Most small businesses recognize the role social media plays in brand communications and reputation, but platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube can also have a significant impact on SEO.
Social Media Search Engines
Social-media channels are search engines, and have been for a long time. By 2010, Twitter was already handling five times as many daily search queries as Bing. Facebook also has announced plans to compete, investing heavily in improving its search feature in an effort to take on Twitter and, eventually, Google. SEO isn’t just about traditional search engines any more.
Increasing Brand Visibility
A well-designed social strategy can increase brand visibility. Twitter users might discover your new product after searching for related tweets. Similarly, an appropriately categorized image on Pinterest or Instagram could introduce your services to users on those platforms. Customers at the point of purchase might even check out Google+ reviews or Facebook interactions to determine product quality and customer service.
So, in order to get the most SEO benefit from social media, brands must be active on multiple channels. Those of you who are members of our monthly SEO/SEM program will know that this represents a significant time investment. This is why many small brands rely on our specialists to update social channels continually, producing and sharing original content that maximizes visibility, engagement and ranking.
Increasing SEO Authority and Ranking
Google now includes social-media engagement as a measure of content credibility. This means brands that are influential on social platforms can use their success to boost their website’s perceived authority.
The best way to establish your brand as an authoritative resource is to share original content that resonates with your target audience. If your content generates a high number of shares, quality inbound links, and referral traffic, the search engines will take note.
However, an increase in website authority isn’t the only benefit to be had. Social-media pages consistently appear in search results, and those with a high number of quality followers (for instance, people who engage with or interact with the brand) rank higher than those without. This increases brand visibility, awareness and reach.
Many content marketers welcome Google’s move toward using social signals as a ranking factor. It is a double-edged sword, however, and those with low-quality followers, poor content and link-stuffing proclivities on social channels are likely to see their social pages occupy lower rankings in the search-engine results pages.
It is also worth noting that for the moment, at least, search engines such as Google are unable to collect data on posts shared between users on social platforms. So, to have any chance of impacting your SEO authority, your posts must be shared directly from your website through social-share buttons.
SEO and Social Media
Social media is an incredibly useful marketing tool in its own right but, when you leverage it to increase SEO authority, even the smallest boutique brand suddenly has the power to reach thousands of potential customers.