Social media content has always influenced SEO; now, more than ever. To illustrate, last year, Google began indexing real-time Twitter posts. All of a sudden, brands’ Twitter content was visible far beyond Twitter—in the Google search results.
And it’s not just Twitter that impacts SEO. By optimizing all social content for SEO value, brands gain rank, increase clicks and drive engagement, leads and sales.
3 WAYS SOCIAL CAN FUEL SEO
1. Tap Social Influencers
Just as Google ranks Web pages higher based on the relevancy of their content, the same goes for social content. And relevancy of social content can be determined by who creates it. To illustrate, one Performics client sought to promote a new product through a content-first approach. To do this, we connected with industry influencers (popular bloggers and vloggers) to create how-to tutorials that were then published on the client’s site and the influencers’ social channels to increase relevancy. The bloggers’ influence also spurred other earned content: shares, likes and comments.
Not only did the client see success in social (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) for the campaign, but it also enjoyed an 84% lift in SEO traffic for the product line’s keywords.
2. Build Links within Social Channels
Building links is crucial to SEO value, for both websites and social content. By linking social outlets to a brand’s main website, and vice versa, Google can understand the authenticity of these pages, allowing brands to rank higher as they post timely and relevant content.
Just as linking opportunities exist for Web pages, the same pertains to social outlets:
- Links in profile: Using the brand’s social profile page to link back to its official website (or other social outlets) will increase and boost visibility
- Mentioned but not tagged: Companies may be mentioning another brand’s names within tweets and posts, but they aren’t being tagged. To build authority, it’s important to make sure that the brand is being tagged and tied back to the website/social channel (or linked to) and not just mentioned
- Encouraging interaction: The more interaction and follows through a social site, the more engagement and links will be shared, boosting awareness and visibility, and furthermore, SEO value
- Increase visibility for follow/nofollow pages: Not all social outlets are followed. Pinterest and Google+ are. So, links through these outlets will help brands rank higher. But, brands should still create content through all social channels to increase rankings
- Updated links: Brands should ensure that the links they place are up-to-date, as this is just as important (if not more) as building out new links. Brands shouldn’t use broken links, or links that are sending consumers to the wrong page, as this will negatively impact ranking and authority
3. Expand Beyond Traditional Search
Consumers are no longer only using search engines, like Google, Bing and Yahoo, to find information. They’re using social media sites for search purposes. For example, users searching for a particular topic on YouTube may come across branded videos if the keywords match their search query. The same goes for Pinterest, as Pinterest is a keyword-heavy social outlet; users search by keywords to find Pins. Furthermore, Pinterest recently released a “Visual Search” feature allowing consumers to search by image, making it easier to find Pins that match consumer intent.
To maximize visibility in social search results, brands should focus on SEO basics like:
- Content optimization: Brands should create content within their social page. For example, if uploading an image, add an ALT image tag describing the picture. Brands should provide detail around their posts as well as share other brands’ content that may be relevant to their own. This creates an additional source of traffic, as followers from those pages are able to see who has retweeted/shared/etc
- Keyword usage: When creating content around products and services, brands must use keywords that searchers will likely use when digging around for this type of content. By using these keywords, the brand’s post is more likely to appear at the top of the social search listings
- Account verification: Brands should ensure that their social accounts are verified. This will allow consumers to more easily find branded pages, encouraging more traffic
- Increase followers: Increasing followers will increase ranking, as the content becomes relevant to a larger span of consumers. To do this, brands can place “follow” buttons on their websites and other social media outlets. This gives consumers easy access to click through to different pages
And now, if content succeeds in social search results, it’s more likely to succeed in traditional (e.g. Google) search results. Google’s indexation of tweets in the SERP is a prime example of this. Brands must devise joint social content-SEO strategies like:
- Social listening: Brands should uncover customer issues and respond quickly before the problem spirals out of control, leaving complaints potentially displayed beyond Twitter, on the Google SERP
- Attention to influencers: The more attention social influencers/advocates receive from brands, the more likely they’ll create positive Twitter content around the brands’ products and services, which can make its way to the Google SERP
- Create sharable content: Brands should be creating content that is intriguing and easy to share; that way it’s much more visible, has a better chance of being retweeted and has a higher likelihood of appearing on the SERP
By enlisting the help of social influencers, building links within social channels and creating content to rank within social search results, brands have the opportunity to increase SEO rankings, engagement, traffic and more.