What you need to know about Social media and SEO
Search engine optimisation and social media marketing are often seen as two very distinct parts of a digital marketing strategy. The truth is, that both of them work better together than they do separately. Good SEO can provide information that can be used by social media to find clients that may have dropped out of an SEO sales funnel, and good social media can help to boost the effect of SEO strategies like the use of backlinks in blogs.
You may employ SEO and have not yet broken into using social media, or you may have both a social media and SEO presence, but have not yet optimised your strategy to get the best out of both. This guide will go through 5 things you need to know about SEO and social media marketing, and how you can optimise your digital marketing process, right now.
Social media can retarget SEO traffic
The most immediate benefit from using SEO with social media is by the use of an HTML Pixel and retargeting customers who have already clicked through to your website. All social media platforms have a Pixel that you can use to track people who visit a page on your website.
If you are B2B focused, you may want to use LinkedIn, and if you have a strong following on Twitter, you may want to use their pixel. With their audience network and 2 billion + active users, most people use Facebook. For this example, we will talk through a Facebook process, but the principles can be used for any other type of social media platform – the only difference is that the content needs to be appropriate and appear native on the platform.
If you have a Facebook Pixel set up on your landing page, then everyone who visits your page can be tracked. That information can then be put into Facebook’s ad manager as a custom audience. As the Pixel tracks people who visit your landing page, it also means that it tracks people who come via PPC links as well as those who find the site organically.
That means you can put content in front of people in Facebook who have already interacted with your page. Due to the nature of the audience network, the information from the Pixel can track people across devices and also across various platforms.
Facebook ads can appear on desktop and mobile Facebook feeds; on subsidiary company Instagram; in banner ads and interstitials on third party websites and even in apps. People who would have been lost after their initial visit can be picked up again. Pixels can be set up on different pages, and different messages automated to be sent out.
A special offer can be offered to someone who visited the checkout page but abandoned their basket – while a piece of entertainment brand content can be sent out to someone who just clicked through to the initial landing page. You can find people where there attention already is and send out content appropriate to their place on the sales funnel.
More than that, you can use the custom audience taken from people who have already interacted with your website and create lookalike audiences – people who are demographically similar to your existing customers, who will be more likely to respond to your business.
Social signals affect SEO
Google keeps the exact nature of its algorithm which determines SERPs a closely guarded secret – but the sites which rank highest also have a strong social media following. There are several reasons for this. One is the fact that Google tracks social signals. On Facebook these are things like comments, likes and shares, on Twitter they are retweets and follows, on Google+ they are +1s etc. – but they all count towards your page ranking.
It’s known that each individual social signal is tracked by the Google algorithm, although it’s not known exactly what the weighting is. It is clear that it does have an effect, because a strong social media presence makes the website more valuable in the eyes of the customer, something which Google wants to promote.
One of the best examples is the SEO professional‘s practice of using blogs as a way of generating backlinks. If the content is good, then those blogs can be promoted on social media. The more those blogs are read and shared, the more valuable that link is deemed by Google, and the better the effect that backlink has on your ranking.
In fact, a feedback loop can be created. The better the social media marketing, the better the search ranking on Google. The better the search ranking on Google, the more people will find your website, know about your company and follow you on social media.
Google can tell the quality of your followers
One of the most important things to know about social media is that Google can tell the quality of your social media following. Much as people in the early days of SEO would create pages with nothing on them but keywords to improve their SERPs, when social media became an important SEO factor, people started using bots to artificially inflate the number of people following their company on social media.
Just as Google quickly worked out when their customers were being spammed with keywords, they can now tell when social media is being spammed by fake accounts. As such, they don’t rank based on the vanity metrics of how many followers you have, but with the level of interaction they have with your site. If you take the time to forge genuine relationships with your social media audience, Google gives you credit for that.
Social media skills boost SEO
If you use social media marketing effectively, then you need to have a clear idea of what your brand is and who your audience is. You also need to be able to attract their interest and make your points clearly and with purpose, without being too sales heavy on your first interaction. You also need to make your points in a limited number of space so that people read your message rather than skipping past big blocks of text.
These skills can be applied to various elements of SEO – from learning what your audience engages with for the creation of blogs, to creating great first line descriptions or meta-tags that will attract your ideal audience’s attention when they do see your page description in a search result.
Social media helps prepare for the Mobile First Index
More people search on mobile than search on desktops. As such, Google is set to roll out their mobile first index in 2018. This will change how pages are ranked because of the different ways people search on mobile. One of the main changes will be the importance of long form conversational tags over keywords to better match with voice search. Google says that more than 20% of mobile search is done on voice, with some people predicting that number could rise to 50% by 2020.
The conversational nature of social media, and the fact that social media is linked to your page ranking means that an effective social media presence will only make your website more relevant when the mobile first index comes into play. As social media is the #1 activity on smartphones, a strong social media presence will carry even more weight.
Why you need your social and SEO to work together
People value brands that they have genuine social interactions with over social media. Google wants to put companies first in their search results that will solve people’s problems and engage with them. Social media is a great way to engage with people, and so it is being more highly valued as time goes on.
That’s not to say that social media is more important than SEO, but it is becoming an increasingly important part of SEO. There may come a time where a comment on Facebook has as much weight as a backlink on a blog. There’s more of a chance that a social media recommendation will carry more weight with an audience member than an article would.
Right now, social media offers a great opportunity to boost SEO and get ahead of the competition. In the future, it will be a necessary component, and those with strong links between social media and SEO will thrive, and other companies will be left behind.
Zachary Jarvis is a Digital Marketer with one thing on his mind: Results.
Uninspired by the never ending talk of ‘vanity metrics’ in the world of digital marketing, Magnate was founded – the ‘Social-First’ marketing agency.
On the very rare occasion he isn’t watching Step Brothers in his spare time – you’ll find Zachary in the thick of social platforms, learning what makes us tick.
This is driven by a fascination (perhaps a slight obsession…) with market trends and consumer behaviours