SEO experts are always looking for ways in which Social Media SEO can amp up search strategies.
More and more agencies are trying to interlink their social media marketing and SEO strategies in 2019.
The strict compartmentalization between these two strategies is breaking down.
In this article, we will look at whether Social Media SEO is a ‘real thing’ or not. We will also look at what some digital marketing experts are saying in this regard.
Social Media SEO: Meaning and Definition
The central question that we need to ask ourselves is one-
Does social media contribute to fulfilling any of the SEO intents from a digital marketing perspective?
In other words, will an aligned social media and SEO strategy-
- Help a brand climb the search rankings of Google.
- Drive more traffic to a brand’s website.
- Have any effect on improving the metrics and health of a website.
- Contribute to link building activities (do-follow or no-follow).
- Help in lead generation or sales conversions.
Most brands and agencies want to understand the above points when it comes to social media SEO. Until now, social media was the domain of Creative Agencies trying to maximize storytelling narratives. The key intent was to engage followers and contribute to personal branding of the brand.
Digital marketing companies, on the other hand, handled SEO. They were responsible for On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, and Technical SEO. However, the constant evolution of social media algorithms and Google’s algorithms have created a unique situation-
The barriers between social media teams and SEO teams have broken down.
Not only are they working in unison, but they are also sharing creative and digital strategies to help brands. According to me, this is a welcome move. The aim of a 360-degree digital strategy is to create an ecosystem where all the digital platforms are in harmony with each other.
I will ask you to do a small exercise-
Type in a search query around a brand name.
You will see that the first page of Google shows the social links of the brand.
What do the Experts say in relation to Social Media SEO?
Let us get one thing straight- Social Media does not directly influence Search Rankings!
With that out of the way, let us get into the subject in details. No matter which digital marketing guru you are following, almost all of them believe that social media SEI is real.
This means that there are ways and mechanisms through which social media has an indirect influence on your search rankings. Google does not tell us everything about the way the search algorithms work.
Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Web Spam team stated in 2014, that social media has no relation to search rankings. While Matt Cutts is infamous for making open-ended world-ending statements (remember- Guest Posting is dead!), webmasters believed otherwise.
This was because the strategies and executions and interlinking between social media and SEO was showing something else-
- Brand social pages, which had high engagements and followers, were ranking better on search.
- There was a huge volume of traffic flowing from social media pages to brand websites.
- A lot of no-follow link building was taking place on social platforms. (The controversy over YouTube links being do-follow was also doing the rounds).
- Keyword linking on social platforms was showing favorable results on search.
Almost everyone from Neil Patel to Hootsuite to Search Engine Journal believes in social media SEO. They point to a rather elementary observation.
The higher the website ranks in the search rankings; the better is its social media performance. In other words, the connection between search rankings and social media engagement is huge.
Likes, shares, comments and website clicks are important from an SEO standpoint. Not only do brand social media pages with higher engagements rank better on search, but viral links on social also get recognition on search.
How to Optimize Social Media for SEO?
We have established that there is some indirect correlation between social media and SEO. In this section, we will look at how you can optimize your social media to help in SEO.
As we have already stated, the strict demarcation between social media marketing services and SEO services need to break down. In most agencies, these demarcations are breaking down in favor of an SEO friendly Content Marketing Strategy.
To explain it better- the formation of social media content, a task is done by the copywriter is being done following an SEO examination.
For example, if a copywriter needs to write a social media copy about the brand’s blog-
- S/he will try to use the exact titles and keywords in the article title.
- Subsequent or related keywords as present in the blog article will also find their way into the social media copy.
- The image alt tags on social media would be related to the article’s images.
Along with the above, it is important to mention your brand website on all social media profiles. Try to maintain the same keywords in the ‘About Us’ section of the website.
The more correlated your content and keywords will be on social and search, the better will be your SEO game. In order to boost your social media SEO, you would need to follow the best practices of the platforms.
- Posting rich and informative content as regularly as possible.
- Doing your hashtag research (hashtags are like keywords).
- Linking the website to your social posts to encourage clicks.
- Try to place direct social feed on your brand website through plugins.
- Be active on social media and run campaigns.
Social Media helps accelerate Google Crawl and Google Index
As you are already familiar, unless Google does not crawl or index your content, it does not show up on the search. This means that if you could accelerate the indexing process, your SEO would improve.
To this end, social media becomes a potent instrument to help accelerate crawling and indexing. If a social post gets higher shares or links, Google is forced to check the link in question.
For example, if there is a post, which goes viral on social media, and it contains a blog or website link, then Google will automatically rank that page faster and higher.
It all depends on how much traffic is flowing to the page from social media channels.
Much of what Google Index Rank is based on comes from what the authority of the website.
This means that websites, which have a higher authority, are ranked much higher on Google Index.
However, in the age of social media, a website’s authority is also contingent upon its social presence.
As social media has emerged as the biggest content distribution channel in the world, no search engine can afford to ignore it.
This means that quality content performs equally on social and on search.
Needless to say that the more traction your content gets on social media, the better will be your website authority.
Is Social Media the New Search Engine in 2019?
When was the last time you used Facebook or Instagram to research a brand? If you are someone like I am, I would probably say today or yesterday.
Let me hit you with some stunning facts-
- YouTube is the second most popular search engine (in terms of search queries) after Google!
- 8 out of 10 people interviewed in the USA said that they researched a brand on social media and not on Google.
- 60% of all searches take place on a Mobile device
The list of impossible social media statistics is never-ending. What we need to keep in mind is that the user behavior towards search is also changing.
With social media becoming firmly a part of ourselves, search queries are changing. For example, people may not have their own personal websites.
However, they have millions of followers and verified pages on social platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and others.
Even if you search for someone like that on Google search, Google shows you results from his or her social media profiles. What does that mean? It means that social media SEO has a strong correlation with search rankings.
There are some digital marketing experts who believe that all future searched will be done on either E-commerce sites like Amazon, or social media platforms like Facebook.
If you have not been looking at your social media from an SEO standpoint, you might start doing that now. If you still do not see any merit in the argument, good luck to you. As someone, who has been in the industry for some time these opportunities are rare.
What I am trying to state is that when a new trend emerges in digital marketing, there are two kinds of people-
- The naysayers who debunk everything as a conspiracy theory.
- The opportunists who invest heavily and walk away successful.
Almost every agency and brand is divided into these two. It is high time that agencies and brands call for a more collaborative approach between their social media marketing teams and SEO teams.
It is essential that social media marketing services have a strong search dimension to it.
It is equally essential that SEO services have a strong social media dimension to it.
In other words, in 2019-
Search is Social, and
Social is Search!
Do let me know what you thought of the article in the comments section below. If you wish to add, any new points feel free to do so.