While Google maintains ‘social signals’ don’t directly impact on rankings, it’s one of the best methods for boosting organic referral traffic. Here are three ways to do it.
While social signals may not necessarily be a ranking factor, the online reputation you can gain from an active social media presence also increases brand awareness which, over time, can lead to more branded searches on Google.
From an SEO perspective, optimised social media profiles and tweets appear in organic search listings, this will assist in dominating your brand searches. The increased visibility of and engagement with your content helps to increase its reach and therefore is an important part of any strategy to create natural high quality backlinks.
1. Amplify your content campaigns
Good content is the anchor for any successful online marketing campaign – and never more so than when posting on social media. With vast numbers of users and the ability to target niche audiences, social media offers huge opportunities to get your content in front of a relevant audience. When your assets are shared, this helps to spread your message and increase brand awareness. The higher the relevance and quality of those shares, the greater the chance your content gets seen by the right audience, and attracts the right kind of traffic. Social engagement is a public endorsement of your website – people trust recommendations from their peers (known as ‘social proof’).
But with around 3.5 million Facebook posts and almost half a million tweets every minute (Smart Insights), how do you make sure the posts you spend time researching, writing and designing get the attention – and results – that they deserve?
Optimise your content
As Google aims to return the most relevant and useful results for answer users’ queries, the brands that are most effective on social media – and online in general – are those which provide a great customer experience by regularly publishing unique, customer-focused content. The quality and relevance of your content is a major influencing factor not just for SEO, but for how people choose to engage with it.
Pillsbury is a brand that continually pushes out original, useful content in the form of video recipes that generate many likes, comments and reactions.
For step-by-step guidance on perfecting your content strategy, take a look at our eBook 5 ways to target your content better.
While the incoming links from your social media shares don’t have the same impact as authentic links from high-quality sites, they can influence your bounce rate and time-on-site engagement. If your content is good and people stick around to read it, those engagement metrics communicate value to search engines. Your goal should be to turn your best organic content into social media content so you can then encourage engagement and drive traffic back to your site
Optimise your posts
Whether you’re sharing an image, infographic, video or link to a blog, you need to put as much thought into the copy you use in your post as you would in your blog, or any other content you create.
The key with social posts is that they need to be engaging and shareable. People engage with and share content that engages them emotionally, reinforces how they want to be perceived, reflects their values and beliefs, and, ultimately, helps to strengthen their own relationships. As with everything in marketing: understand what’s important to your audience and tailor your approach to tap into it.
Here are some other effective tactics for social sharing:
- Identify which social platforms are most appropriate for your business, industry and target audience. This blog by Scott Rumsey explains how to do this in more detail.
- Share a link when you create fresh content, such as publishing a new blog post. It sounds obvious, but can often be forgotten or treated as an afterthought in the rush to meet deadlines.
- Give people a reason to engage. Word your post in an accurate, descriptive way that makes clear the context and the relevance to your target audience, using appropriate keywords and framing it in a way that gives people a reason to take the action you want them to, whether this is to read, watch, share your posts, and/or click on your link.
- Use hashtags to make it easy to discover your content. Look at what hashtags influencers in your industry are using; search for trending hashtags, and see if you can relate them back to your industry, or create your own s to track specific social media marketing campaigns.
- Engage with your audience. Social media isn’t designed for one-way communication. Participate in discussions, start conversations and comment on others’ posts.
- Include high-quality images and/or video. According to Twitter, Tweets with images generate three times more engagement than basic text updates, those with GIFs more than six times, and those including video nine times more.
- Include a call to action.
AO.com are experts at creating and sharing engaging and shareable content, even though their industry (white goods) doesn’t immediately spring to mind as one with many creative opportunities. These Twitter posts are to the point, attention-grabbing and include high quality imagery and video. They also tap into current trends (at the time of writing) and signal their relevance with appropriate hashtags:
For more information on optimising your social posts and your sharing strategy in general, download our eBook Success with social sharing.
Social media offers you an excellent opportunity to encourage interaction with your audience and respond to their comments and questions, like in the example to the right of Sharpie responding to a tweet from a customer – this is the kind of thing that drives loyalty and brand advocacy:
For further help on maximising you social presence, download the eBook Streamlining Your Social Strategy.
2. Gain greater control over searches for your brand
Optimise your social profiles
Social profiles are important assets for building your brand’s online presence. They are a valuable way to expand your reach, for audience engagement and to amplify content. But they can also be great for capturing more search visibility for your brand.
Maintaining up-to-date social profiles, consistently sharing high-quality content and regularly engaging with your audience on these platforms will help to improve your online visibility, influence and reputation.
Therefore it’s important to optimise your profiles, not only for search engine results pages (SERPs), but for search within each social platform itself – people don’t just search on Google or Bing nowadays. It’s common for someone to search for your brand on LinkedIn, for example, or look up a particular topic of interest on Twitter.
According to digital marketing expert Neil Patel: “We need to understand that search engine optimisation includes the search that happens on social media search engines.”
Tips for optimising your brand’s social media profiles:
- Ensure you include your keywords in a natural way.
- Use your company logo as your profile photo.
- Your username should be your brand name.
- State clearly what your company does in your bio. This is the place to include relevant keywords and a link(s) back to your site.
- If you use organisation schema markup code on your website, include your social links here to increase the relevancy, discovery and traffic to your social profiles.
A simple, but often overlooked, way boost interaction and signals that your profiles are active by including a link to your website in your social profiles to increase the quality of traffic to your website, and vice versa, including share buttons on your website, emails and other, third party business profiles.
Starbucks’ Facebook profile ticks all the boxes. It gives a flavour of the brand’s philosophy and background as well as incorporating relevant keywords, a link back to the brand’s site and a link back to another of its social channels (YouTube) to help the audience remain engaged with Starbucks and its online real properties.
3. Earn authority for your website
Often, it’s not the actual social activity that matters, but what happens as a result of that activity. Optimising and maximising you social visibility and interaction increases the chance of obtaining links from authoritative sources.
Many links today are achieved through developing original content that’s shared across social media.
Include social links on your web pages (blogs, landing pages etc) to make them easily shareable. This can lead to more followers and social engagement.
Source: Orbit Media
Boost your backlink profile
Building legitimate inbound links, or backlinks, is an important SEO strategy website for two reasons:
- It drives referral traffic to your site.
- Google takes notice when those with trusted and established sites (ie, those with a high Domain Authority/DA) link back to your site – and good quality backlinks are a crucial ranking factor in the SERPs.
A strategic exercise that ticks all of these boxes is outreach, which involves forging relationships with influential bloggers, capturing data, creating and distributing high quality, shareable content and amplifying its reach through social and ‘earned media’.
The way to earn genuine, high-quality backlinks is by sticking to the following rules – which are basic good practice for online marketing in general:
- Create your own unique, engaging, high quality content.
- Build a genuine community which interacts with your website, your social channels and one
- Develop and maintain authentic relationships with relevant influencers.
Engage with influencers
The content that you share on social media has an important role to play in helping to create genuine, organic inbound links from influential and trustworthy sources: an important SEO factor.
Influencer outreach is the process of identifying those with powerful following among your target audience, and offering them great content for them to publish or share with an inbound link to your site.
- Influencer outreach is about maximising the amplification of your content through:
- Earning links to your site through useful and remarkable content.
- Building relationships with ‘influencers’ – websites and writers that operate in your niche.
- Identifying topics and content types that will appeal to their readership.
- Establishing yourself as an industry thought leader/authority and a source of great content.
Leveraging an influencer’s existing readership allows your brand to reach new, wider – and, most importantly, relevant – audiences. Because of the quality of the audience you’re able to tap into, the brand exposure potential is huge.
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