Find your Sweet Spot: The Intersection of Social Strategy and SEO
Email, social media, keywords, digital advertising, SEO – as a business there are a number of marketing items that need to be considered for the year. Seemingly all independent of each other with some crossover. Well, what if I told you that you could hit two birds with one stone? Social media and SEO. It’s true; your social presence can have an impact on your search results.
But wait just a minute, Pierce… social media is paired with my content strategy, and SEO is paired to my website! This is true, but there are more crossovers than you might think.
Your entire digital footprint will impact your search ranking. The more platforms you are available on, the easier you will be to find… the easier you are to find, the more traffic you receive… the more traffic you receive, the more business you get.
Sorry, that was a slight tangent, but it is true. Your digital footprint matters and not just your website. Social interaction is an important ranking factor that is viewed by all search engines. Social itself is not a ranking factor (at this time) but your social platforms correlate to SEO through social signals. Some of the best ranking factors are social at their core because those individuals are the people that are using search engines.
What social platforms should your business be on? Below is a list of the top six social platforms that will provide you with an opportunity to increase your search rank. Not all platforms will be relevant for all business, so pick the ones that align with your marketing strategy and audience best.
Now that you know where to be, the next question is what to post. During the nearly 10 years that I have been in the search space, there are a few items that seem to increase search results more than others. Below, I will highlight these items and why you should focus your efforts on them.
Publish High Quality Content
A topic that seems to frequent our blogs and digital strategies – content. And there is a very good reason for this – it works. Search engines have evolved over time to understand the user intent with online actions, along with the content relevance and quality. This means that search engines have a deeper understanding that goes beyond clicks and titles. It will take into account the relevancy, other searches and what they did before and after, providing a full view of how your content was positioned.
Sharing this content on your social profiles allows for your audience to engage with your content and provide you (and Google) with direct feedback. Like it or not, you will have direct feedback. This information can be used to optimize your content strategy but will also provide search engines with data around where your organization is positioned. This information will roll over into the search engine results page.
Sharing Content Should be Easy and Quick
Sharing is caring. You want your content to be easy digestible and at-a-glance understandable. This is the sweet spot for social shares. The purpose of social media marketing is to reach more people with your message. This will be hindered if the media that you are posting or promoting is not easily shareable. Including social sharing icons on your website and blog will prompt users to share content they find valuable.
It is also important to make sure that they individual messages for each social platform are written for their prospective audiences. A LinkedIn message will vary from Facebook and Twitter – this little bit of extra work should increase your sharing number drastically because your audience does not need to modify the message. Include:
- Appropriate headlines and captions
- Compelling creative
- Useful and digestible copy
Finish (and optimize) Your Social Profiles
Consistency is key – your social profiles should all contain the same information, especially with regards to your Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP). Inconsistencies is this base data will confuse the search engines and negatively impact your rank.
All information in you profile should be a direct reflection of your business tone and tenor and should include the value proposition of your business. A properly optimized profile will allow your audience to find you online. Regular maintenance is important. As social platforms improve or your messaging changes, you will need to update your profile. Google loves to see this consistency.
Search and Socially Optimized Images
We are bombarded with content in today’s marketplaces, and images are an easy way to draw attention. We call this visual disruption. If everything you produce looks like everything your industry produces, it is going to get lost in the fold.
Images are a great way to get your message out quickly and effectively to your audience and are an essential piece of marketing communications. Visual materials are processed faster and easier that their written counterparts and can be used to pull readers in.
Utilize human biology to your advantage – create visually appealing images to promote your content for you!
Believe it or not, social media is not just about sharing your meal prep, binging cat videos and arguing politics, it can actually be a productive platform, if done correctly. Having conversations with your audience on social media develops relationships, trust and credibility to a degree that cannot be done elsewhere.
This is breaking down the physical and mental barriers between customer and company at a rapid pace. Engaging with your audience shows that you do care about the issues they are having or the thoughts that they have. There are a number of ways to interact with your social audience, through posts, social groups/forums and marketing profiles.
Social media is not a one-way street, you don’t have to wait for them to come to you, you can perfectly well strike up a conversation where they are.
These conversations often product positive results and build long term relations that will have a positive impact on your search engine ranking. Get out there and make some new e-friends!
What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Is it working? Could it be done better? These are just a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself about your social media marketing. Are you measuring the engagement over time? It is time to treat social media like any other marketing campaign. You wouldn’t run an email or advertising camping without requesting some KPIs, so why are you just assuming that your social is “working?”
Understanding your social KPIs will provide you with insight into what is working and what is not. Optimize early and often – it will always pay off in the long run.
What should you review and optimize for?
- Most Popular Content
- Social Referral Traffic
- Optimal Days/Times of Engagement
- Audience Demographics
That should get you started on your journey to a more profitable social media strategy.
Compelling Copy and Captions
Although social media is primarily a visually based space, your copy and captions should enhance all of the items you share. This is where your audience can go for a little bit more information or to entice them into a click!
Think of this process as storytelling. Each aspect of a post should work with the others; if they do not, you will have an incomplete story. You want the copy of your posts to compel your users to perform another action, whether that is a click, share or like, depending on your goal. Let’s not forget, we are here to increase SEO, this is where you can use focused keywords to strengthen your brand around certain keywords or search terms.
Lastly, hashtags. Following the rules above, utilize relevant hashtags that will get you in front of your audience.
I hope that these tips for linking your social media and search strategy are helpful. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.