For years online marketing experts have gone back and forth about the value of social media in Google search results. After vigorous seesawing, the verdict is finally in: social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are two inextricably bound methodologies. Both of them are inbound strategies used to attract prospects through appropriate content. Both are organic, which typically yields stronger search results.
As an inbound marketing strategy, social media marketing relies heavily upon valuable, relevant content to attract and engage prospects, reinforced by a strong and positive brand identity. Optimizing your social media content with the right short- and long-tail search terms can significantly boost that content’s visibility which attracts more eyeballs and grows your social media presence. It’s a closed system that can grow exponentially, quickly producing more leads and more sales.
Pretty sweet, right? Well, yes — but unfortunately, it can be tough to parse out exactly how social media can become a direct ranking factor and positively influence search results. Google loves to play coy and its relationship with social media, leaving marketers to puzzle on their own about the most effective social media strategies for boosting search rankings.
Here at The Social Julie, however, we’ve spent a lot of time and effort researching the social media/Google ecosystem and we think we’ve got some pretty solid, proven, strategies for supercharging your Google search results.
Here are six tips for revving up your social media presence to boost your search rankings:
Grow quality followers, not necessarily quantity Google’s search algorithms are highly sophisticated and can discern the important difference between 1,000 high quality, engaged followers and 100,000 disinterested, bought followers. Build a solid, organic base of followers attracted to, and engaging with, valuable content on your social media platforms, and Google will respond.
Attract relevant external links Posting high-quality, authoritative content attracts quality followers which, in turn, invites external links. Google recognizes that the more relevant, quality external links you have, the more valuable and important your social media platforms are.
In this case, use your content as bait with hashtags and your social media posts as snares to capture eyeballs with links to that content on your website. This will maximize your content’s value and help establish your brand as a thought leader, building value and credibility for you which, in turn, maximizes your external links. A word of caution regarding posting external links on Facebook, do not post external links more than twice per week.
Optimize your posts Anchor your social media posts with a high-value element such as a video or infographic, titled in a descriptive manner and framed with text that is optimized for a specific type of search. You can even punch it up a bit more by using seasonal or topical words in your search terms.
Locally optimize your posts Even better than general optimization, geographically-localized optimization is viewed very favorably in search ranking because it shows location-specific value that is considered even more relevant to the searcher.
Encourage social sharing As you may know, Google likes external validation of your content or online platforms. What you may not know is that includes social media likes, shares, replies, retweets, and favorites. So plan on posting content that’s highly likeable and valuable that people want to be associated with. Tried-and-true methods for encouraging social sharing include offering rewards for engaging with your posts and posting simple, interactive surveys that ask for a “like” if the respondent agrees with your post
Increase your brand awareness There is a significant SEO benefit to increasing your online brand presence. The more that people are aware of your brand and searching for it specifically, the higher it’s likely to rank in non-branded searches, expanding your reach. That, of course, requires more high-quality content syndication, which encourages increased engagement that boosts visibility.
As your supercharged social media presences increase traffic to your website, you’ll notice improved engagement on your site because traffic gained through social media tends to stay longer, bounces less, and visits more pages.
Some other tips for optimizing your social media presences include:
• Complete your social media profiles and point users to your website in them
• Boost your website content regularly with timely blog posts, news, articles, and other interesting content
• Promote other, relevant businesses and organizations in your social media – they’ll return the favor and further increase your external links
• Engage with influencers to increase your influence
All of these recommendations and tips point to one fundamental strategy: offer real value to visitors and provide them with the easiest and most satisfying experience possible. You’ll be rewarded with increased traffic, sales, and customer loyalty. What more could you ask for?