As we all know, social media marketing is all about interacting with your potential customers. By building customer relationships, fostering an engaged following and developing brand loyalty, you’re creating fertile ground for more sales in the future…

But it might be news to you that social media can be a very useful tool for your search optimisation, too. Here are five tips for boosting your SEO with the power of social networking.

Gain authentic likes

Since Google’s search engine was built on interpreting links to a site as a signal of authority, it seems only logical that they would interpret social signals (such as likes) in the same way. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Google’s stance on social media isn’t particularly easy to decipher. If we take it straight from the horse’s mouth, they don’t pay any attention to so-called ‘vanity metrics’ (although as you might expect, signals from Google+ are given more weight).

However, some SEO experts believe that Google does take likes, shares and other social signals as a sign of authority. This time last year, Search Engine Watch reported that the correlation between social signals and search rankings in their own data had increased.

So what’s going on here? Perhaps Google is wary of endorsing social signals as ranking factors at this current stage in time, to prevent the kind of mass exploitation they saw with low-quality backlinks and link schemes.

Alternatively, perhaps the correlation between likes and search rankings that marketers have reported is actually due to the increase in click-throughs and backlinks that comes with a successful social media presence. (We’ll talk more about the linkbuilding power of social media shortly.)

In any case, even if Google’s algorithm doesn’t take these metrics into account right now, you can definitely expect them to do so in the near future. Again, like backlinks, you can’t try to cheat your way to the top – you’ll be caught eventually, and you won’t get any engagement from fake accounts anyway. Focus on earning real approval from real users instead.

Take up more SERPs

In order to give its users a variety of results from different sources, Google typically prefers to provide only one or two pages from the same domain per set of results. However, you can take up more positions if you get your social media accounts ranking along with your website.

The advantages of achieving this feat are twofold. First of all, your brand will take up more visual space on the results page and is more likely to catch the eye of the user. Secondly, your larger presence on the page implies to the user that your brand is worth checking out – after all, Google think highly enough of you to give you multiple positions in the same set of results.

Even better, Google will sometimes include your most recent tweets in its results – not only making more of a visual splash but also giving users an introductory insight into the kind of firm you are.

To improve the chances of your social accounts ranking along with your site, make sure your brand name is used consistently across all accounts. If you’re setting up a new business, Your brand name should not only work well as a social handle, but crucially, should be available as a handle across multiple platforms.

Optimise your profile

How frustrating is it when you come across a company on social media and you want to find out more about them, but their profile description is only half-completed – or worse, blank?

Filling in profile page forms – and remembering to keep them updated regularly – can feel like a chore, but it’s invaluable for telling search engines who you are. (Of course, it’s also very important for introducing yourself to social media users, especially those you’ve chosen to follow. They won’t follow you back if they don’t know who you are or what you do.)

Provide a few paragraphs of well-written descriptive copy in your bio, which explains the purpose of your business. It’s easy to end up focusing too much on yourself at this stage – instead, imagine you’re the customer reading the bio. What are you providing for them? If they choose to purchase from you and/or use your services, what will they get out of it?

Be sure to provide info on your business location, as this will come in handy for your local SEO (more on that later). If you’re on Facebook and you have more than one store location, you can set up a separate page for each store and link them all to a single ‘parent’ page. LinkedIn has a similar option, allowing you to use its Showcase Pages feature to create subsections for each business location.

Build links

As we discussed earlier, Google supposedly doesn’t take social metrics into account as ranking factors. However, they have confirmed that they process links posted on social media much as they would for any website – and since popular platforms are seen as authorative sources, most links posted on social media will be judged by Google as high-authority, high-quality links.

To get the most out of social linkbuidling, go after the platforms which allow dofollow links. Most networks automatically set links to nofollow, which either lessens their impact as a ranking signal or eliminates it completely (depending on who you ask).

Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest and YouTube all offer dofollow linking in some capacity. You’ll often find that links placed in your profile description/bio section are dofollow, while any links shared in posts are set to nofollow.

Nofollow links still have value. Don’t forget, if you’re linking to content on your own site through your social media, you’ll still be driving traffic to your site. What’s more, if your content is high-quality and highly shareable, users will want to link to it – so a single nofollow link can actually result in many natural dofollow links.

Social media also provides a means to reach out to authorative figures and influencers in your industry and share your content with them. If they decide to share a dofollow link to your content with their own audience, your SEO will get a huge boost.

Target a local audience

Local results have become a big deal for Google in recent years. With the arrival of the Hummingbird update and semantic voice search, being able to get highly-relevant local results fast (especially when you’re out and about) is a huge boon for users.

To boost your own local SEO rankings, use your social media to target a local audience. Post about events and news from your area, and interact with groups which are home to users in your local community.

Make sure you have a Google My Business listing set up, as this will certainly help you rank in local results. To make sure your business is legitimate and they have all the right info, Google will look for other examples of your address across the web. This is another example of where having a fully-completed profile section (including your location) comes in handy. Ensure your address details match across all your social accounts to improve your chances of ranking well.

Your GMB listing is closely linked to your G+ page, and Google will take notice of your G+ activity when it comes to ranking your for local results. Maintaining an active presence on Google+ and getting good reviews from customers is a good way to reinforce the authority of your GMB listing.

If you have multiple stores across the country, it will probably take a lot more effort to provide a local-optimised social presence for each, but the results are worth it.

Looking to learn more about social media marketing and SEO? Why not attend one of our informative half-day workshops? Take a look at some of our upcoming events on our Events page, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest news on upcoming dates.



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