Are you looking for how to use social media in your content strategy to improve SEO and Google search rankings? Do you want to boost your SEO campaign using social media? I will address those questions in this article with practical social media for SEO marketing tips.
Improving your SEO strategy is vital because it increases your search visibility and Google ranking. But fierce competition makes appearing on search results a challenge, mainly since more content gets published daily.
With this volume of content published and distributed every day, your odds to show up on search engine results are slim. But, you can improve your chances with the right content strategy.
How Does Social Media Impact SEO?
Social media does not directly contribute to SEO ranking, but the links you share across social platforms increase brand exposure. They add up and influence search engine optimization in six directions:
- Extensive content distribution
- Longer lifespan of your posts
- Improve online visibility and organic traffic
- Increase brand recognition.
- Enhance brand reputation
- Boosts local search engine optimization (SEO)
Your shares across social media sites have no place in SEO rankings. Still, when more people share your content throughout social media, it generates social signals that indicate your posts are useful to your target market.
Research by CognitiveSEO made some exciting findings. After analyzing 23 million social media shares on selected platforms, they discovered an equivocal link between social shares and SEO. The shares, likes, and comments your posts receive are vital signals which Google and other search engines use to rank your website.
However, although the links are helpful, Google doesn’t count them as it would a link from other authority sites. Despite that, you agree that the best ranking pages on SERP are often those with more social shares.
In describing how social media impacts SEO, Life Marketing notes that social media does not have a direct influence on SEO. But it indirectly has a positive effect on search ranking.
Social Media Mentions and Rankings
At Pubcon Pro 2017, Google’s Gary Illyes had a keynote discussion with SEO Eric Enge. Gary discussed how Google might use online mentions of a brand.
So as you can see, social media success can influence your SEO. It is clear that Google is looking for the right metrics, not just vanity metrics — and so should you.
More on How Social Media Supports SEO
Why is social media important for SEO? Since social media indirectly influences the factors that impact search rankings, it is important because it has the potential to drive quality web traffic to your blog.
When you create and publish quality materials that connect with your target readers, they become advocates. Why? Because you offer them something of value. It means that your audience will read and share the articles with their friends and followers.
Their followers will do the same, and the circle continues. Keep in mind that content writing/creation is a fantastic way to attract more eyes to your site. Content can be in any format, as long as it engages your audience. Some types of content that drive traffic and social shares are:
- Blog posts
These materials offer your marketing persona useful information that makes them keep coming back and ultimately drive leads. That is content marketing — sharing valuable data that helps the reader. But you will make no significant impact if you don’t distribute them properly.
That is where social media comes into the picture. So when you share your posts, your audience amplifies your content by sharing it further. In this way, you increase visibility, improve traffic, and generate backlinks.
These are social signals that notify Google that your site content is incredible. Those signals could indirectly improve your search rankings.
Here are some SEO social media marketing pointers to consider, on how social affects SEO:
- Post useful materials on social media.
- Useful materials will help you gain traction, increase your content reach, and generate backlinks.
- Better info helps social media profiles rank in search results and gain traction (grow your followers and drive traffic).
- Quality helps build your brand community.
- You also enhance brand reputation.
- Links from social can help Google with indexation your blog/posts.
- Indexation can lead to more search traffic and improved rankings.
So, you need to start sharing content that engages your audience because it helps boost social shares. Also, make it effortless for people to share your posts to strengthen those signals.
Is Social Media a Google Ranking Factor?
I talked about it briefly in the above sections, let us look at it a little more. Social media is NOT an element of SEO ranking. The debate about the influence of social media on search ranking is long-standing.
However, as stated earlier, while many rightly conclude that social media does not directly affect SEO, it correlates with the elements that influence SEO rankings. Let us consider the correlation between SEO and social media marketing.
How Does Social Media Connect with SEO? An Example
Although social media is not a ranking factor, it has a link to search engine optimization. In the above section, I explained how social media and SEO correlate, through social signals.
Those signals strengthen the factors Google considers when ranking a website. You can accumulate those signals in mass sharing on different social media sites. The more you share useful content across social media, the more your audience will likely share the posts with their friends and followers.
So, as the sharing continues, several people could link back to the posts. Collectively, the shared materials could increase your blog content visibility and SEO ranking. Google values quality links and deems them a part of the ranking factors.
Viral Article Impact on Rankings
Matt Woodward published an article that went viral on social media. Here is the result of the post as it skyrocketed on Facebook:
- Users shared the content over 31,500 times.
- It generated more than 68,000 likes, and
- Over 34,280 comments.
As a result, the article went up in rankings to #1 on page one of Google for several keywords. And, the post claimed first place mainly for the keyword terms, “Unhealthiest foods.” All thanks to the thousands of shares it gathered on social media.
The virality of the post also attracted more backlinks. Thus, the thousands of shares, likes, backlinks, and comments are valuable social signals that influence your SEO search rankings. Google uses those signals in favor of your site and can push it up in rankings.
Have a look at Matt’s findings or take away from their analysis of the content:
He noted that social media dramatically impacts SEO. In other words, social media and SEO have a meaningful connection. But you have to create and post quality content frequently.
What Are the Best Social Media Websites for SEO?
There are several social media sites for SEO. These websites are ideal for SEO and social media marketing because they appear in searches and rank high on SERPs. For most consumers, if they want to connect or buy from a brand, they will first visit the company’s social media profiles, not their websites.
Why is that so? Because social media provides a more personal experience, and the response time is often quicker. Also, social media is more effective when connecting with your buyer persona. Consequently, consumers use different social platforms to obtain marketing insights about a company or organization for business purposes and other vital matters.
Moreover, most users perform searches on social sites where they are hanging out. And you get real-time results. As an example, I entered a search for “freelance writing” on Twitter, and here is my result in the screenshot below.
And if you scroll down the results page a little, you will find more exciting outcomes. I also conducted the same search on Medium and LinkedIn, and I got similar results. Please have a look at the visual image below to see my Medium search results.
LinkedIn will also show you companies that are hiring and top articles on a topic.
So why did I get these fantastic results on social media platforms?
Because social sites have robust search engine functionalities that enable them to function as search engines.
The results reveal outstanding consistency across social platforms. It shows that users optimized their posts and social profiles with the keywords I was looking for in searches. If you are not using social media for SEO, it is never too late. You can start now!
That said, what are the top social media websites for SEO? Below are my top social sites for search engine optimization.
The primary reason marketers use social media is to generate leads. Although the leads might not be high enough, LinkedIn is doing incredibly well as the top social site for lead generation. It is no wonder LinkedIn is the content marketing hub of 94% of B2B marketers. And almost 90% of marketers are using the platform for lead generation.
The professional network is the top lead generation social media platform for B2B marketers. According to research, 62% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
So, using LinkedIn for SEO is ideal because the site will help you get found on search results. By placing the right keywords naturally in your profile, and strategically adding relevant search terms within your content, including the headings, the LinkedIn search algorithm could push you up to rank at the top of SERPs.
Why should you publish content on Medium?
You should consider this option if there is not enough of your target audience, visiting your blog to consume content. You could find them on Medium and other social sites. The platform allows users to publish all kinds of blog content, including:
- Personal stories
- Republished articles
- Original pieces of content
- Repurposing content
Medium helps you reach a broader audience you may not have met if you were only relying on your blog or website for exposure. Several Medium articles are taking the top spot on Google SERPs even for competitive keywords with high search volume.
That is primarily because of the authority the site commands. So if you cannot rank your pages, take advantage of Medium’s audience of almost 154M unique visitors a month, and an average of 258M visits per month – that is, according to SEMrush Traffic Analytics.
SEMrush tools also show that 58% of Medium’s traffic comes from organic search, while just over 26% is direct traffic, so you can see that these pages are ranking in the SERPs.
Facebook is, by far, the top social media platform in the world. According to SEMrush, the site ranks #3 globally behind Google and YouTube, and over the last 6 months, they have had over 20 billion visits per month, with May being very high at almost 26B.
Facebook made it simple for users to share content and post different materials. You can distribute links to your blog content, or share your post in its entirety for optimal traction. And the best part, reports say Google crawls and indexes links on Facebook.
Back in 2007, Facebook allowed Google and other search engines to crawl some of its pages. The social media giant has since unlocked more content for indexing, including Facebook comments.
It means that Google bots and other search engine crawlers can read content on its pages. As a result, when users perform searches, those pages on Facebook will appear on SERPs, and you will even see Facebook reviews in Google knowledge boxes.
So, take advantage of this social media site for SEO to drive more web traffic and improve SEO.
Like Facebook, Twitter is also a fantastic social media website for SEO. Earlier I mentioned that more social signals positively impact Google rankings. The more your content gets shared on Twitter and other social media sites, the more it could help your website ranking on SERPs.
Twitter lets you share your posts to reach more people. To increase traction for your Twitter posts, ensure that you only share quality content that engages users. Also, add relevant hashtags to boost visibility.
Hashtags help people find your tweets quickly, which in turn builds your brand recognition and increases traffic. So if you are not using Twitter for SEO and content distribution, you are leaving money on the table.
Tweet your links frequently (but not in a repetitive and spammy way) to attract users and drive traffic to your blog. The likes, shares, and comments you receive are powerful social signals — useful elements that Google uses to rank your website.
Pinterest for SEO is ideal, and several marketers depend solely on Pinterest search traffic to grow their business. Although a social media platform, Pinterest also doubles up as a search engine website.
You must craft compelling Pin descriptions with the right keyword terms to improve your Pinterest SEO effort. According to this survey:
- Users conduct over 2-billion searches per month on the site.
- Of all the searches, 97% are unbranded, meaning that Pinterest users are willing to interact with companies they have not taken into account.
- Each month, 600 million visual searches occur on the site.
- 73% of users visit Pinterest because it is entertaining and helpful.
- 70% of consumers use the platform for inspiration on how to make purchasing decisions, in contrast to 17% of Facebook users.
The numbers speak volumes and show why you should consider SEO on Pinterest for your social media marketing strategy. Moreover, the Pinterest search feature is one of the widely used functions on the site. So, optimizing your profile and Pins will help you dive consistent traffic to your website.
Quora, as a social media website, is a hidden treasure for SEO. Why? Because people are always asking valuable questions on topics of interest. These queries have keywords your audience is searching on Google.
In other words, Quora users are consistently speaking languages that align with user search intent. You ask questions on a given topic and get the answers you need in real-time. When answering questions, users can direct participants to their blog or website by adding relevant links to the responses they provide.
Also, you can create content on Quora and drive quality traffic back to your site. The interactions on the website also appear on searches for specific keywords. So, with Quora, you can find helpful information on any subject, including:
- Business advice
- Counsel relating to day-to-day living
- Useful data about content creation
- Blog post ideas/content brainstorming
- Learn about new subjects
For example, data from SEMrush Domain Overview reveals some incredible findings.
From the results, you can tell that Quora’s organic search traffic is almost 67 million, with a 27.6 million keyword rankings in Google over the past year.
And when you look closely at the keywords by country section, you realize that the 27.6 million search terms are from the US alone, with millions more globally. So, while using social media for SEO, does it make sense to take advantage of a site with millions of monthly web traffic and a massive monthly active user base? Of course, yes!
Other social media sites for SEO include:
Using these social websites for SEO will significantly increase your search rankings. But you have to make sure to optimize your profiles and content according to each platform’s guidelines.