If you're alive in the 21st century, you've seen the impact social media can have on businesses. Dollar Shave Club made their name on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Starbucks is another social heavy hitter - according to Alicia Kelso of Networld, "Starbucks was holding Facebook promotions before most restaurants even figured out this was a space they needed to be in."
Some of these big names are big because they're so prevalent on social, not the other way around. And their efforts are obvious when you search for "cheap razors" or "coffee."
Social Media & SEO Results: Correlation vs. Causation
Before we get into the nitty gritty of social media and SEO, we have to address one question: Does social media activity actually influence your SEO?
The answer is: not directly. For now, Google won't be using your Facebook page to help rank your website. However, your social media efforts will indirectly build your credibility and help your pages rank better in search.
The natural follow-up question is: If social media doesn't directly impact SEO, why do businesses who are successful on social media rank so well in Google?
Because these businesses are also working hard to optimize their websites, promote their content, and build brand awareness. Companies who understand the power of social media tend to be more invested in a fully integrated inbound marketing strategy. Thus, they're more successful online.
Even if you don't see immediate SEO results from your social activity, social media provides a number of benefits for all businesses:
- Brand awareness
- Community building
- Audience engagement
- Social sharing
- Networking opportunities
- Influencer marketing
- Social advertising
Whether it affects your SEO or not, you should be taking advantage of social media for your business. No ifs, ands, or buts.
How to Improve SEO With Social Media
We've established that there's no direct link between your social media and SEO. However, there are things you can do on social media to drive traffic and increase awareness. This leads to:
- More visits
- More leads
- More links
- More engagement
- More content distribution
- More credibility
These are the things that directly impact your SEO.
1. Link directly to your blog posts
Don't post a status that says, "Hey we have a new blog post up! Head over to our site to check it out!" Because, unless they're your mother, they're not going to bother typing in your URL and navigating to your blog to read the post.
Put the direct post link in the update so it's super easy to interact with.
2. Fill out every nook and cranny of your profiles
When you look at the business end of a Facebook profile, there are a lot of places to put information. You'll want to fill as many as possible so your Facebook page shows up in search for relevant terms. That means adding hours, pictures, and your Google Maps location.
3. Local business results & Google Maps
Google likes it when your business address is front and center. It makes it easy for searchers to locate your business and get directions. It's also good to place your location in as many places as possible - read this post to learn why.
4. Foster engagement & community
What do you want your social media followers to do? Link, share, like, retweet, check in, @mention, etc. You want them to interact and engage with your brand to increase general awareness.
What can you do to foster an interactive environment? Post things your audience cares about. Make sure you're building a relationship with your audience - whether with individuals or through your brand's personality. B2B businesses will find it easier to connect with the individual. B2C companies can often get away with a less direct approach.
For an example of a brand with spunk, check out How Charmin Became the Sassiest Brand on Twitter.
5. SEO also includes social media search
Yup, you can use Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn as a search engine. You can use the search bar to find hashtags, user accounts, groups, keywords - there's a surprising amount of info available on social networks.
Your profile description, posts, images, and other media should all be tagged with relevant keywords, hashtags, and @mentions. That way, people will see your posts when they search for those terms.
Our buddy Curt @mentioned us so we'd see his post. We love Curt.
6. Use ads to promote your page and your posts
Be an active participant in your marketing. Place your page directly in front of your target audience. Social media advertising platforms are the easiest way to do this. LinkedIn Ads is probably the best for B2B, but it will depend on your industry and brand.
Well-targeted ads drive high-quality traffic to your website. The more high-quality traffic you get, the better results you see from SEO.
7. Take advantage of hashtags, @mentions, and influencer marketing
We mentioned above that these are helpful in social media searches. However, they bring attention to your posts in other ways as well.
Mentioning peers, influencers, industry leaders, and even competitors can expand your reach in all the right ways. The @mention goes right to their notifications, which means they're guaranteed to see your post. It also makes them more likely to like, comment, retweet, or share your post.
Same with hashtags. Some professionals, businesses, and brands have created personalized hashtags that they monitor. Mentioning these hashtags can get their attention and motivate them to respond.
These things are especially effective if you've given them an inbound link in your content. If your blog post references an article from Industry Week, they're more likely to share or give you an inbound link of your own. Aside from the power of social sharing, inbound links are awesome for SEO.
8. Only post relevant, helpful, professional information for followers
"Relevant" will depend on your brand, product, industry, and audience. You might be a manufacturer, but your audience appreciates outdoorsy activities. In that case, it would be completely relevant to talk about boating, hunting, hiking, or camping. Bonus points if you can relate those topics back to your industry.
As a general rule of thumb, personal drama, political statements, and other divisive topics are not advisable. Try to stay away from these hot-button issues unless you know it will really appeal to your audience. If you're not sure, just don't do it.
Relevancy and professionalism (whatever that means in your industry) build trust with your audience. Later, when they're searching for products in Google, they're more likely to visit your site. That's more high-quality traffic for you, and more SEO juice.
9. Don't forget images, videos, and other media
We love pictures. Words are okay, but pictures and videos are awesome. They take half the time and effort to absorb, and they're so fun to share. Especially if we relate to them. See: the rise of "this is my life" five-second video posts.
In general, we're much more likely to interact with a post if there is an image attached. This is true for both B2B and B2C audiences.
10. Take advantage of reviews and ratings!
Today, people are looking at Facebook reviews and ratings before they make a purchase. Make sure your reviews are visible and accessible to visitors.
Ask for reviews from customers. Remind them to review your product after they've received it. If you're really hurting for ratings, incentives are a great way to get more.
This company enters you into a raffle if you rate their page.
Are You Ready to Dominate Social Media?
Social media on its own is a fantastic tool for businesses. Indirectly, it's also a wellspring of SEO juice for your website. Here's how you can improve your SEO with social media activity:
- When you promote your blog on social media, link directly to the promoted post.
- Fill out as much of your profile as you can - don't save this part for later.
- Make your address obvious, and grab your free Google My Business listing.
- Promote an interactive environment on all your profiles.
- Social media is a search engine as well - make sure everything is optimized.
- Use social media advertising to get new eyes on your page.
- Use hashtags and @mentions to increase your reach.
- Only post things your audience cares about and relates with.
- Use images and other media as much as possible!
- Get people to review on your Facebook page.