Hand in Hand: The Relationship Between SEO and Social Media Marketing

SEO and social media marketing: two components of a digital marketing strategy that are often undervalued and misunderstood. Ask many marketers how the two work together to boost the other, and you’re likely to receive many blank stares. And rightfully so! For years, the connection between the two has remained heavily debated and unclear, no thanks to Google itself.

What can be gathered, however, is that a relationship exists. You’ll likely be unable to make a direct relationship between two channels, but SEO and social networking best practices can be adhered to. This is done in order to better the holistic performance of your brand’s keyword strategy. Before launching into steps that can be taken to help better the health of your digital marketing efforts, let’s take a look at what can be definitively said to be untrue about these two channels and their benefit your content marketing. But first, it’s important to keep high quality content in mind with all of these suggestions, content that is of low quality negatively impacts SEO, and eliminates any SEO benefit.

The Grey Area

Back in 2014, Domo published data showing that roughly 211 million pieces of online content are generated every minute and of the new and old content, 4,000,000 search queries are performed every minute via Google. So, when thinking in terms of SEO strategy and search engine ranking specifically, it’s often easiest to imagine it as a filing system of sorts. In order to keep up with everything, the database must index. And while indexing based on relevance may be the goal, only so many pieces can actually be sensibly filed away without proper guidance. This is why attention to keywords, website architecture, link-building, and more work together in search engine optimization. Ensuring you have a grip on how these work in tandem is key to the digital success of your business.

Regarding social media profiles and content, the percentage of SEO that is taken into account is usually very minimal. In 2015, Stone Temple Consulting conducted a study that found that less than 4% of all tweets are indexed by Google. This means that while Google bots may crawl social pages, it’s unlikely that likes on Facebook, Tweets, or anything in between factor into website page rankings. The secret recipe behind Google’s search ranking methods doesn’t help in solidifying the relationship between the two but there are still some correlations worth paying attention to.

Legitimize Social Profiles, Legitimize Rankings

When conducting a search of many brands or businesses, the first page results are likely to include relevant social profiles. If you aren’t regularly updating those profiles with relevant content or worse yet, don’t own the management of those profiles, your brand is missing out on a major opportunity. Considering that 75% of all search engine page result traffic is received by the top 3 links, having a handle on your social media channels becomes even more important when it comes to ranking factors.

Aside from sharing out brand-relevant content to your social channels, there’s also value in working to increase follower numbers. This is important from a brand awareness and reach perspective. But, in addition, building a networked community of engaged fans helps bolster social page activity and legitimacy. Just be aware that Google is able to detect quality of followers so growing your base organically rather than purchasing will always be the way to go.

Listen, and You Shall Receive

Marketers often make the process of determining what their audiences will react to much harder than it needs to be. This is because, more often than not, your audiences will tell you exactly what they want, exactly what they need, and when they want it. Using social media as a tool for listening to fans and followers can help influence your brand’s content strategy across social and all other channels. Ensuring you keep social listening ongoing is equally important: having a strategy based on social listening data from last year is worthless when your social media profiles are changing on the daily.

Set up streams through tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, BuzzSumo to catch both positive and negative social signals regarding your brand. Monitoring streams around the audience and brand-relevant keywords can help you gauge where the conversations are happening, who’s having them, and gaps to be filled by a mix of curated and created content. Providing this content via SEO-friendly blog pieces, guest pieces hosted through other sites with presence, and your brand’s social channels, are all surefire ways to help bolster credibility among both your fans and Google.

Value Social Searches

Google may be the reigning king of search, but many tend to turn towards social sites like Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. for more niche search cases. With this in mind, be conscious of optimizing your social media content for searches. Doing this on each specific platform leads to greater engagement with said content. This means providing hashtags where necessary on high trafficked keywords. In addition, be conscious of hashtag best practices as they relate to each specific social channel.

The true value of searches (and branded searches!) on social come from what people do with your content once found. For example, if a piece resonates enough with a visitor, they may be inclined to share. This sharing means more eyeballs on your content and inevitably, your brand which can then be translated into external inbound links. The more link-backs from valuable sources directing traffic back to you, the more positive your Google ranking will be.

There may be no clear cut path between social media platforms and SEO but there are clear ways in which efforts conducted through both channels can impact the other. One of the major takeaways is to understand the value of promoting your content and its distribution.

Developing an all encompassing content strategy that works with the digital marketing strategy will be a guiding force to how every channel becomes activated. In addition, incorporating a strategy that is deeply rooted in search marketing brings brand awareness. Awareness is then translated into leads, conversions, and the like. What tools has your brand put into place to help in the development and dissemination of quality content? Tweet your responses at @MabblyTribe!