The following is a guest post from Martin Harrison, the co-founder of Copify.
There has long been the misconception within marketing circles that SEO and social media are two different, separate areas. However, in recent years, many have realised that they can be used in conjunction with one another to increase a company’s social media presence and followers, boost their authority within their field and gain a higher search engine ranking on Google. Savvy social media and SEO awareness can facilitate a company’s organic growth.
As such, it’s imperative for a company to spend enough time focusing on both SEO and social media, as neglecting one or the other could result in the loss of several potential followers and customers. Here are a few ways SEO and social media can work together to benefit a business.
1. Mention influencers and get on their radar
The ultimate aim of building a content base is for a company to gain more interest, followers, traction and custom. One way of boosting SEO is to have authoritative links embedded within the content and to be referenced in others’ content as a voice of authority. The higher the quality of the links, the higher the business ranks in Google’s search engine.
By posting the content on social media and encouraging others to share it, the number of people who will see it increases, and more opportunities are created for a reader to link your content to theirs. As Gary Dek says in his guest blog for Agora Pulse, if an industry influencer links to your content, your SEO will be boosted, Google will rank it higher in search engines, more bloggers will link to it and your site will gain more traction.
However, only high calibre content with genuine value will gain any likes, shares, retweets or pins, so spending time creating it is vital. Not only that, but poor quality content without authoritative links will incur penalties and rank lower in search results. Neil Patel, writing for Quicksprout, discusses the various types of Google penalties in more detail here.
2. Link from content to social media profiles
Popular social media sites have such high authority because of the sheer amount of engagement they receive, so the links placed on their profiles and pages are held in higher regard by Google for this reason.
By creating a profile or page and adding a link to your site, you are capitalising on that site’s authority, which is great for SEO.
As Ana Gotter, writing for Social Media Examiner, explains: posting a company video on YouTube and then linking that video to your social media profile and your own site will build your site’s authority because you have included reputable links to sites with many users.
3. Attract genuine followers (and don’t buy 10,000 fake ones)
Everyone knows followers are gained through social media, and Google ranks companies with more followers higher in search results.
Followers are acquired when social media users engage with your site’s posts and content, and valuable content encourages them to return to your page or profile for updates and to share your posts. More sharing creates the opportunity for more followers, therefore improving SEO and boosting your company’s search engine ranking. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.
However, bear in mind that the quality of followers is important. Buying followers does not count, as Google can tell the difference between genuine followers and those gained through other means. To attract organic followers, invest time in creating content that your audience will want to read and engage with, and Google will reward you with a higher search engine ranking. Brittany Hurlburt discusses the advantages of having genuine followers and how they can benefit your business.
Additionally, it’s important to regularly update your company’s social media profiles with useful content and posts. Laying the foundations of an effective campaign by creating profiles and pages then neglecting to update them will do nothing to improve SEO.
Updates need to be made regularly, but not for the sake of it; only insightful posts will earn shares and retweets. Google can tell how much you update your profiles, and will rank you higher if you do so regularly.
Nevertheless, creating a social media profile is not enough because literally anyone can do it as Lucinda Watrous discusses in her post for Search Engine Journal.
Fake accounts created purely to increase likes, shares or followers will affect SEO negatively rather than positively. Demonstrating you have an active account, and acquiring followers who are also active, will benefit SEO.
4. Build brand awareness with interactions
Audience engagement is vital for attracting followers and building brand awareness. To simply post something on social media and then ignore any comments you receive or any debates you spark off is a big mistake in terms of SEO. Listening to and getting involved with those who are engaging with your content and social media profiles will not only increase your online presence, but will also boost your authority in your field. This will cement your brand’s presence online, and allow you to address any issues that may arise effectively.
Watrous provides a good example of how customer relationship management, or CRM, can help to boost brand presence and improve SEO: Keeping your customers happy by addressing their problems will present a more positive and polished brand image while encouraging further audience and customer engagement, all of which contribute to SEO.
Additionally, the more people hear about your brand, the more it will be searched for online. This will increase your brand’s presence and authority, which will improve your search engine ranking as Dominique Jackson discusses in his blog post for Sprout Social. The better your company’s reputation is, the more likely people are to search for your brand, and then become a follower or customer themselves.
5. Make people stop scrolling
As Jason DeMers says in this blog for Forbes, a strong anchor is the first thing you should consider when creating the perfectly optimised post. This needs to be something interesting that will catch readers’ attention, such as a video, infographic or thought provoking image.
Combine this with a descriptive title that will encourage people to click on your post, and remember to optimise it for a particular search. Bear in mind a question your target reader or audience will want to ask, and how your post can provide the ultimate solution.
While these are all basic copywriting principles, don’t forget to include keywords in your title and post to help it rank higher in searches. If relevant, think about any current trends you could use to attract more readers, and factor them into your keyword choice.
Make sure all of your social media profiles are visible by adjusting your privacy settings, as Gotter says, your content needs to reach as far as possible in terms of audience and engagement, and anyone and everyone needs to be able to see what you’re posting.
6. Use local listings to instantly boost visibility
An easy way of improving SEO using social media is to create a local listing on Google+. This will enable customers to review your business, and Google ranks companies with the most positive reviews higher. Make sure to include the address and other important information, as this will associate your business with the local area. Featuring a map on your Facebook page and a list of locations also boosts local SEO because customers will be able to find you easily, as Gotter outlines.
DeMers says that creating relevant posts, taking pictures and encouraging engagement all contribute towards local SEO, as it improves your visibility in local searches. Engaging with the higher ranking businesses within your area by sharing and retweeting each other’s posts, and contributing to discussions on social media about your businesses, will also improve SEO.
Martin Harrison is co-founder of Copify, which supplies website content from a network of approved copywriters. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.