This article is taken from our original blog post entitled ‘How Social Media Affects SEO’ — you can view the original post here. In this version for Medium, we’ve edited it to give you just the juicy bits. Enjoy!
Find out what a difference social media makes when it comes to your website’s SEO…
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)”.
It is so important to marketers because 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, search engines ultimately sets the rules and aren’t comfortable to share them.
For SEO the overarching pursuit should always be quality of content and of user experience online. If the information information you provide 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 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 strategy help your SEO? Here are some examples.
Brand awareness & social searching
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 a lot of people.
In 2015 Facebook influenced 52% of consumers’ online and offline purchases according to The Drum. This 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 and 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 visiting a company’s Twitter page to ask them questions about a product instead of searching through their own website? When you really consider how much you rely on social media for more than just sharing it can be staggering.
Better content that sends traffic to 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 are 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, you want to be in that newsfeed. The more hits your content gets, the more your website does and the higher a search engine will rank you because you provide a relevant and high quality experience to so many people.
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.
Social media profiles rank in search engines
Social media profiles also rank in search engines. 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.