Social Media — a Hidden Gem for SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) has kept changing over the years. This has led to people questioning its efficiency — are there really any golden rules to follow to be picked up by search engines in general and Google in particular? The answer is yes, there are, but the rules keep changing as Google (and others) keep changing their rules.
The Secrets to a High Ranking on Google
The Days of Tricking Google Are Over
Getting a good ranking on Google used to be easy — use the keywords people search for and keep updating your page. As a result, everyone and their dog just created page after page (or blog after blog) stuffed with keywords. Sometimes companies even outsourced this to freelancers with poor language skills. The results were appalling — sites with little information, incomprehensible grammar and lots of keywords. Not surprisingly, Google soon caught onto this and realized people weren’t enjoying this kind of content. So they changed their algorithms.
Google’s algorithms started including factors such as how long people stayed on a site after landing there. They also started taking into account how many backlinks (i.e. links from other sites) a page got. It also mattered how popular the sites sharing the links were. In other words, Google started ranking popularity.
This move was a brilliant move by Google, as it ensured quality content. However, it made it more difficult for businesses to rank high on Google. It takes time to create shareable quality content. It takes time to reach out to others to have it shared. Thankfully, social media is another way of ensuring quality content gets shared.
Social Media and Google
If you build a relevant social media following, then promoting your posts on social media is an excellent way of getting others to share them — both on social media and through their blogs and websites. Because guess what? If someone sees a great infographic you share on social media, they might very well use it on their own blog and create a backlink to your website.
Social media is also a great way of gauging how well received your posts are. If you have a relevant following, seeing how that following interacts with the posts will give you a clue as to whether you’re creating the kind of content they like, or not. That, in turn, can help alert you to how popular you’ll be on Google.
Improving Your Social Media Engagement
Make it relevant and make it pop!
Most people by now know that social media, while all about sales, has little to do with sales. In short: you’re not posting about your products/services all the time, but rather creating content that followers care about. This includes informative blogs in your niche, infographics, entertaining memes, etc. In other words, entertain, or inform, or do both. Don’t just sell.
Content should also a) look good (pop!) and of course b) be relevant to your target market and in line with your brand.
If you share great, relevant content, then people will enjoy engaging with it and once you do post a sales post, your following are that much more likely to engage with that as well. Because by now, they will care about the information you provide and, hopefully, your brand.
Content is (still) king
How you interact with others and the content you share on social media will determine how well you do on social media. The content you have on your site will determine how popular your site is with followers, as well as Google. The better the content, the more followers you get and the longer they stay on your site.
A great blog is still the no. 1 solution to great content.
A great blog, or vlog, is still the best way of creating great content for your website. Google wants to see that your site is active and that new things are happening all the time. For some blogs, all you need is a photo and a short paragraph of text, but it’s also important to share long-form content, as that’s what keeps people reading and makes Google happy. Think posts of 1,000+ words. Also, remember that videos continue to grow in popularity and investing in a few every year can be well worth your time and money.
How Does Social Media Connect to SEO?
Sharing is caring, according to Google.
Let’s say you create a great infographic which you publish on your blog, together with a killer blog post about the information in the infographic. Then you share the infographic on social media with a link to your blog and people get curious and read the blog. From there, they may either share the infographic in one of their own blogs or social media with a backlink to your site or share the blog itself via social media. Now you are getting both backlinks AND more people landing on your site due to your posts being shared on social media. This, in turn, will be picked up by Google.
A long-lasting effect.
Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, and other platforms pick up on what content you interact with. For example, if there are two promoted posts in your Facebook newsfeed from companies that are sharing inspirational videos and you actually stopped to watch these videos, then you’ll see a lot more similar content in the coming weeks. That means that if people are stopping for long enough to read your posts, they will come up a lot more often in their feed in the future. It also means that other people, who enjoy similar posts, will start seeing your posts in their feed. In short, your content will be ranked as valuable by various social media sites, which means it’s more likely to be displayed to more people.
Bear in mind that social media and content creation in general, as well as SEO, is a long-term investment. You may see growth overnight, but the process of building a reputable brand with sharable content takes months. Many months. Don’t try to rush it by creating poor quality content.
A sum up of what to do to join SEO with social media.
Ensuring your social media and SEO is aligned, isn’t rocket science.
- create a nice looking and easy to navigate website with good copy
- set up a blog on your website
- update your blog with long-form content relevant to your target market at least once a week and incorporate keywords (avoid keyword stuffing)
- include shareable content in your blogs, such as images with quotes from the blog, or infographics
- create relevant informative and/or entertaining social media posts for the forums where you are active and post five to ten times per week (avoid posting several times a day, every day, as people get annoyed if you overtake their newsfeed)
- build your following on social media by following relevant people and interacting with them on a daily basis
- share your blog posts on social media; ensure you use great pictures, videos or infographics to go with it
- reach out to blogs that accept submissions and submit relevant blog posts; be sure to read the guidelines for submissions beforehand
Bjion is a digital marketer with experience in design, branding, search and social media. He started as a design freelancer working with brands such as Thomas Cook and Churchill, where thereafter he launched fashion brand marketed through social media. After selling the fashion brand, he went on to work for Google in their paid-search/AdWords department. He now runs a digital marketing agency called Heue Digital which focuses on helping tech brands reach and engage more customers