Which is better? Reaching a wider audience and building up followers on social media, or ranking higher on Google through SEO? That is the question we hear often as clients decide on budget and effort to dedicate to each.
How can we use content rich and user centered social media platforms to reach a wider audience and potentially boost your business’ search engine optimization (SEO) on search engine results pages (SERP)?
How does social media impact SEO?
This is a hotly debated topic in 2022. First thing to mention is the relationship between social media and SEO is one of correlation, not causation.
As we’ve mentioned in earlier blog posts (What is SEO & Why Does it Matter), having a strong SEO foundation is crucial to obtaining organic reach through search engine results pages (SERP) for your website. One part of this is having a strong backlink game across your website and partner sites. So, does linking your site to your active social media pages improve your SEO?
Answer: there is no clear data yet.
Now, we know platforms like Bing have openly said they track social signals (which include things such as likes, shares, and comments). However Google, who owns more than 90% of the search engine market, keeps this information close to the vest. They have not stated whether they crawl social media pages/posts—and if they do, to what extent they do this. That being said, the fact that you can search a business and pull up all of their Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube channels is a fairly good indicator that they do.
So how does this impact your SEO?
Inspired Agency’s Alex Brown said it best:
“Does social media directly boost SEO rankings? No, it won’t directly boost any SEO rankings. So, what is the relationship between social media and SEO then? Social media provides opportunities in content marketing and link building efforts that will help boost your organic rankings.”
Lengthening the lifespan of your posts
Increase brand recognition
Boosts brand reputation
Helps to grow online traffic and visibility organically
Ads the option for others reputable platforms to create backlinks to your site
How to strengthen your SEO and Social Media
Some people’s gut instinct might be to start posting everyday, regardless of the quality or content relevancy of what they post. They might throw in GIFs, memes, and a regularly scheduled “Throwback Thursday” post - but is this the kind of content that your target audience will find valuable and be willing to consistently engage with?
Taking the time to create quality content that guides users to a landing page on your website is the most direct way to gain traffic to your site from social media. High quality content built to engage your audience boosts those social signals to improve your organic reach (ideally).
There are some key principles to remember:
Stick to your brand image
Create original content
Posting consistently means finding a pattern that works for your company and audience size. This can be scaled up or down depending on your company's growth and capacity. AB testing is also recommended to find a pattern that matches your company and the times your audience is engaging online.
While doing this you want to stick to your brand image across platforms. This means the kind of images you use, the colors, fonts, and tone of voice all matter because they convey your brand as an entity. Putting together a social media plan and brand guideline packet is incredibly helpful for building this kind of consistency across platforms.
Lastly, creating your own original content can greatly boost your brand image. Going beyond stock images and adding a personal touch makes you seem more approachable as a company, conveying new levels of authenticity and honesty to your audience.
Using each of these points, bring it together with a clear call to action. What are the actionable next steps for your audience to take. Make it clear, simple, and accessible.
Essentially, there is no clear proof that Google is tracking the social signals coming from your social media. We know they track how often backlinks are clicked on and shared, how much traffic your website gets, and how long visitors stay on your site. Using social media to drive traffic to your website by having engaging and shareable content is a great way to build your organic reach. The more traffic you get and the longer visitors stay on your page can improve your bounce rate, which does directly correlate to your SERP ranking — something to consider as you build your content marketing strategy.