If you have multiple social media accounts for your brand you probably have thought about maximising your social online presence to boost your SEO strategy. In a previous article we talked about the impact social media has on your SEO. Although this impact is significant the question we’ll look at in this blog is more direct and practical.

How to improve your SEO using social media?

In other words how can you first improve your social media to then improve your SEO, how can your brand optimise social media in the best way to grow on SERPs and in organic traffic.

You may have noticed our other article on Smarter Digital Marketing where we touch upon the overall impact social media has on SEO. But how can we practically use social media to boost our brand website’s rankings in search results? Is it even possible?

SEO and Social Media – How To Improve Your SEO Using Social Media

In the aftermath of a global pandemic, SEO in 2022 has arguably never become more important. Likewise with more companies focusing on an increased online presence the online market has become increasingly competitive and standards are raised. This can also be said about content optimisation which has reached a new level of necessity. Customers expect a brand to communicate and connect with their customer online. One of the main ways to connect is social media:

Consumers ranking social media communication graphic

Via SproutSocial

 

The exact relationship between SEO and social media has been subject to ongoing debate. These are often looked at as two different concepts and just as often overlooked in SEO strategy. While they are different, in many ways they are also interconnected.

SEO refers to Search Engine Optimisation, a fundamental part of marketing denoting to a process aiming to improve your website, products, and services visibility in search engine search results.

Using social media for your SEO strategy refers to activities done on your social pages like Instagram or Facebook which aim to drive traffic to your website, products, and services. Many social media platforms can be useful tools for driving growth to your website and search engine results.

Ways to Use Social Media 

There are several social media approaches we marked in this article which aim to improve your brand’s presence online while growing in relevancy within search results. The results may not be immediate but may prove effective in promoting organic brand exposure and traffic from sources which would otherwise be dismissed. A few aspects we will touch upon in this article are: 

  • Social Signals
  • Social Media Optimisation 
  • Account optimisation
  • Content Optimisation

Social Media for Graphic Designers graphic

Social Signals Affect on SEO 

Social networks can have a significant impact on promoting your brand’s website. One of the main ways social media has an influence on site’s search engine ranking is through social signals. 

But what are social signals? 

They are known simple as human interaction metrics on various social media. This can be likes, shares, links, pins, views, etc. They are commonly known as all activities involved through the actions of users. The top search engines are proven to look at these factors, taking them into account when assessing websites and their rank on search results. 

A popular stance held by SEO experts is that social signals provide brand awareness within the social media platforms but search engine algorithms do not see them as ranking signals. Although not directly affecting SEO, social signals and social media as a whole do affect SEO indirectly as well as influencing customer reach, discovering services, and assisting in the consumer buyer journey. To find out more check out our previous blog on social media’s impact on SEO.

How Social Signals Improve Search Engine Rankings graphic

Why Social Signals Are Important

As a marketer you may be wondering, if social signals do not affect SEO directly “why should a focus on social signals be part of the SEO strategy?” 

When brands neglect a focus on social media and social signals as part of their strategy they can be missing out on a myriad of benefits very relevant to what they are trying to achieve with SEO. For instance social signals have a range of various advantages which can be used for marketing your brand and SEO strategy. 

You may know that Google’s search algorithm dismisses social signals as a ranking factor but many brand’s are unaware that Bing actually see’s social signals as a significant influence on how well a brand does on search results. With over 1 billion visits a month they are likely to reach your target audience.

The top ranking sites in Google follow a similar pattern – they all have strong social signals. They do not neglect growth and promotion through social network communication and engagement.

It is worth noting that some of the most popular search engines are also social networks such as Youtube – the second most popular search engine or Facebook – fourth most popular search engine.  Although Google says social media posts are not indexed in their search engine social media profile pages do show up among the top results for customers searching the brand. This implies that if a brand has a relevant presence on social media it gains exposure from search engines as well as social media searches. Social media relevance can even lead to free promotion, if your brand is trending on social media it will become recommended to consumers, further exposing your brand in new channels.

social media searches graphic gif

If companies aim to increase their search ranking position in a turbulent 2022 SEO environment they would benefit from the implementation of a search engine strategy while at the same time carrying out standard SEO tactics. 

On the onset of the global pandemic in 2020 and following into 2022 saw customers increasing their social media use and sharing activities. Social signals may further grow in importance becoming as significant for SEO as time on page, content quality, and editorial linking. 

global pandemic digital activities graphic

Via HootSuite

How To Increase Social Signals

Here are a few key tactics to increase your social signals:

  • Keep your Content Relevant to Your Niche, not just trends
  • Post Concise, Valuable Content, as people skim, consuming content fast
  • Be Social on Social Media, sharing, retweeting, and commenting provides useful content to your audience and exposure to new audiences
  • Humanise Your Brand, Your brand will feel more relatable if your communication is less corporate and more like your followers. People share relatable content.
  • Use Social Plugins in Content, making it simple for your audience to share your content. This is helpful with increasing visibility showing search engines you’re posting high quality and relevant content. This also creates backlinks to your site.
  • Optimise Your Social Media, users do search brands and click on links so it’s vital the links are correct and relevant

Here are some practical ways to achieve them:

  • Post and Engage Daily (Posting daily can grow your following up to 4x faster)
  • Post More Images and Videos (videos achieve 48% more views)
  • Monitor (Use tools like “Social Monitor” to track analytics and find out what’s working)
  • Post Giveaway and Competition Campaigns (Contests get much more engagement, averaging 4x more likes)
  • Post on All Platforms (Make it easy by using simultaneous posting tools)

Optimise Social Media First

To improve your SEO using social networks a brand should first improve their social media profiles before anything else. SMO or Social Media Optimisation is more than just posting content or even engagement. A SMO focus invites companies to analyse and audit while making constant adjustments to follow the best practices of social media. 

clocks and cogs graphic

Before social media can be implemented as an SEO tactic to its full potential it must be optimised so companies can get the most out of their social media channel and customers can receive the best service online. However, SMO (Social Media Optimisation) can often require constant adjustment and repeated testing to see if you’re getting the best result. This is similar to the concepts and tactic of SEO or CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) which may not deliver perfect results instantly.

What is SMO?

Social Media Optimisation or simply “SMO” is known as the process of making your social media presence better for your audience. This can be a focus on improving posts and content or the entire social media strategy. 

This hopes to increase engagement and exposure for your brand, more conversions, or additional traffic to your brand pages online.

The techniques or approach to achieve this can vary for different brands but can include things such as:

Short term operational level improvements 

  • Improvements to social media posts or content optimisation
  • Link and keyword optimisation
  • Account optimisation
  • Content formats

Long term content marketing strategies

  • Redefining your brand’s voice on social media channels
  • Creating content plans, campaigns, calendars, and schedules
  • Content distribution strategies

So why should you invest your time and finances in SMO? Why put in the effort instead of focusing on traditional SEO strategies? 

Graphic Design for Social Media graphic

Benefits of Social Media Optimisation

Social media strategies can seem easy when looking at certain brands however even big name brands do not ignore the basic principles of SMO.

There are a few main benefits of optimising your social media:

  1. Development of a process for distributing consistent quality content.
  2. An increase in content visibility and traffic 
  3. Higher clicks, comments, and engagement 
  4. Streamlining buyer journey process
  5. Assessment and analysis of your ROI

Even digital marketers with a focus on traditional SEO have been increasingly held accountable for a brand performing it’s best on social media. Through optimisation of your social media there is a significant increase in the odds of you achieving your KPI’s all the while making the work easier by streamlining the process of engagement and content distribution.

Can SMO Drive Traffic To Your Website?

When looking at Google search result pages social media does not have a direct result on positioning your website higher. This does not mean social media can’t provide the exposure necessary to increase traffic to your site. Far from it. Utilising social media to it’s full potential can totally drive more traffic to your website. However, it’s not as simple as posting once a month to Instagram, for your customers to have a compelling reason to click on your site repeatedly you need to provide them with quality content and quality engagement. Social media is driven by relevancy and the algorithm thrives on consistency eventually leading to organic traffic. Putting in these changes with an effort is what separates well optimised social media pages from neglected channels.

tips and tricks of Social Media Optimization graphic

 

Methods of Social Media Optimisation 

Account Optimisation

When beginning an SMO strategy a simple first step is to look at your social accounts. Your customers will easily recognise you if your account is aligned with your brand, company culture, and your business objectives. 

Start with a general audit of your social media accounts. This will allow you to better understand if your branding and marketing messaging aligns with what customers perceive in your socials. 

Things that need to be optimised in your account:

  1. Branding: Does your customer recognise and remember your brand? Consider your branding and if it aligns with the online presence of your brand. Customer trust is built on brand consistency, if your logos, graphics, fonts, slogans, and hashtags are predictable and your message reliable this will resonate with your audience and build trust. When a brand is trusted it builds an audience growing your brand online. 
  2. Think about optimising your calls to action, with high ranking keywords and links leading to your website in your bio
  3. Brand communication goes beyond the font your audience sees. Your brand language and messaging should be consistent as well with your promotions running predictably throughout your social media profiles

Innocent Smoothies keep their branding iconic and consistent. Their website design provides an expression of their brand and marketing messaging at a glance – whether you are a new or returning visitor the account is clearly optimised so you are never lost.

innocent smoothie homepage

Much like their site, the social media pages are also optimised. Their Innocent social media pages reflect the branding of their website from the logos to the language choice providing a unique user experience

innocent smoothies twitter

Social Media Search Optimisation

It may appear counterintuitive to focus away from ranking in Google to ranking in social media results. But results speak for themselves. To appear higher in searches is one the first things brands seek on social media and for good reason. There are millions of searches happening throughout social media platforms every day with channels like Youtube and Facebook dominating search engine statistics with Instagram and Twitter not far behind. 

Although we can’t promise you’ll appear in the top rankings immediately there are a few ways to optimise your profile which can give you an edge. One of the main aspects to focus on is the keywords you use, whether in your posts or your profile. Social channels like Instagram have been clamping down on spammy pages making relevant keywords that much more important. This includes relevant hashtags. 

Completing your profile also allows you to gain trust on a platform so be sure to fill out the “About” sections as much as you can. Making sure your details such as usernames or contact info are consistent throughout your profiles will benefit not only social media search engines but also Google.

Short term SMO: Content Optimisation

Optimisation involves making your content optimal. This involves adding quality media, relevant keywords, relevant links, titles and metas. It is a process of ensuring your content is posted in ways to reach the widest target audience. This does not have to be a large campaign as content optimisation can begin with a single post. Later you can check out how it did through analytics and further refine your content strategy. Certain posts like influencer campaigns will require more attention than daily posts.

Long term SMO: Content Strategy Optimisation

For many business niches the social media market can seem saturated making it difficult to know what to post. This is where a content strategy can be useful. By strategizing what you post and optimising your content you can start generating ideas and begin publishing more frequently. Since the social media algorithm often rewards frequent activity your organic growth should begin climbing steadily.

Be sure to figure out what type of posts you want to schedule, whether just text or videos. Remember to tinker with the timing of your posts, adjusting when to scale back or ramp things up by using analytical tools. Here is an example of social media content scheduling tools from Sprout Social:

Sprout Social Scheduling app graphic

via Sprout Social

How Social Media Demotes Accounts

So we know the “white hat” tactics, how social media algorithm favours accounts with consistent and frequent activity in terms of daily engagement, and posting content. However, there are some things to avoid. In the 2022 social media landscape platforms like Facebook have taken action to mitigate spammy accounts and their posts. Aiming to rush the process of growth by posting low quality content, misleading links, engagement bait, or buying followers are multiple ways to get killed on the ranks or even blacklisted. These are known as black hat SEO tactics – to be avoided at all costs. Here are some examples:

  • Purchasing followers
  • Cross posting all content
  • Purchasing bots to automate engagement, followers, links, or likes
  • Spamming social networks with low quality content
  • Sharing black hat content (about keyword stuffing, hiding text or link buying)

White Hat vs Black Hat SEO strategy graphic

Conclusion

Although optimising your social media and improving social signals is not a guaranteed way of influencing your SEO directly it can be effective in providing brand exposure, traffic, and a higher reach depending on the resources you invest. With social media in 2022 you really get out what you put in.

No digital marketing strategy is complete without tools. There are multiple ways to see if your social activities are effective. One of them is using Social media analytics tools which can help track traffic and conversions gained from these platforms. SMO does not have to take all the time out of your day either. In fact, your social media strategy can be streamlined through scheduling and auto posting leaving you time to interact and engage with your audience which is what optimisation is all about. With automated posting tools you can share your content to multiple sites, post when you wish, and schedule ahead of time. Automation tools can be a time saver when applying social media marketing strategies.