, so audiences instantly know who you are.
Unfortunately, paid for advertisements do not count towards SEO, so make sure you focus on organic content that your audience will want to share.
5. Pick your social media platforms wisely
Nowadays, there are many social media platforms to choose from when promoting your business online. Some of the leading platforms for entrepreneurs include:
Each platform has a specific philosophy with a different key demographic.
Knowing which platforms your target audience lives on will help you attain more consistent engagement.
The platforms also differ in their benefits on SEO strategies.
We already know that Google is the big daddy of search engines. However, with its ownership of YouTube, the search engine ranks YouTube videos higher – they even have a section dedicated just to YouTube videos near the top of their page.
If you want to make sure you have as many eyes as possible on your content, make sure you have YouTube as part of your social media SEO strategy.
Equally, if your main social media strategy is to sell directly from your profile, LinkedIn has been found to have the highest rate of lead conversion of any platform.
Do your research and make sure to pick 2-3 social media platforms that will give you the highest level of engagement for your specific business.
Basic practices for SEO
SEO can take a long time to learn and get good at. Here are three simple tips to get you started on your journey.
1. Pick a keyword and use it through your text
Make sure you choose 2 – 3 keywords that reflect your content and use them throughout your writing. Make sure you don’t overuse it though, as Google values quality over keywords and overuse of a specific word or phrase will feel inauthentic.
You should be thinking about your keywords when writing captions and titles as well.
2. Use long-tailed keywords
Long-tailed keywords are phrases that you use that people may search for, which narrow down what your content is about. For example, if you were writing a Twitter post about a pair of trainers you were selling, you might use the long-tailed keyword “black trainers for outdoor running”.
This keyword provides your audience additional context when searching online and allows search engines to push your content to the correct audience.
3. Add links to other content
Adding links to external content tells Google you have done your research and your content is informative and of value to your clients.
Meanwhile, adding internal links between your own content pages shows search engines that your brand has a consistent theme and your audience can trust your site.
Links allow you to influence your audience’s journey across the internet and keep them focused on your business.
While social media cannot directly affect your SEO rankings in search engines, having good engagement on your profiles is a sure-fire way to improve your rankings.
Make sure you focus on creating quality content that provides value for your audience, and you’ll start to see better engagement with your business profiles, leading to higher SEO rankings.
Here at ArXe Ventures, we specialise in helping brands maximise their potential to grow their business to new levels. So take advantage of our services and see how we can help you level up here.