Is SEO really affected by social media? Most definitely and here’s how…
Search engine optimisation (SEO) plays a crucial role in your online experience. Webopedia defines it as, “a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP)”. Why is this so important to marketers? 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine according to imForza.com.
How you achieve success with SEO has been the subject of lengthy and sometimes confusing debate for many years and shows no signs of ending. But most agree that Google ultimately sets the rules and isn’t too open about giving them away because as soon as marketers find a trick or a loophole, they attack it. This is why keyword cramming was so popular until Google shifted the rules to prevent it a few years ago.
Whatever methods your company may have devised, the overarching pursuit should always be quality, and more importantly the quality of your customer and user experience online. If the information on your website and in your content is useful and usable, then you’re on the right track.
In the interest of providing a quality experience, businesses big and small have had to branch out online beyond their own domains to the places where their customers are spending most of their time, social media. According to Global Web Index, users allocate 30% of their time online to social media. So how can an optimised social media help your SEO? Here are some examples.
Brand awareness & social searching
If you’re trying to network, the most simple advice anyone usually gives you is to be in the room first and foremost. Without doing too much research we can all probably think of at least two or three brands that we discovered on Facebook before searching for them on Google – Airbnb would be a classic example for many.
In 2015 Facebook influenced 52% of consumers’ online and offline purchases according to The Drum. Thit shows that being in that room can certainly help people not just discover your brand but also engage with it. Facebook alone has its own marketplace for shopping, local search for just about any service including bars and restaurants, and of course customers reviews.
Consider your own online usage again, have you ever searched for a shop or a restaurant on Facebook to find their opening hours instead of Googling them? Or how about searching for a company’s Twitter page to ask them questions about a product instead of searching for their help page? When you really consider how much you rely on social media for more than just sharing it can be staggering, furthermore if you assume you’ve probably only used a fraction of its full potential.
Better content that sends traffic to your site
Being in the business of social sharing, we love this one! Social media can directly influence hits on your website by sending users straight to it. More and more content is discovered and shared on social media each year, which is why content marketing will be a $300 billion industry by 2019.
Social media has made content discovery so much easier than search engines because of its ability to show customers what they might be interested in, without them necessarily having to search for it. This is all based on real user data and a platform that allows it to be used to its most useful potential. On a channel like Facebook for example, users can follow pages and events that help build up their own unique newsfeed based on their interests.
This is a fantastic tool for businesses to better understand their customers without relying so heavily on techniques like monitoring Google Adwords and formal market research (although these are still important). Social listening enables businesses to develop such a great understanding of their customers needs and behaviours that their content can be refined exponentially. Then of course, as the content gets better, the more likely it is to be viewed and shared, then the more likely that content is to be considered of real value by search engines algorithms. The result is it will ramp straight up the organic search rankings.
Social media profiles rank in search engines
Regardless of what Google or Bing might say, social media profiles do rank in search engines and therefore do affect SEO. If you’re looking for proof just Google your name, for most people the first result will be their Facebook or their Twitter page.
Social media managers know this, which is why it is so important for them to ensure that the company’s social accounts are constantly being engaged. It’s also great practise to look past the main ones as there are a bounty of channels out there that may really serve your particular brand well.
In a dream world, your company could take up not just the top spot in search rankings but also the next three or four with its social media profiles. This would leave competition completely out of view!
SEO can seem like a slippery fish to catch but so long as you place the emphasis of your content and interaction on quality, you should see your rankings improve over time. Social media engagement does play a vital role in the success of your company’s online experience and must be utilised to its full potential for your business to grow.
This requires a concerted effort not just from your web team, your social media manager or your content team, but from everyone in your company acting as reliable brand advocates.