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A lot of searches on Google nowadays display a link to the social media page of the brand/person that was the subject of the search. Still, this is only a tiny part of the deep connection between SEO and social media, although there are those who argue that social networks are search engines, to begin with. While Google has already announced that social media isn’t a ranking factor, it’s clear that there’s at least some influence on rankings.
Some would argue that social networks somewhat copy (or are at least inspired by) the algorithm of major search engines and, if this is so, similar principles can be applied to increase one’s visibility across both of these platforms. Nonetheless, due to our inability to know the exact rules that govern Google’s algorithm, most of this is still quite speculative. Finally, in 2018, both search engines and social networks are no longer new terms, which is why their evolution is yet another thing that needs to be taken into consideration.
1. Social media channels are search engines
Nowadays, Twitter is as much of a news medium as it is a social media channel. This is due to the fact that even the greatest celebrities, athletes and political figures use it as a direct means of communication to their fans and followers. Same goes for brands. The greater the number of followers you have, the greater number of shares and likes, the bigger the chance is that you’ll be discovered. Aside from this, it’s more than obvious that hashtags are nothing more but a simplified keyword mechanic. In other words, the outreach, quality of content (no matter how limited in size it may be) and proper content optimization (hashtags, honoring network policies and other) are fairly similar to on-site optimization.
Social networks also serve the same purpose as search engines. Think about it, if people want to see your website, they will type the name of your company in Google’s search box. On the other hand, if they want to see your company’s profile on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, they’ll go directly to the platform and use the internal search option. While at it, one must not forget that Google+ and YouTube are both social network/search engines that belong to Google.
Numbers also speak in favor of social networks, since Twitter handles more than five times the amount of queries on a monthly basis than one of Google’s closest competitors, Bing. At the moment, similar figures go for Instagram, while it is well-known that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. To make the long story short, just by working on your social media presence, you’re already making a leap in the field of SEO.
2. Boost in traffic
Another major benefit of social media is the way in which it boosts visits to your site. By increasing your traffic, it also boosts the potential qualified leads pool, seeing as how none of these visits are accidental. Apart from increasing your search engine presence, it also inspires your audience with visuals, seeing as how most of these platforms are graphic form-friendly (videos, infographics, diagrams). They make your content incredibly easy to share (in just several clicks), which increases your reach even more. Finally, it gives you a way to do an independent survey of your audience by knowing what they’re listening to.
Keep in mind, however, that most of these searches lead straight back to your website, which is why ignoring it might make your social media-backed SEO efforts somewhat less effective. This is exactly why experts focus heavily on bulking up one’s website and its backlink portfolio as one of the pillars (even starting points) of every efficient SEO campaign.
3. Encouraging external links
Perhaps the most direct boost to your rank comes from the fact that quality social media content encourages people to link towards your content. For starters, this gives you more authority in the eyes of Google. Second, it gives you even more traffic (something we’ve already discussed). Nevertheless, to achieve this, you need to make your content linkable, which is a fairly easy thing to do. First of all, you need to make a catchy title and use a phrase that people won’t have a problem integrating into their own posts. Second, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to introduce a staggering find or statistic (like we did with Twitter and Bing comparison) that people might see as an interesting piece of trivia.
4. Planning for the future
One of the things that people often forget (as well as something we’ve hinted on in the introduction) is the fact that both Google and social networks are evolving. Even though they’re present for years now, both of these trends are still relatively new and, if there’s a clearly visible symbiosis between them at the moment, there’s no reason why this shouldn’t pick up in the future. In other words, even though there might not be clear correlation behind one’s social media activity and their Google rank (which is not likely) there might be one in the future.
From the above-listed four trends, ideas and methods, it’s more than clear that while there’s no official guarantee that your social media activity boosts your rank, one is always the outcome of the other. This alone is more than enough to take this social media SEO as seriously as possible.
Guest Post: Nate Vickery is a marketing consultant and author. He is mostly focused on startup and small business growth and visibility. Nate is also an author on industry leading publications like Marketing Insider Group and The Next Web.