Explaining SEO and social media’s relationship to stakeholders can be tricky because of how many different opinions exist on the topic – even among dedicated professionals. There do seem to be, however, a lot of benefits and nuances of using social media to enhance your SEO campaign ROI, although in most cases it won’t directly affect your rankings.
Today we’re digging deeper into social media’s role in SEO to see if we can provide answers once and for all.
Is Social Media a Ranking Factor?
Google admitted that social media signals aren’t a direct ranking factor for them. However, when you search for some brands on Google, you see that their social media accounts like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook rank higher on search results than their official company website.
You can also find recent social media posts on search engine result pages (SERPs), indicating that brands can drive significant traffic to their social media accounts directly from search.
Also, features like Facebook page reviews are shown in Google search results, which can help brands create trust and authority. So, even though social media doesn’t directly impact search rankings, there is no denying that having a strong social presence gets you more visibility.
Note: One thing to keep in mind is that Bing does use social signals as a ranking factor. So even though the majority of traffic comes from Google, by optimizing our social media presence we’re also helping our website to rank higher on Bing’s search results.
What’s the Role of Social Media in SEO?
Even though you cannot get direct search engine ranking benefits from social media, there are many ways your social presence helps your website’s SEO efforts:
- Social media drives referral traffic to your site.
Although getting traffic from your socials doesn’t have the same consistency as organic SEO traffic, social media can help you send targeted visitors interested in reading your content or buying your products / solutions to your website.
- It increases the time your user spends on your page (Dwell time).
Generally, site visitors who are referred from social media tend to spend more time on your website, which is a very valuable engagement metric. In addition, it signals to search engines that your site is providing valuable content that the users want to engage with.
- Social media creates opportunities for backlinks.
When posting on social media, you never know who will interact with your content. Even authoritative website owners can find your pages through social media posts and decide to give you a backlink if it provides value for their readers.
- It might help you get new pages indexed faster.
By promoting your new articles and pages through social media, you’re creating new ways for Google to find and index your content. Social shares can also help Google find these pages and, if traffic is coming to them, it’s a clear indication for search engines that your pages are worth adding to their SERPs.
- Social media provides you with more psychographic metrics about your audience.
Since people provide more information about themselves on social media, you can really gain an understanding of the beliefs, fear, and pain points of your target audience. These social media metrics help you create useful, engaging website content that caters to your visitors.
The 5 Best Social Media Platforms for SEO
To help you choose the right platform to support your SEO campaign, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best social media platforms that can help you scale your SEO efforts:
Pinterest works more or less like a search engine, even though it is a social media platform. Over 1 billion active searches are generated on Pinterest per month, making it an ideal platform for bloggers, online marketers, and eCommerce stores.
Unlike other social apps, Pinterest doesn’t limit the outreach of a post with only one outbound link (like in the case of Instagram and TikTok with the unique link in the profile).
To rank on Pinterest search results, you need to make creative pins and optimize them with the right keywords. Don’t forget to create an outbound link to your website on every pin you create. Video pins are getting more viral on Pinterest now, which is something you can leverage.
It must have happened to you at least once that you typed a question in Google, and the first result Google showed you was from Quora.
Quora is a social media platform where people ask questions and get the answers in real-time, making it a fantastic platform for you to build authority by providing helpful answers.
You can generate traffic directly from Google and from the platform itself. Over 500 million people visit Quora every month according to Similar Web.
To make the most out of Quora, you need to provide insightful, genuinely helpful answers. You can also add links to your website if it is relevant to the question and complements your answer.
Note: If you are new to Quora, it is better not to provide outbound links for the first few weeks.
Although LinkedIn was designed as a professional network platform, it has become the number one choice for B2B marketers to generate leads.
If your target audience is top professionals, like CEOs, CMOs, and decision-makers, LinkedIn is the best platform on which to promote your content and create a presence.
Compared to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it is easier to get visibility on LinkedIn if you have a solid content strategy.
Something to notice is that even though LinkedIn allows you to create a company page, most users prefer to follow and interact with other professionals. In other words, the best way to share and create conversations around your brand and content is to use your CEO’s profile.
Facebook has over 10 Billion monthly visits and is ranked as the 3rd most-visited website globally. It is very easy to share web content like blog posts, eCommerce products, and web pages on Facebook.
The great thing about these numbers – besides the big pool of users you can reach – is that Google continuously crawls and indexes Facebook pages as it does other pages. So your company and product pages can rank on SERPs, and it can help Google to find new content faster.
However, the best Facebook feature is its paid ads campaign. By investing some budget to promote your web content, you can reach out to new readers quickly and run CTR experiments for content optimization.
Twitter drives over 6 billion monthly visits, ranking 7th most-visited website globally. Similar to Facebook, posting on Twitter can help you gain more SERP real estate thanks to Twitter carousels now being shown on result pages.
Twitter also allows you to share links in your tweets, so make sure to add a backlink to your content when promoting it on the social network. It won’t pass any link authority but it will provide relevant referral traffic to your site.
A good rule of thumb is to invest 40% of your time on Twitter talking about your industry, providing practical, useful tips, and retweeting content from relevant brands; the second 40% should be interacting with other brands and users; the last 20% should be invested in promoting your own content.
5 Strategies to Bring SEO and Social Media Together
Hopefully by now you have a clear understanding of how social media can impact your website’s traffic and how it may fit into your overall SEO strategy.
To help you accomplish your goals, we want to share some best practices you can implement to successfully integrate SEO and social media:
1. Make Promotion a Key Part of Your Content Strategy
Promoting your content on social media has a lot of benefits, but as long as it is disjointed from the content development process, you’ll be crippling your reach.
Instead, bring SEO and social media teams together to plan SEO-relevant content and how to best promote it in social format.
Some articles like listicles or step-by-step guides can be easy to break down into LinkedIn posts, Twitter threads, etc. If you keep the teams close, you’ll have a more cohesive marketing strategy.
2. Create a Site & Social Content Calendar
Creating a content calendar for both website and social content will provide you with foresight on what needs to be done and when. This will also allow your team to work together and better coordinate efforts.
And, because social media is an almost real-time medium, you can create seasonal content on the platform to drive traffic to old pages that become relevant at specific times of the year.
3. Make Your Web Content Easily Shareable
Optimizing on-page SEO and other technical SEO factors only makes your blog ready for landing on search results. If you want to take advantage of the power of social media, you need to make your blog posts easily shareable, too.
You want to leverage your loyal readers who love your articles and want to share them with their friends and family on social media by adding social share buttons for each popular platform. It is also a good idea to craft a compelling call-to-action to encourage users to share your content.
4. Repurpose Content Effectively
Creating great content is no easy feat. It takes time and creativity to generate and implement a great piece of content. To leverage it effectively, a good idea is to take the best-performing content of one platform and optimize it to be used on a different one.
For example, if a post on LinkedIn generates a lot of comments, likes, and shares, it is a great indicator that your audience wants to learn or know more about the subject and that it might be worth writing a long-form piece for your blog.
Vice versa, high-performing articles and pages can be repurposed into social posts to bring new eyes to the pages and keep the conversation going.
5. Use Social Media To Find Keywords
Keeping an eye on the latest trends on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can help you identify fresh keywords that can earn you huge traffic wins without having to compete with other websites. Social media can be the best place to find those low-hanging fruits.
Another source of great keywords is recurring questions your audience sends you through social media. If enough people are asking the same things over and over, it can be an indicator of a content gap you need to fill.
Sure, social media doesn’t directly affect your organic rankings, but it definitely has a place in the SEO playbook. After all, content marketing fuels both strategies, so it is only natural that both channels complement each other.
In the end, it’s not just about improving your rankings but also improving the quality of traffic you drive to your site, and platforms like Quora, Twitter and LinkedIn can help you find and attract your ideal audience.