SEO and social media marketing: two components of a digital marketing strategy that are often undervalued and misunderstood. Ask many marketers how the two avenues 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 may not be able to say one effect is a direct cause of action being taken on one channel or the other, but best practices can be adhered to between both social and SEO 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 how these two channels work together.
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 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.
With regards to social media content, the percentage of what is taken into account from an SEO perspective can be very minimal. In 2015, Stone Temple Consulting conducted a study that found less than 4 percent of all Tweets to be 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 more than often 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 33% of all search engine page result traffic is received by the top link, having a handle on your social media channels becomes even more important.
Aside from sharing out brand-relevant content to your prioritized social channels, there’s also value in working to increase follower numbers. This is important from a brand awareness and reach perspective, but 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. 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.
Set up streams through tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, BuzzSumo or your preferred social listening tool of choice. Monitoring streams around the audience and brand-relevant keywords can help you gauge where the conversations are happening, who’s having them, and gaps that can be filled in 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, being conscious of optimizing your social media content for searches 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 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. These shares can then be translated into external inbound links and the more link backs from valuable sources directing traffic back to your website, the more positively affected your ranking on Google will be.
There may be no clear cut path between social media 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 content and its distribution.
Developing a content strategy that can be encompassed into your digital marketing strategy as a whole will serve as a guiding force in how every other channel becomes activated. What tools has your brand put into place to help in the development and dissemination of quality content? Tweet your responses at @MabblyDigital!