Does social media affect your search ranking? You’ve probably seen the stories circulating that social media does not affect SEO. Well, it does, but indirectly.
Sharing your content and links to social media does not generate backlinks that’ll influence your rankings. For Google’s search algorithm, social media links are not a ranking factor and have no direct impact on SEO. This is according to the former head of Google Webspam lead in a video released eight years ago.
However, there are still some ways social SEO can indirectly influence your search engine optimization efforts. It can supplement your other SEO strategies and give you an edge over your competitors on the search engine result page (SERP).
So, read on as we cover four reasons you should integrate social media into your SEO strategy.
1. Website Traffic Increases to Your Site
Did you know 81% of people visit a business website from social media? Pretty interesting, right?
That shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, considering how many people use social media today. Also, businesses have ramped up their social media presence in the last few years.
Therefore, social media provides an excellent opportunity to drive organic traffic to your website.
Here’s a result of some of ShareThis’s top-ranking pages on Ubersuggest.
You’ll agree that every one of these pages enjoying considerable traffic has ample shares on social media.
Suppose you create content that resonates with your audiences and includes a share button. When your audiences share the content on social media, they bring it to more interested audiences. Hence, new audiences also click the link, ultimately increasing your web traffic.
Further, let’s consider a case study from CognitiveSEO. The brand shared a blog post, including the link on a Subreddit. This post targeted the keyword “google images.” The post resonated with the audience, and went viral. This virality took its organic ranking from 74 to eight on the SERP, as shown below.
Matt Woodward also shared a similar case study. He had a viral social media post on Facebook targeting the keyword “unhealthy food.” The post went viral, and this saw the webpage traffic increase. It also went on to rank #1 on Google SERP.
Besides, since you are releasing content that your audiences want to see, you’ll record considerably lower bounce rates. Lower bounce rates tell the search engine that your content is value-rich. Thus, you’ll have a better shot at appearing higher in search rankings.
To enjoy this search engine traffic, create content pieces that are highly tailored to your audiences. Begin by building a relationship with them. Ask about their pain points and use the feedback to develop a piece of content that’s more likely to resonate with them.
2. Builds a Branded Search Strategy
Social media marketing largely involves growing your target audience base and brand. When you keep posting and sharing links to high-quality content via extensive social campaigns, you’ll increase brand recognition and awareness.
Then, customers start associating your brand with a particular product or service. They’ll interact with your content and social media profile, visit your website, and get even more familiarized with your brand.
A good social media campaign will also help you build trust with your target audience. As you reply to their comments, reshare their posts, and provide mobile business cards for them to contact you, the bond grows stronger.
As a result, you end up with customers who are aware of your brand and trust you. Thus, they become even more inclined to include your brand name when searching for a keyword related to your niche. In other words, they start doing branded searches in favor of your business.
If more of your audience keeps searching for a keyword with your brand name attached, Google starts associating your brand with the keyword. In no time, you may start appearing for even unbranded searches related to that keyword.
Burger King and MyRecipes have built brand awareness using, among many other things, a social channel community of fast food enthusiasts. So, even if you search for “burger” without their brand name, you’ll find them high up on the SERPs.
Here’s an example:
Also, these audiences are specifically searching for your brand with a branded keyword. As such, they know what they are looking for. Thus, this traffic has a lower bounce rate which is good for your SEO.
3. Know Your Customers Well
One of the most successful business tips is getting your keyword strategy right. But how can you get the right keywords if you don’t understand your users’ pain points?
Social SEO can help you understand your audiences better, including the queries they are more likely to search for. When you offer expert, authoritative, and trustworthy answers to these queries, you have a higher chance of ranking your website.
How can you know what your customers want using social media? Firstly, use social monitoring tools, such as Hootsuite, to discover the hottest topics around your niche.
These tools let you see what your audiences, competitors, and everyone is talking about, as shown below.
Also, some social media platforms have built-in survey tools. For instance, Instagram stories allows you to conduct surveys and polls.
A social platform like Facebook has automated survey chatbots that help you automatically request feedback from your clients’ social accounts. Here’s an example:
Further, take advantage of social listening to gain insights into the discussions your audiences are having. You can use social listening tools, such as Hootsuite, to this effect.
Once you’ve gathered keywords, insert them into an analytics tool such as SEMRush to generate related keywords, as shown below.
Combine these SEO keywords to create trending content, and you’ll have a better chance of ranking on Google.
4. Boosts Brand Authority
A well-executed social SEO campaign can make your customers and Google see your brand as an expert within its niche.
Regular and consistent sharing of valuable content on social media helps you increase your audience base. When you keep engaging these audiences and catering to their needs, you’ll eventually nurture them into a dedicated community.
Thus, you’ll become their go-to for industry-related questions, purchases, etc. You can further strengthen this relationship by responding to their direct messages quickly, answering their questions, sharing, and liking their comments on social media.
To further cement brand trust, you can share various forms of social proof such as video testimonials and customer reviews. Customers trust social proof 12 times more than the best and most convincing sales copy.
Now, how does this build your authority on Google? When you share valuable content on social media, individuals, brands, or influencers in or outside your community will be more willing to link to your content. And backlinks are among the most powerful ranking factors on search engines.
While social SEO does not directly affect your organic search ranking or give you link juice, it comes with several benefits. This includes increased traffic, elevated brand authority, better connection with customers, and an increase in branded search.
These benefits will help boost your ranking in search results. That’s why you should not overlook the connection between social media and SEO.