How Social Media Marketing and SEO Work Together

When cultivating a digital marketing strategy for your business, your main goals probably include improving your website’s ranking in search engine results, and growing your following on social media. While social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) both offer powerful ways to help your target customers discover your business, drive engagement, improve brand awareness, and ultimately increase sales, it may not seem at first that the two strategies are closely related. While there is generally not a direct link between social media marketing and SEO, they work together in several ways, and optimizing one will likely improve the results of the other.

Before delving into ways to make the most of the relationship between social media marketing and SEO, let’s briefly define each technique and explore how they may impact each other.

What is social media marketing?

With more than 3.4 billion users worldwide as of 2019, social media is one of the fastest-growing trends in history. From well-established, widely used platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to those that appeal to more narrow demographic groups or niche interests—such as TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest—there are numerous social media platforms that offer marketing opportunities for basically any business, regardless of size, industry, or target audience.

But what, exactly, is social media marketing? According to marketing guru Neil Patel, social media marketing is “the process of creating content that you have tailored to the context of each individual social media platform in order to drive user engagement and sharing.” This may include posting videos, sharing your latest blog or news about your business, promoting special offers, answering questions or responding to comments, sharing captivating images, and taking other actions with the goal of engaging existing and potential customers alike. Regardless of the specific goals of your business, one of the keys to a successful social media marketing strategy is to share content that has been tailored for your target audience and the platforms you are using.

What is search engine optimization (SEO)?

Search engines—primarily Google—offer one of the most direct avenues by which customers may find your business. Therefore, getting websites to rank higher in search engine results is a top goal (and constant battle) for businesses and marketers. The techniques used in pursuit of this goal are collectively known as search engine optimization (SEO), which is defined by Moz as the “practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic [as opposed to paid] search engine results.”

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In determining the order in which to rank results for a user’s search query, Google’s algorithm takes more than 200 factors into account. While fully understanding these factors and exactly how they work remains a mystery to anyone outside of the Google organization, SEO experts have identified several guidelines that businesses can refer to when trying to boost their search engine rankings. For example, Google is known to weigh the following factors heavily:

  • The amount and quality of content on a site
  • How users interact with a page, including bounce rates, time on page, and other metrics
  • The level of expertise of the site’s content creators
  • The site’s trustworthiness when it comes to providing accurate, unbiased information about a topic
  • The site’s level of authority in answering searchers’ questions

As businesses strive to improve their rankings among search engine results, a key area of focus should be creating high-quality, keyword-rich content designed to answer their target audiences’ needs and questions. This can be accomplished through both on-page and off-page SEO factors. On-page factors include the website’s responsiveness on mobile devices, the speed at which pages load, keywords used in blogs and other content, page titles and meta descriptions, and much more. Off-page factors include backlinks from high-quality sites, up-to-date business listings on directory sites, and completed profiles on social media platforms and Google My Business.

Is there a direct link between social media marketing and SEO?

Microsoft’s Bing, a leading alternative to Google, has confirmed that it does consider the number of social media shares that a page receives in determining where to rank that page in search results. And while Google is undeniably the most popular search engine, businesses should still implement SEO strategies for Bing, which claimed more than 10 percent of market share in 2020.

By contrast, Google has stated that characteristics of a business’s social media accounts—such as the number of followers and post likes, shares, and other engagements—are not factors in determining the website’s ranking in search results. However, studies have indicated that sites that rank highly on Google tend to have stronger social signals. While this may be merely a matter of correlation rather than causation, there are several ways in which a business’s social media presence can impact its search engine results and vice versa, as discussed below.

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How social media marketing and SEO work together

As you seek to drive traffic to your website and improve results for your business, it’s important to avoid thinking about social media marketing and SEO as two completely separate strategies. While they involve different techniques and often have different goals, the two can work together in the following important ways:

  • Social media is a great platform for promoting your content and driving traffic to your site. When you publish a new blog post or other content on your site, social media offers a way to quickly get it in front of a large audience by sharing posts with links back to your site. While these links do not have the same effect on search engine results as authentic backlinks from high-quality sites, they can influence important SEO metrics, such as time on page and bounce rate. The key is to create high-value content relevant to the needs and interests of your target audience, and tailor it to be shared on your chosen social media platforms. This will encourage users to click through to your site and spend time reading your content, while also boosting engagement on your social media accounts and helping to establish your brand as an authority in your industry. These goals can be achieved through both organic social media posts and paid ads, which typically allow greater targeting capabilities—thereby increasing the likelihood that your audience will be interested in your content and will click through to your site to learn more.
  • Social media offers opportunities to gain backlinks to your site. Backlinks, or inbound links to your site from another reputable website, are among the most influential factors of off-page SEO. Again, links that you post on your social media profiles leading to your own website are not particularly valuable for SEO purposes on their own—but over time, posting your content on social media can lead to opportunities to acquire high-quality backlinks. For example, as you share content that your audience finds valuable, they will, in turn, share it with their networks. This will amplify the reach and visibility of your content, which increases the likelihood that other sites will link back to yours.
  • Social media improves brand awareness, which may lead to more branded searches. One of the top goals of a social media marketing strategy is to boost brand awareness for your business. As people encounter your posts on social media over time, they will become familiar with what you offer and will be more likely to conduct searches that include your brand name. This will drive traffic directly to your website and help boost your rankings in search engine results.
  • Sharing your content on social media helps search engines index it more quickly. Google and other search engines have crawlers that gather information from across the internet, which the search engine then uses to build an index designed to match the right information to users’ queries. By sharing new content on your social media accounts as soon as it is published on your site, you will send signals to the search engine that there is a new page that needs to be crawled—thereby helping it get indexed and ready to show up in search results more quickly.
  • Your social media profiles show up in search engine results. When someone searches for your business online, your social media profiles are generally some of the first links they will see in search results, along with your website. While this may not directly improve your SEO value, ensuring that your social media profiles are fully filled out with up-to-date information and have positive reviews from customers is a great way to make your business appear more authoritative, improve brand awareness, and ultimately drive traffic to your site.
  • Social media offers a great way to learn about your target customers, allowing you to develop content focused on them. One of the main benefits of social media for your business is that it allows you to interact directly with your target customers, answering their questions and responding to their comments. By monitoring the feedback that your audience is leaving on your posts and the types of questions that they have, you can fine-tune the profile of your target customer and learn about their interests, needs, pain points, how they spend time online, and more. You may even be able to identify relevant keywords—including long-tail question keywords—to incorporate into your site. As you gather information from social media to develop buyer personas and note which social media posts get the most engagement, you can create content that is of high value to your audience. After all, if they express interest in a topic on social media, they will be likely to click on the same topic when they see it in search engine results. This will, in turn, improve a variety of SEO metrics, including website traffic, engagement, and time on site.

For the same reasons, your SEO efforts can also enhance your social media strategy: conducting keyword research offers insight into which topics are of interest to your audience. As you identify search trends and the specific phrasing used to search for a particular product or service, you can incorporate them into your social media posts—which can help boost engagement, conversions, and your return on investment for paid ads. However, be careful to avoid “keyword stuffing” your social media posts—the focus should always be on what will provide value for your audience.

How to boost the effectiveness of both your social media marketing and SEO strategies

While having a strong social media marketing strategy will eventually improve your SEO, and vice versa, there are several steps you can take to help the two work together more effectively. For example:

  • Link your social media accounts to your website. Ensure that there are icons linking to your social media profiles—as well as buttons that allow readers to easily share a page to their own socials—prominently displayed on your site, including on each blog post. In addition, be sure that each of your social media accounts has a link back to your website in the “About” section or wherever else it is appropriate. This will help users easily navigate between your website and social media accounts, driving traffic and boosting engagement on both.
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  • Share all new site content on your social media pages. As mentioned above, sharing content from your site to social media can help it get indexed more quickly for search engine results. Getting in the practice of sharing new blog posts and other interesting content as soon as it is published will not only expedite the indexing process, but will also put your latest content in front of your target audience so that they can start engaging with it, sharing it with their networks, and clicking back to your site.
  • Optimize your social media profiles for SEO. Ensure that your social media profiles are completely filled out with up-to-date information that includes the same keywords used on your website. In addition, when posting blogs and other content on your website, use images that are social media-friendly and optimized for SEO through the use of keyword-rich alt tags. This will help search engines make the connection between your website and social profiles, as well as guiding users to your pages when they search for products or services like yours within social media.
  • Use overlooked social media sites for link-building opportunities. Links posted on many major social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are considered “nofollow” links, which essentially tells search engines not to include them in determining rankings. However, many other social networking platforms allow “dofollow” links, which let search bots follow them back to your site. Examples of often-overlooked platforms that allow dofollow links include Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest, and the question-and-answer site Quora. Including these sites in your social media marketing strategy will advance the goals of spreading brand awareness and customer engagement, while also providing a boost to your SEO.
  • Use social media to build relationships. As the name suggests, social media is designed to facilitate social interaction and help users build relationships. While most businesses focus their social media strategies on promoting their products or services and engaging with customers, these platforms also offer powerful opportunities to connect with other figures who may be valuable to your business, such as bloggers, industry thought leaders, and influencers. By consistently sharing interesting, high-value content with your audience on social media and engaging with these notable figures, you can increase the likelihood that they will recognize your business as a leader in your field and organically promote your content. This is a great way to drive brand awareness and gain quality backlinks to your site—which can significantly improve your SEO efforts.

While an active social media presence may not directly impact where your website shows up in search engine results, your social media marketing and SEO strategies are intertwined in numerous ways. By consistently posting high-quality content on social media with links back to your website, engaging with your customers and influential figures in your industry, and keeping your social media profiles up to date with content that includes your target keywords, you can drive traffic to your website and influence key metrics that will boost your SEO value. Likewise, keyword research for SEO purposes can help shape your social media strategy by offering valuable insight into the topics that are of interest to your customers. As a result, enhancing your social media marketing and SEO strategies will help yield better results from both.

Need assistance with boosting the effectiveness of your social media and SEO efforts? The team at SP Marketing Experts is here to help! We specialize in various aspects of digital marketing, including social media management and both paid and organic search engine optimization. Offering in-depth knowledge of how these strategies and several others work together to drive results, we can help your business develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy designed to maximize your ROI. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

(Sources: https://neilpatel.com/blog/social-media-and-seo/, https://databox.com/social-media-and-seo).

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As crucial components of a successful digital marketing strategy, social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) both offer powerful ways to help your target customers discover your business, drive engagement, improve brand awareness, and ultimately increase sales. While there is not a direct link between these two techniques in the sense that a strong social media presence does not, in itself, improve a website’s ranking in search engine results, they work together in several important ways. For example, social media marketing:

  • Offers a platform for promoting content and driving traffic to your site
  • Provides opportunities to gain backlinks—which are among the most valuable off-page SEO factors
  • Helps site content get indexed in search engines more quickly
  • Provides insight into the needs and interests of your target customers, enabling you to create content that will resonate with them
  • And more!
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By understanding the relationship between social media marketing and SEO and investing in the two strategies, you’ll be able to enhance the results of both and drive results for your business.

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