The story about SEO and social networks is being constantly altered.
In 2010, Danny Sullivan talked to Bing and Google that confirmed that they were using social signals as a ranking factor. Back then, Google’s former head of web spam, Matt Cutts, agreed with Sullivan in one of his videos. However, in 2014, Cutts claimed the opposite, emphasizing that social activity is not a ranking factor. This statement has been recently confirmed by a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Garry.
Simply put, social signals are definitely not a ranking factor. At least not for now.
Still, social media marketing has remained an immensely important piece of the puzzle called SEO. Even though these channels cannot directly impact your rankings, there is a clear, indirect correlation between these two vital elements of your marketing strategy.
So, let’s see how social networks can help your SEO efforts.
How to Use Social Media to Boost SEO
Promote Content Effectively
What do we do on social networks?
- We write textual posts
- Share enticing photos and videos
- Solve quizzes and share the results with our friends
- Post live stories, or
- Share someone else’s activities
In other words, we create and share different forms of content. This is why we can conclude that one of the primary functions of social networks is actually promoting content.
As such, social networking channels serve as an invaluable asset in your content promotion strategy.
Namely, creating killer content and publishing it on your own site is not enough to get yourself noticed. You need to let your target audience know about it. Otherwise, your hard work would serve no purpose.
With the help of social networks, you can target the right audiences and present your content to the people really interested in what you have to offer. This is how you will drive more relevant and qualified traffic to your site, boost your conversions and engagement rates, as well as minimize the bounce rate. These are just some of the many indicators showing Google that you are a valuable source of information for your target audience.
Gain Amazing Link Building Opportunities
In the world of SEO, it’s important to understand the difference between link building and link earning.
Link building is one of the fundamental SEO practices, and it requires lots of legwork. It’s not all about writing an awesome guest post, including a link to your site, and publishing it somewhere online. You need to research your link building opportunities carefully, filter out the results, and choose only those sites that can be the right fit for you.
- Make sure their site is relevant to your niche.
- Define how valuable and engaging their content is.
- Determine if there are any suspicious links that may hurt your rankings.
Link earning is, on the other hand, a more sophisticated form of link building. The idea behind it is quite simple: you write an original, engaging, industry-relevant piece of content and promote it widely online. People will soon see its value, and start sharing it and linking back to it.
Why is this important? Well, we already mentioned in the previous section that social networks are one of your most significant assets when it comes to getting yourself noticed and earning top-notch backlinks. Just by sharing your content there regularly, you will soon position yourself as a highly reputable resource. As a result, you will get people to read, like, share, and comment on your posts. This will boost your visibility and, as a result, give you an opportunity to earn lots of quality backlinks from highly reputable sites.
There some more complex and yet sophisticated practices to get people to share your content and link to it. For example, running engaging and viral campaigns like contests or giveaways is always effective.
Boost Brand Awareness
Even though there is no direct correlation between these two notions, brand awareness can impact your organic rankings heavily. In 2017, SEMrush shared an amazing study, where they analyzed 600 keywords to see what really influences search results. They found out that the major ranking factor was the direct traffic to a website.
Logically, to type in your site’s name in Google’s search box, a user first needs to know who you are. In other words, they need to be aware of your brand.
Sure, to get your target audience to remember you, you first need to brand and promote yourself. This is where social networks come to shine. By leveraging the power of storytelling on social media, sharing engaging content, answering your followers’ questions in real time, organizing contests, and participating in community discussions, you will manage to boost your brand recognition. Most importantly, you will build stronger relationships with your target audience, bring value to them, and inspire them to come back to you over and over again.
Engage Local Communities
For local businesses, local SEO is paramount. By optimizing your site for local search queries, you will drive more quality and relevant traffic to your site, and be ranked higher in “near me” searches. And, this is where social networks can help you.
- Build your presence on the right social networks. New social media channels keep popping up at an astounding pace, but this doesn’t mean you should use them all. Instead, you need to focus on those that are relevant to your business and that your local target audience uses.
- Do local keyword research and include your keywords in your social media strategy. Social networks have become a set of independent search engines. Use their potential by optimizing your content for competitive keywords. This way, when a user searches for businesses like yours on Facebook under Places, your page will be one of the first things they see.
- Make your Name-Address-Phone information consistent across your site and social networks.
- Use both generic and branded hashtags to boost your findability and attract the people interested in your offers.
Support relevant local events and team up with reputable local influencers in your industry. For example, support a local charity or healthy community event. This would be a great opportunity to:
- ask people to like the page,
- write blog posts on that topic,
- share content and, of course,
- include a bunch of links to your site.
Over to You
It’s still uncertain whether search engines will make social media signals a ranking factor. Still, one thing is obvious. Although they cannot impact your rankings directly, these channels are still an important aspect of your SEO strategy. They help you boost brand awareness, promote your content, and rise above the crowd. After all, that’s exactly what SEO is all about.
This is a guest post by Raul Harman, Editor-in-Chief at Technivorz, a website dedicated to all things tech related, written to cater to people for whom a dose of technology is as important during the day as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Connect with Raul on Twitter.