Creating smart copy for your site to generate leads is already a recognized practice. But the same effort in social media can power even better results. The landscape has certainly changed. Today, copywriters are no longer expected to create a keyword-rich phrase and to use it several times within a web page or post. That’s because search engines no longer index online content using “keyword strings”. They’re more sophisticated—moving beyond exact matches to concepts and topics.
But what about content outside the website? Do search engines rank a brand according to how much engagement there is on their social channels? The answer is no. Google and other major search engines do not rank websites based on all of the millions of social posts created daily. But that doesn’t mean social media doesn’t help your search result placement.
In fact, social media profiles are often found among the top results in search engine result pages (SERPs). For example, if you search for your company page and you have active social accounts, you’ll see those accounts listed under your website on that results page. If you don’t have active social channels, because Google ranks you against your competition, your competitors will be listed below your company on that SERP. Therefore, a strong social presence is easy way to dominate the results page related to your brand.
These days, people often go beyond Google when looking for information. They use social media channels to find answers. For example, if your company is active on Twitter, people might discover your content there after searching for hashtags with that specific topic. Likewise, brands that create powerful visual content and use relevant hashtags benefit from high visibility on Instagram.
Also, keep in mind that if someone is checking out your company, they’re likely going to review your presence on social media. While it may be true that social signals do not impact a website’s search rank today, your company itself, and its strong social media presence may be much better positioned in search results. Google crawls social websites for data in the same way that it does any other site. That means that those social media posts on SERP listings may be as important as a link to your website on those results.
Here’s how to make the most of social for SEO:
1. Start with high-quality content
Focus on creating engaging and informational content that’s not self-promotional because it’s what people will want to read and are more likely to share. Help your prospects by answering questions and they’re likely to see you as an authority. You might want to write a tutorial that helps readers accomplish a goal or a list of useful tips or an entertaining and informative video. Whatever you choose, high-quality content will lead to more engagement and more sales than any direct sales pitch.
The more you focus on quality and information, the more likely they’ll share it. Knowing this, you may find it’s better to write two solid, in-depth articles per quarter than ten brief, shallow posts. Quality content is also more likely to get you links from influential websites, and quality links are a ranking factor for Google.
2. Promote your content via organic and paid posts
The web is full of great content that took a great deal of time and skill to produce, but gets little or no social promotion. The fact is, social media is one of the most important ways to let people in your industry know that you’ve got valuable content they should read and link to. The more you promote on social media, the greater audience you’ll drive to your content. For best results, mix a healthy combination of organic and promoted posts. This step affects the tips to follow.
3. Build interest before they get there
When prospects find your posts with links to your website on social channels, they’ll click because they’re interested. That means that once they arrive, they’re more likely to read the page and navigate your site. Engagement affects search rank, here’s how:
- Bounce rate will likely decrease if a large percentage of visitors start out interested in your content before they arrive.
- If those visitors have a positive learning experience, they’re more likely to return. High rates of return visits are a key ranking factor for Google.
4. Focus on getting the right followers
Having a huge social media following doesn’t hurt a brand, but it may not help as much as many believe. The truth is, the quality of your followers is far more important than the quantity. Being followed by lots of people that have little to do with your industry is not as valuable as having a handful of industry leaders following you. That’s because they have genuine expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (Google’s E-A-T formula). If one of them shares your content, the potential to reach an audience in your industry can be enormous.
A couple of tips on how to draw the attention of and engage with an industry leader or influencer:
- Share their content, but make sure you add a comment that reveals you read the article and why you’re recommending it.
- Even better, craft a Linkedin post with a clever insight about their piece (don’t forget to @ them). This is more likely to get their attention than just another share or retweet.
- Find a way to include them in a meaningful way in a blog post and link to their site. If they get a lot of traffic from you, they may link back to you and drive traffic. Traffic from high-authority sites is a key Google ranking factor.
5. Build partnerships
While it’s essential to share and promote your posts, using social media to foster relationships can be very powerful because recommendations from other people and brands carry a high level of trust. It’s wise to focus your social media efforts on building strategic relationships that lead to partnerships.
Strategic partners are businesses that align with your brand but are not competitors. For example, if your company builds apps for marketers, you should seek partnerships with marketers and agencies to co-create valuable content and leverage both of your social audiences. This step is useful for the following tip.
A couple of tips to get things started:
- Work with a list of the accounts you want to partner with. Make sure they get a lot of attention: read their content, share it and tag them.
- Engage with them in a meaningful way when they notice.
- Look for any questions they may have to see if you can provide insightful answers or useful tips for a project they mention.
6. Work on positive brand mentions
If your brand is generally unrecognized by Google, you can make real headway by getting yourself mentioned online. With enough social exposure, Google may view your site as an “entity” (according to Google, a thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined and distinguishable).
The context in which you engage online and what people say about you can influence your SEO ranking. That’s because even if there are queries for which you don’t currently rank, Google may display your social channels even when they don’t link to your site.
A couple of tips to help you with this effort:
- Work on growing an audience of true brand fans on social media.
- Encourage fan engagement when they mention your brand online by engaging with them in an appreciative and meaningful way.
These days, social media is center stage for brand engagement. Use it as a channel to your site, where you can further develop key client relationships. Want to learn more? Click on the button below to get in touch!