Social media for SEO has been one of the recent trends for a number of years within digital marketing – and with good reason. We know that social media has an impact on a company’s search engine ranking but the extent and the method of this impact is widely unknown and subject to debate. Why has social media for SEO become so important? Why do we not know everything there is to know about the effect of social media on SEO? What do we actually know about it?
Within this social and search arena within the digital, the most common misconception is that search engines rank websites in internet search results. They do not rank websites, they rank pages. This has important implications for the role social media plays as well. Another misconception is that Google already has a constant algorithm and updates governing the whole internet which means we should be able to work out exactly how social media affects SEO.
We’re not ones to simply settle for “social media must have a positive impact on SEO” – instead we want to know if it actually does and also exactly how. Knowing this and how it fits in with your digital marketing goals will shape your social media strategy. But the answers are not simple. Social media represents an incredibly complex web of interconnected content and linkage and there are countless variables to account for.
We know that gaining social actions such as shares and likes are important because they signal to search engines that the content is good quality, but their influence on SEO has been measured as very small. Also there is a strong correlation between high ranking pages and the number of times they have been shared on social media.
Social media for SEO – the strategy
Having made some conclusions about the effect of social media on SEO, we can now make some suggestions as to how best your company might benefit from opting a social media strategy for SEO , so that important factors are considered while dictating your search rankings, as well optimizing your social media for SEO will not catapult you to the first page of Google. You need a robust SEO strategy and hopefully a website which is generating high levels of web traffic in its own right.
Below are the considerations while opting an optimized Social Media for SEO startegy:
1. Identify the key words you wish to rank for (or your SEO company is trying to get you ranked for) based on how much search traffic they currently receive, and which of your pages is best to promote for this key word. This is probably a page with the keyword in the title, the URL, the copy and meta descriptions as well as being linked to internally from other pages. This page should be interesting and well written, designed to keep people on the page for a reasonable amount of time and hopefully makes them want to navigate around your site more.
2. The most important factor in improving your page rank is the web traffic and time spent on that page. Now this we know will have a positive impact on your SEO. This is where you must consider that pages rank (rather than whole websites) so the sharing of completely random pages, containing terms which you don’t really need to rank for, is a little bit pointless unless they contain really good content which will have your audience gripped and searching for more.
3. Increase your social influence. The most obvious way to do this is to organically grow your fan and follower numbers. This may have a number of benefits to SEO. We would be inclined to think that your social media pages will now be regarded as more authoritative and they will, in fact, rank more highly as pages in their own right. The other major benefit is that each post is likely to be seen and shared by more people so page views will be higher.
4. Have share social buttons on every page. Many sites do not make it easy for people to share their content over social media. Make sure you have social sharing buttons clearly visible and have them in a logical place at a point where someone would decide to actually share the post.
5. Don’t have any good content to share? If you’re really struggling for content but you regularly stumble upon good content from sites which are relevant to your company, copy and paste their blog and host it on your site. Then share it! Also mention where you got the content from or else you will be breaching copyright law. I must state, however, that this tactic should be regarded as a last resort since search engines are not fans of extended pieces of duplicated text and the site you pinched it from will have got there first! Having said this, it still creates a way of generating traffic to a site which will rank for certain search terms.