Using social media is an important consideration for many small business. Whether or not you’re keen to make use of the various platforms available, or even just one, doing so can have a positive impact on your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Social media provides something called social signals. These are the engagement you get on any social platform and include likes, shares, views and comments. These social signals tell search engines such as Google and Bing that your content is interesting and relevant to users.
Are Social Media Signals a Ranking Factor?
A ranking factor is what search engines use to directly determine where your content ranks in the search results. They’re an important consideration and a big focus of any SEO work.
Each search engine has its own set of ranking factors, or metrics, and, while Google doesn’t use social signals for this, others such as Bing do. That means that, if you gain a lot of interest in your social media posts, you’re likely to rank better in Bing’s search results.
How Social Media Can Help With SEO
Even though social signals aren’t a direct ranking factor for the world’s biggest search engine, don’t dismiss having a strong social media strategy. Indirectly, social can have a huge impact on your SEO in various ways and add to your website’s search engine cred. Here’s how:
1. Build Your Audience
Social media sites allow you to reach out to an audience that may be interested in your product, but that hasn’t yet discovered it. Facebook groups, subreddits and hashtags are just some of the ways that you can connect with a target audience to share your content. Creating something that’s relevant, interesting and engaging can encourage others to share it, too, which broadens your reach even further.
On certain sites, such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, you can also have your own business page, where interested people can find and follow your content and engage with you directly. Grow your following and you will have an audience that’s already interested in your product and who are more likely to buy when the time is right.
2. Content Research
Questions on the SEO subreddit on Reddit with billions of people using social media across the world, there’s a lot of information for you to look through. You can research questions that people are asking and use those to create content to help your audience. Sites such as Reddit and Quora are a gold mine of user questions (and answers) that you can use to inspire and influence your own content.
3. Boost Traffic
(And this is a big one!) Not only can you build your audience on the platforms directly, you can encourage potential customers to click through to your site. The use of links in your bio and posts, as well as links shared by other users, all provide opportunities to bring traffic directly to your site. Traffic, and user engagement on your site, are both ranking factors that will directly affect your position on Google, which in turn can boost traffic further!
4. Social Signals
Social signals such as likes, comments and shares tell the social media platform that users like your content, and so your posts will get shared with more people. Not only does that give you more visibility, other users are more likely to click on a piece of content that their friends, colleagues and peers have shown an interest in.
5. Bigger Search Engine Presence
Social media listings on Google Search Social platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook can show up in search results. The better your presence on these platforms, the more likely that your brand will be seen in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). If your website, LinkedIn profile and Facebook page all show up for the same search phrase, you’ve tripled your chances of receiving a click-through compared to if only your website was visible.
6. Ranking Factors
Although social signals won’t directly help you rank on a search engine like Google, they will help your content gain more visibility on the platforms themselves. And more visibility means more opportunity for users to click through to your website. Website visits are a ranking factor in Google, so the better your posts perform on social, the more traffic you gain, the better the signals that are sent to Google.
The more your content is shared on social, the more likely it is to be picked up by others in your field. If you catch their eye, you could receive quality backlinks to your content – another search engine ranking factor.
7. Brand Exposure
The more your brand is seen, the better known it becomes. By showing up on social platforms as well as your own website, you are likely to be seen by more people in more places.
8. Build Trust and Reputation
Potential customers will often search out a company’s social platforms before their website, so make sure you have a presence in the places your audience is likely to be looking. On social sites, they can see whether you’re active (through regular posts), what others are saying about you (through reviews and user comments), and get a more personal feel for your brand.
Read on about the Top social media platforms to help with your SEO in my next post