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How to incorporate social media into SEO strategies

While social media marketing and SEO seem like two separate practices, when used together, they can enhance any organization's digital marketing strategy.

To increase brand awareness and drive more quality traffic to their websites, marketers should invest in search engine optimization.

Marketing teams use SEO to increase a website's visibility when people search for products or services. Most people use search engines to find what they need, and they are more likely to buy from or engage with a brand that shows up high on search engine ranking pages (SERPs). When done correctly, SEO can help marketing teams rank higher on SERPs and see increases in traffic and its quality.

Marketers have myriad ways to work on a website's SEO, including access to various channels and tools. However, to improve the chances of showing up on SERPs, marketing teams need a good content strategy in place.

Blog content, links to internal and external sources, optimized meta descriptions and social media can help improve SEO. Social media is critical to a brand's content strategy, as it serves as a channel to share content, connect with an audience, build awareness and drive traffic to a website.

Explore how an organization can incorporate social media into its overall SEO strategy.

How does social media affect SEO?

Social media does not directly contribute to how SERPs rank content. However, link sharing across social media platforms increases brand exposure and influences SEO.

Social media can indirectly increase search visibility and organic search rankings through social metrics and signals. Metrics like shares, likes and comments help build trust, customer loyalty and brand awareness. Additionally, these metrics indirectly elevate online visibility and traffic, which search engines look for to evaluate a brand's online reputation and influence SERP rankings.

Effective search requires a marriage between content and context. Search engines see sites as reputable if they have an SEO strategy and traffic driven to them regularly from various sources, including social media platforms.

Social media can influence SEO in the following ways:

  • enhances brand reputation;
  • increases brand recognition;
  • distributes content extensively and without cost;
  • increases local SEO;
  • boosts lifespan of evergreen posts; and
  • improves online visibility.

Why is social media important for SEO?

Even though social media indirectly affects SERP rankings, it can influence SEO because it can drive quality traffic to websites and content like blogs and campaign-focused pages. When a brand creates quality content that connects with and brings value to its target audience, consumers can become brand advocates. This audience engages with the content and may share it with their friends and followers. This cycle continues as followers find value in, engage with and share content.

A chart detailing the steps of how search engine optimization works
SEO involves search engine bots that evaluate the quality of content and its traffic.

Quality content comes in various formats, including blog posts, videos, infographics, e-books, webinars, reviews and podcasts. These types of marketing collateral offer valuable information, encourage repeat visitors and can drive leads into the marketing funnel.

If marketing teams use social media outlets to distribute content, they can amplify the posts to wider audiences. Bigger audiences can then increase visibility, improve traffic quality and generate backlinks to relevant websites, which all indirectly affect SERPs.

Neither SEO nor social media is more important than the other.

SEO vs. social media

Social media management involves posting and optimizing content for social networks, while SEO involves making website content more searchable so it shows up in SERPs for relevant industry phrases and questions.

Neither SEO nor social media is more important than the other. They support one another and each approach has benefits and drawbacks, but marketing teams can bring in more success if they use both in an overarching digital marketing strategy.

7 tips to incorporate social media into SEO

To effectively join SEO and social media strategies, marketing teams can use these seven tips.

  1. Align keyword research with posting topics. Keyword research can help marketing teams think of content to share on social media channels. Teams should create content around keywords that rank well and update older content that needs improved rankings.
  2. Create quality content to share on social media. Marketers should focus on quality over quantity. They can write about and share topics relevant to the target audience, as well as what can engage them the most on different channels.
  3. Revisit high ranking evergreen content with social promotion. Marketing teams can revisit pages with high SERP rankings and engagement and evaluate what they did well. They can also recirculate high performing evergreen content through social channels, as this content often continues to perform well.
  4. Make sharing content easy for users. Social media posts can encourage sharing, but the content on a website should be easily shareable with social icons and links. These links can further content distribution with little effort needed from social media managers.
  5. Optimize images for SEO and social. When encouraging sharing across channels, marketing teams should optimize images for web and social. Images should be 80% visual and 20% copy when applicable, and shouldn't be too large.
  6. Encourage engagement and conversation. Marketers should make posts compelling enough to create an emotional response from users. Posts that encourage conversation may ask questions, include relevant articles or ask for feedback. Organizations should ensure a social admin responds to comments to keep conversations going.
  7. Optimize social media profiles. When users visit a social media profile, it should contain all the relevant information they need to learn about the brand. Social media teams should make the profile informative and professional, include multiple ways to contact the brand and link back to the main website.

Social media helps people discover new brands, and SEO helps a brand generate more traffic from the target audience. Marketing teams that use both can help their organizations increase traffic, awareness and authority from a variety of sources.

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