Backlinks are the backbone of SEO, but Google does not consider backlinks from social media websites as strong as other links. The search engine recognizes that it’s easy for website owners to place these links, thus downgrading their value. And besides that, most sites only offer no-follow links.
Nevertheless, your SEO efforts with social media are still valuable. Let’s learn about the incremental improvements you can make by combining your SEO and SMM efforts.
Quick Jump Links
What is the connection between SEO and social media?
SEO and SMM are two separate branches of digital marketing with some significant differences. SEO involves a lot of technically challenging work, like website speed optimization. Social media marketing is more about creating meaningful connections, sharing updates, and building a community.
However, these two fields are intertwined in many respects. SEO and SMM work with content and can be effectively combined for content marketing. And that’s not the only way social media networks can complement SEO efforts.
Social media in search
Social media is likely a big part of the digital marketing strategy of any brand. That’s why you can optimize not only your website for search engines, but social media pages as well.
Making sure your social media pages appear in the SERP for branded search queries doesn’t take much work and serves an important function. It ensures that people who want to check your social media page instead of the website can do so without searching through the site.
It also takes up more valuable real-estate on the front page of Google. This way if someone else is ranking for your valuable branded keywords, your actual brand is clear to your user.
Social media traffic
According to HubSpot, around 16% of an average website’s traffic comes from social media. Depending on your industry and strategy, that percentage can be much higher.
If that’s the case, you can get traffic to website pages from social media by posting new blog articles on your social media profile or running paid ads.
Experts claim that visitors who stay on your website can still improve its SEO, even if they don’t come from the SERP.
Backlinks from social media
Google may not use backlinks from social media as a direct ranking signal, but having them may still be beneficial. There are three major benefits of social media backlinks apart from receiving traffic.
Most marketers focus on building do-follow backlinks since they bring the most value to the site. However, a healthy backlink profile also needs plenty of no-follow links. Sharing backlinks to your website on social media can provide a sustainable source of no-follow links and will indirectly help your link-building efforts.
Only some links must be manually created by reaching out to bloggers and editors to collaborate on content. Some of the best links are earned organically. But it’s hard to get a backlink to your article if it’s not already high in the SERP.
Sharing content on social media provides that opportunity. There’s a correlation between the number of Facebook shares of a piece of content and the backlinks it receives organically.
And lastly, being a part of the conversation on social media increases your brand mentions. Since Google’s algorithm views social media sites as authoritative, simply being talked about or mentioned on Facebook and Twitter may signal that your site has some authority.
The final element of social media that may help SEO is social signals — likes and shares on Facebook or Twitter. There’s evidence that these things slightly correlate with ranking.
Besides that, Google takes data from social media, so having a solid profile with a lot of user engagement may indirectly transfer to website authority. Having consistent business information on the page as a reference for the search engine may also improve local SEO.
How to use social media for SEO
Social media is a powerful marketing channel in and of its own. You can make SMM even more helpful for your brand with the right approach by boosting SEO. Here are five ways you can do that.
1. Extend your content marketing reach
Social media marketing is all about content. Since a large part of SEO involves getting exposure and traffic through content, combining the two is a no-brainer.
Simply repurposing blog content can increase your website and social media visibility and promote content discovery. You can easily do this with a social media management platform like Oktopost. It allows you to streamline posting blog content on social media and makes integration between SEO and SMM pretty easy.
Doing this is especially important for companies that don’t have their blog pages ranking in the top 10 of the SERP, as it boosts traffic and may lead to more backlinks as people discover your content off Google.
If your organization invests heavily in content marketing, you can bring the website and social media together with video or audio content. You can post videos or podcast recordings on social media and leave a link to the transcript published on the website.
2. Gain more backlinks and attract traffic
The problem that haunts every business with a brand-new website is content discovery. The most straightforward way to get a new website ranked high by the search engine is to build backlinks. That way, you will create content people will be glad to link back to.
But if the website isn’t ranking high already, only a few people will discover it, so building links to it becomes a vicious circle. Social media can break this circle, exposing your website and content to thousands of people through organic interactions or paid ads. This increases the chances of your blog pieces being linked to from other blogs, Reddit, or Quora.
However, don’t stop reposting blog content on social media pages. Make it easy to share blog articles on Twitter and Facebook with social buttons on the site. A handy tool is an extension or plug-in that allows for tweeting highlighted text – this makes sharing your content more straightforward.
While you’re trying to increase the number of exposure and backlinks you receive from social media, expand your outreach from bloggers to social media influencers.
Another important thing is to check the quality of gained backlinks, as many low-quality links can negatively impact your website’s authority. For this purpose, use SE Ranking’s backlink tool. On the dashboard, you’ll see new and lost backlinks, trust scores of linked pages and referring domains, link types, and other significant information for keeping track of your backlink profile.
This tool also allows you to check your competitors’ backlinks to find attractive link opportunities you could have missed.
Image source: SE Ranking dashboard screenshot
3. Enhance brand awareness and brand search
When your brand is discussed on social media, you don’t get a backlink every time it’s mentioned. But brand mentions can be treated as implied links by Google. Brand mentions matter much less than do-follow links, but they may improve ranking slightly and get Google’s attention.
This can lead to improved rankings for branded searches for your website and social media page.
Social media pages are also a great way to increase brand awareness. Add as many details as possible to your page and keep the brand image consistent. Users exposed to your brand through shares and paid ads may be more likely to click on it in the SERP.
4. Build trust and authority with your audience
Social media is the ultimate authority metric — unlike on your site, you can’t control what people say about your brand on social media. That’s why people tend to trust what’s being said there. Your reputation with influencers in your niche is also important, as 37% of consumers trust influencers more than brands. That number is likely to be much higher for B2B influencers.
Maintaining a good reputation on social media and engaging with the audience means that when a potential lead researches your brand online, they will find you trustworthy.
If you want to learn more about your reputation, you can use social listening tools to understand the situation. Oktopost’s tool lets you find all mentions of your brand online and uses AI to analyze the overall sentiment of the mention.
5. Improve ranking on Google with local SEO
Social media can work with local SEO just as well as with regular website optimization. For starters, your Facebook or LinkedIn is a high-authority platform where you can post your business information. Since having accurate citations across the internet is one of the key ranking factors in local SEO, social media provides a straightforward way to boost that.
It can also improve local SEO indirectly by amassing reviews. While the largest ranking factor for local search is proximity, you can’t really influence that. Reviews are the second-largest factor.
It’s not only GMB (Google My Business) reviews that matter. Reviews on third-party sites also matter. Facebook is probably only surpassed by Yelp in terms of the authority of their reviews, so having customers review you on their platform may improve local SEO.
How social media helps SEO to drive your business
Search engine optimization differs greatly from social media management in terms of techniques. But there are multiple ways to combine the two since they both rely on content marketing, and social media websites provide high authority to backlinks.
Social media can enhance SEO in more than one way — improving the backlink profile, online reputation, brand awareness, and content discovery. Naturally, these things won’t improve SEO as dramatically as link building and on-page optimization, but they are incremental improvements that can also make a difference.
Incorporate these tips into your digital marketing strategy, and you’ll have another way of improving SEO.