Using social media for business marketing is not the only reason to embrace social platforms for commercial reasons. Social media is also a great tool to use for search engine optimisation (SEO).
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the process digital marketers use to encourage organic traffic online to a particular website. It requires having your website and content appearing high in search engine results, and it doesn’t involve payment for this to the search engines.
SEO requires the clever and strategic use of various techniques, tactics and tools to increase the number of visitors to a website. This is done by affecting a placement of high ranking in search results. Since the majority of internet users conduct searches online and rarely look beyond the first page of results given, it is crucial for businesses to be on page one of their search result in order to be seen by the highest number of online users. The higher a website ranks in search engine results, the more likely it will be visited by users – it’s that simple.
By undertaking search engine optimisation, a website is more accessible to a search engine and to end users – and its visibility increases dramatically.
Organic SEO is a phrase used to describe the process of obtaining a high placement on search engine results pages by using tactics such as link building, back-linking and targeted keywords. It also involves creating quality content that is relevant and human centric.
White-hat SEO refers to techniques and strategies that are focused on human audiences. These are the SEO practices of which Google approves. They are used most frequently by those website owners who are investing long term in their website and its ongoing success.
Black-hat SEO refers to strategies unsanctioned by Google and that are aggressive and do not generally obey search engine guidelines and best practices for SEO. It is purely focused on a non-human audience, aimed to trick the Google algorithm. Some black-hat SEO practices that should be avoided include keyword stuffing, page swapping, adding unrelated keywords to a page and using invisible text. It is most frequently used if a fast return on investment is sought; there is no long-term benefit and penalties from using these practices can be enforced by search engines, including a website being banned.
What is social SEO?
Social media for business is one of the fasted growing uses of social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Social media is all about interaction and communication, uploading and sharing of content. Social SEO is the use of social media to improve search engine rankings.
While it is true that you can rank your website well without social media, and it is also true that you can’t rely on social media alone to achieve high search-engine ranking, social media is very valuable for improving search engine ranks. Any social activity that relates back to your website in a positive way will enhance your search engine ranking. Google, for instance, gives some level of authority to likes, shares and Tweets.
Social media also exposes your content to a much wider audience – and great content will potentially be linked to on other sites. Your audience becomes your very own lead-generation team.
Search engine algorithms are paying attention to social media activity and social signals are gradually becoming more integrated into these algorithms. To rank very highly in search engine results, you need to have an active social presence.
At the very least, you can improve your brand’s website ranking by:
• Creating sharable, high-value content
• Creating a business presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Instagram (depending on your product and your target audience demographics)
• Communicating and conversing with others via social media
• Sharing content including blogs via your social profiles
SEO tips and tricks
What are some of the SEO tips and tricks that you can employ to help your overall digital marketing campaign?
First, you need to know the following:
• Google might not directly factor social signals in its ranking algorithm, but the reach and engagement social provides does get considered.
• Activity and high engagement from sharing quality content will result in enhanced links and visibility. Over time, the links will result in higher rankings.
• Your follower numbers matter – but they must not be bought! Search engines know when you have fake, paid-for followers – it’s just not worth your time or money to do this.
• Create social content that includes targeted keywords; the same ones you are using for your website.
• Link to your website via your social profile – in your bio and when you share product showcase content.
• Use hashtags where appropriate, definitely on Twitter and Instagram. They are less valuable in Facebook or LinkedIn.
• Know that Google uses Twitter to find new content online. Make Twitter work for you!
• Social media marketing is the opposite of “push” marketing – where you push your product or service at your audience. Instead, think of social as a channel for “pull” marketing – pulling them towards you for interaction with great content that involves only a limited sales pitch.
Some top social media tips and tricks for enhancing your SEO include:
• Build your follower base: The number of followers you have reflects your potential reach. This also influences your search engine ranking. Note that Google can identify your follower quality and detect bought proxy followers. You need to build your follower base organically, and this takes time. It requires commitment and consistency. You need to provide value to your followers and engage with them in a real and tangible way.
• Build brand awareness: Your brand identity is everything. With a great brand reputation on social media, your brand presence online will be maximised. This will lead to a greater volume of branded searches for you on Google – and you will ultimately rank more highly.
• Optimise your posts: Use relevant targeted keywords. Anchor your post with a strong link, image, video, or infographic. Use a title to hook readers into wanting to explore further.
• Encourage social sharing: Your authority online relies on your content being shared. The more shares you achieve, the more favourably Google will look upon your site. Likes, comments and replies also count.
• Appeal locally: Identify where you are and engage with your local community. Local optimisation is very valuable to search engine results, and you will become more visible in local searches.
If you are receiving an increase in the following, and your social profiles are linked to your website, you can guarantee your social media efforts are generating an improvement in your search engine rankings:
• Facebook likes and shares
• Twitter followers and retweets
• Tweets that mention your site by authority Twitter users
• Positive reviews on social profiles
If your competitors are using SEO and social media as well (and don’t believe any who denies they are using SEO – would you tell your competition how you operate?) you really need to get on board with both. To achieve great rankings is the name of the game. Social signals on top of back-links will always outrank back-linking on its own. And if others aren’t yet using social media for business, they likely will be soon.
Social media marketing and SEO are intrinsically linked. Take this opportunity to get ahead in the game.
In the know…
Want to know more about social media marketing? Here are our top 3 blogs on the very subject.
1 Beware these social media blunders
Look around the web and there are plenty examples of social media marketing mistakes. These can be simple goofs or major faux pas that can compromise the success of your social strategy, or at worst, harm your business and your brand. Find out those mistakes here
2 Content writing tips for social media success
The art of storytelling is a powerful way to engage consumers with your brand, and its use extends to social media. There is also a science to social media writing, and doing it effectively can make the difference between a social media marketing campaign that is adequate and one that launches your business to the stratosphere. Read all about it here
3 How much does social media impact online purchasing?
According to numerous market research reports, social media has a somewhat limited accountability for direct sales, with some studies finding only a rate of one to five percent of ecommerce sales being directly attributed to selling through social media. Yet don’t be fooled: social media marketing has an enormous role to play in supplementing and triggering the sales process. Find out what that is
Meanwhile, are you a business owner or professional?
If you answered yes to being either of these, then you should be on LinkedIn. Social media a great tool for raising awareness, generating leads and boosting your bottom line if you’re in business. It can also help you get ahead in your career by raising your profile and opening up opportunities you may not know exist. LinkedIn is the preferred B2B social media channel and it just so happens we have a free LinkedIn eCourse to help you get the most out of the platform. You can check it out here.