You probably know that one of the best ways to help boost both a website’s SEO performance and its Google search ranking is social media. Yet many companies continue treating social media and SEO as though they are separate entities.
You need to begin making social media a core function of your SEO strategy. There are essentially five ways social media could benefit SEO and why you need to incorporate the two into a single strategy.
How Does Social Media Affect Website SEO?
Social media has a limited direct impact on SEO. The head of Google’s webspam team, Matt Cutts, said in a 2010 video that he could confirm Google was using Twitter and Facebook links in ranking, but then four years later said in another video that social signals such as Twitter Follows and Facebook Likes did not affect search rankings.
He explained that Google crawls the web for information and effectively took a snapshot of a moment in time, but social media being constantly updated sent incomplete signals, so it was not a comprehensive picture. Multiple studies have been published since those comments, including this July 24, 2020 report from Semrush that cited an analysis by CognitiveSEO of 23 million social media shares on selected platforms in which it was discovered that there was an equivocal link between social shares and SEO.
The shares, likes, and comments your posts receive can be vital signals that Google and other search engines may use to rank your website, but while the links are helpful, Google will not count them as it would a link from other authority websites. While other studies have found a correlation between a high number of shares and high rankings on some social media platforms, you need to remember that correlation is not the same as causation.
A correlation is more likely to be an indicator that a website may be doing a solid job of producing high-quality content than actually engaging audiences on both social media and organic search traffic channels. Search engines can also be limited by the inherent challenge of assessing the true identity and authority of social profiles, making it difficult to know how much value to give a link.
We now know that Google will not consider a share on Facebook to be the same as a backlink from an authority website. Social media, however, does influence SEO in other, less direct ways, such as:
- Increasing organic traffic and online visibility
- Distributing content
- Improving the lifespan of a post
- Enhancing brand reputation and authority
- Raising brand awareness
All of the benefits listed above can have a considerable impact on your SEO ranking. Here are five ways you can use social media for an SEO benefit.
1. Creating Link Opportunities
This is perhaps the most difficult objective to achieve. You are on the recipient side instead of the implementation side because you will be relying on a third party to take action.
You have to rely on social media to promote website content and make people aware it exists. Again, a link on Facebook will not be the same as a backlink on another more reputable website, but the Facebook link can make people aware of the content’s existence.
So you will want to create a social media marketing strategy to promote your website content. Develop standard operating procedures to ensure each new piece of content goes through a social media sharing strategy, and keep a list of evergreen content that should be shared regularly.
2. Increasing Brand Awareness and Positive Mentions
Google’s Search Quality Raters Guideline shows that people do factor brand mentions into consideration of a website’s reliability. This is why social media can play a big role in the overall perception of your brand because businesses with strong social media presences who respond directly to customers will see an increase in their overall satisfaction rates.
All of this can affect the sentimentality of brand mentions, including in exterior customer reviews and other public forums. Google will pay attention to the context of any online engagement and how people are talking about you.
Google will use online mentions to categorize you as relevant for search queries, depending on certain factors. It is thus important to keep your brand mentions positive, and social media can be a solid tool to help do that.
So find ways to encourage positive mentions of your brand on social media and other places. Tailor your company’s messaging on multiple social platforms for maximum success based on your audience.
3. Building Partnerships
There will be three relationship-building levels you should focus on:
- Brand advocates — People who are active social media users and are loyal to your brand can promote you for free and multiply your effectiveness.
- Organic influencers — This refers to social media accounts with expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) within your industry, and any positive endorsements for your brand, products, or services can carry significant weight with their audiences.
- Strategic partners — Businesses or influencers within your niche who are not competitors but are willing to partner up and co-create valuable content can tap into both of your audiences for potential crossover marketing opportunities.
Dedicate more social media efforts to developing relationships in the three levels discussed here, and create a list of accounts you should target for relationship building. Keep the list updated and give each account regular attention, but also make sure to actually engage with people by leaving comments, answering questions, and offering professional feedback.
4. Establishing Authority
One of the main benefits of content marketing is that consistently publishing high-quality content can establish you as an expert within your niche. People will come to trust the information you provide and such trust will begin to encompass your brand as a whole.
Add social media into the mix to share your authoritative content on new channels and broaden your overall reach, brand awareness, and discoverability. People will not be constrained to only a single digital sphere, as they access multiple different resources every day and this is why omnichannel marketing can be an effective technique to reach consumers.
According to Sprout Social, the best times to post on social media in 2022 are:
- Best days to post on social media: Tuesdays through Thursdays
- Best times to post on social media: Tuesdays through Thursdays at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.
- Worst days to post on social media: Sundays
- Best days to post on Facebook: Tuesdays through Fridays
- Best times to post on Facebook: Mondays through Fridays at 3 a.m., Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and noon
- Worst days to post on Facebook: Saturdays
- Best days to post on Instagram: Tuesdays and Wednesdays
- Best times to post on Instagram: Mondays at 11 a.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Thursdays and Fridays 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
- Worst days to post on Instagram: Sundays
- Best days to post on Twitter: Tuesdays and Wednesdays
- Best times to post on Twitter: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 9 a.m.
- Worst days to post on Twitter: Sundays
- Best days to post on LinkedIn: Wednesdays and Thursdays
- Best times to post on LinkedIn: Tuesdays 10 a.m. to noon
- Worst days to post on LinkedIn: Saturdays and Sundays
Of course, social media cannot be the only source of the authority you are working to build around your brand. Having your own domain will be imperative, and using social media itself or a free website to build authority can put your content outside of your control.
Should those websites shut down, all of your content and the authority you developed would be history? Your website will be its own domain and your home base while your social media channels should direct more traffic back to your website.
If you do not already have a domain for your website, you need to invest in one as soon as possible so you can build your authority on a site you own and control. Remember that content marketing, SEO, and social media will all be interconnected, so do not treat each one as a separate piece in your marketing strategy but look at them instead as a whole and try to make everything work together.
Leverage your secondary channels to circulate traffic back to the primary authority website and be strategic with your social media posts. Use analytics or other resources for determining the best days and times for maximum impact.
5. Boosting Content Lifespan and Engagement
Sharing your website content on social media not only helps people discover your website content and brand but also gives the content a longer lifecycle when it is shared and circulated. You need to make sure your website content is engaging, meaning it needs to connect with an audience and also serve a purpose.
Your content needs to do at least one of the following:
- Entertain in some way
- Present a solution to a common problem
- Connect on an emotional level
- Educate on a topic of interest
The best content falls into multiple categories. One of the best ways to determine whether website content is engaging with an audience is by looking at the number of likes, comments, and shares.
Take note of how your audience reacts to your social media. You can find many social media analytical tools, some within the platform itself and other third-party resources that can identify the topics and types of content of yours that are connecting.
Find Social Media Assistance in Houston, TX | SERP Matrix
SERP Matrix does SEO for clients in the Houston area, surrounding communities in Texas, and many other cities across the United States. You can call us at (713) 287-1134 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation that will let us review your case and discuss the options you have.