How to Use Social Media to Increase Your Search Rank in 2018

By on December 27, 2017

In the online realm, ranking higher than the closest competitor is the name of the game. We all want to make strides towards the forefront of SERPs, which is the digital equivalent of a Promised Land. So, how do the social media platforms fit into this picture? Well, let us say for now that social media and SEO are interconnected on more than one level.

In recent years, there has been a lot of heated talk about social signals (likes, retweets, pins, shares, follows, etc.). They are still not integrated into algorithms as ranking factors, but nevertheless, they affect the rank in a way that is both indirect and relevant.  You could say that for better or worse, social media inevitably finds a way to tie itself to your search rank and SEO tactic.

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The value of content

First off, all, it must be also noted that social profiles rank in search engines. In fact, they are often among the top results for the query, especially when it comes to brand names. If you search corporate giants like “General Electric” in Google, you will see that the profiles on networks like Twitter and Instagram have a distinguished place on the first page.

This suggests that the posts on Twitter and Facebook are treated just like any other pages in search engines. Yet, for better or worse, not everything that is indexable on the internet really ends up being indexed. Crawling bots cannot effectively handle millions of posts that come to life each and every day. That does not mean that social is out of the picture, far from it.

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Some people argue that social SEO works much in the same way as traditional SEO. This is true to an extent, but there are some notable differences we must address. For example, links you share on social media to not directly add to your ranking, as they receive a “nofollow tag”.  However, links on social media are still considered to be of higher quality because the networks have high web authority.

Moreover, the content itself holds immense value. It empowers brands to transcend borders of current audience and reach new potential customers. Naturally, keywords are the crucial component of stellar content creation and distribution. If you take a look at top search results in major hubs like Twitter, you notice that the people there are not only the most-retweeted, but also have the right keywords in the bio.

This does not mean you should focus primarily on keywords. Unless you have great content to encompass them, you risk coming across as a shady marketer. Google is gradually downplaying the importance of quantity and aspires to squash link spamming and keyword stuffing. Practitioners of black-hat SEO are either penalized or ignored, and it is hard to figure out which is worse.

Community matters

People absolutely love social media. It seems that social profiles are seen as a more intimate environment by the majority of internet users.  Branded accounts usually make the first impression and give a taste of what the certain organization is about. Hence, high-ranking social profiles are sure to draw people in and grab their attention. This brings a variety of benefits for business and some of them are related to boosting the ranking even further.

Namely, search engines factor in the size of your community on major social networks in order to assess your authenticity. Traffic is always perceived as a straightforward and concrete proof. Quality shows, while phony and clickbait content has its limits and certainly does not inspire a massive following. Likewise, bear in mind that fake users do not count as they cannot really engage with your content.

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On the other hand, an engaged army of real users, attracted by appealing content, generates an avalanche of social signals that enhances key website stats and amplify your credibility and popularity in the eyes of search engines. Brands like Everlane are prime examples of great community-building on image-heavy networks.

Digital highways

This brings us to the point that, in a sense, social networks are a specific type of search engines that can seriously boost your visibility and discoverability. Thus, it pays off to build your social media presence with a good SEO in mind. The ultimate goal is to enable people to discover and interact with your content more easily.

Take into account the Pinterest. Once you setup your account, you can render your content both searchable and shareable. With the social features offered, the popular hub encourages people to engage with your posts. Users mostly post pins that they find interesting and feature your content on their profiles.  Of course, it is necessary for your content to be public in order to be visible to people.

So, one of the first things you can do to capitalize on social networks is to optimize profiles for keywords search. Critical keywords should be used in:

  • links,
  • summaries,
  • image captions,
  • headlines and
  • bios of every account.

Consequently, people browsing the web and social landscape can come across your business because of the keywords built into your pages.

These vital pieces of the puzzle should be included in everything from your blog posts to paid ad campaigns. If you do a keyword research for YouTube could drive a lot of traffic your way, not only to your channel, but also the website and other areas of your digital real estate. Similar rules and tricks of the trade apply to other major networks.

The effects are spilling over

This brings us to the point that social posts that spark enough attention could end up in all sorts of places beyond the booming social ecosystem, such as blog posts and articles. By offering relevant info, you entice others to reference you, which brings valuable backlinks to your profiles as well as a website.

Upon spurring this positive outcome, another one follows: Your authority with search engines is effectively increased. So, always adhere to rules of SEO when crafting content. You can also use SEO tracking tool to gauge your pages and website in the light of optimization and implement changes in on-page SEO.

Marketing pillars

So, if it is not obvious by now, great content hardly flies under the radar of Google. It is the glue that holds social and SEO together, the essence of their correlation. Yet, on its own, without the support of high-impact branding and marketing, it could fall short. So, take a border approach.

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Play it smart and spread your brand awareness across the social ecosystem. If there is such a thing as a one-size-fits-all solution here, then it comes in the form of giving an audience a quality experience. In the long term, your reputation solidifies and you enjoy more branded searches. Thus, do not be discouraged in case the synergy between social and SEO does not yield tangible benefits right off the bat.Make sure to use viral marketing and encourage social sharing (include social buttons as much as possible). Taco Bell is one of the brands that showed us how this is done, with its pre-order campaign of the last year. Oh, and rest assured you do not need a huge budget and a Superbowl ad like them in order to make it happen.

What is more, companies like FashionNova prove that success sometimes does come swiftly. It stole the show by attracting 6.3 million followers on Instagram and rose to 88,000 keywords over a course of a single year. Experts argue that it has overshadowed the competition thanks to great user experience, which was reflected in much lower bounce rates.

Channeling the power

A smart, multi-channel strategy is always fruitful. Buzzfeed occasionally gives birth to the short video craze, while Facebook poses a no-brainer. The basic rule is: “Be where your customers are”.  Startups can work miracles with this approach, and businesses like Dollar Shave Club are already iconic examples.

Also, take, for instance, BarkBox, a company which has pulled off standout campaigns (“Congratulations, You’re a Dog Person”).  They were fun, entertaining, and visually engaging.  Not surprisingly, the brand mostly used Instagram and YouTube, two networks that attract cohorts of dog lovers. Make-a-Wish-Foundation is another example of how great user-generated content can be in terms of engagement.

One aspect you should not overlook is the presence on local listings. Every business can profit from Google+ and other places that give you an opportunity to get pertinent information in front of the people. You enable your company to be reviewed directly on Google, which many users find quite convenient. And if you manage to obtain high reviews, you might get recommended by the mighty search engine as well.

It goes without saying all your information, including address, contact, and location on the map must be accurate and up-to-date. Make it easy for customers to check in at your place and let others know about you. Local SEO, in general, is growing in importance, so step up the game in this department if you target the audience in your “backyard”. 

On top of trends

Finally, try to keep an eye on novelties that come and go. Anticipate emerging trends to create the maximum amount of buzz and use social signals to your advantage. The world of SEO contently evolves and the chief driving forces behind this dynamic process are:

  • user preferences,
  • Google algorithm updates and
  • steady rise of content as a king

Keep the fingers on the pulse of the audience. Instill the fear of missing out something amazing into people. The Mr. Burberry campaign worked so well because the famous brand was the first to run a native ad on a Snapchat’s Discover channel.  The content’s limited time span did not matter because the goal was achieved and attention was naturally garnered.

Image source: https://marketingland.com

In any event, do not allow social media to be the missing piece of the success puzzle. Refrain from imitating others and let your unique flag fly.  Step up the game and draw people into the funnel of your inbound strategy.  You cannot afford to fall behind because the bulk of companies and business already integrates social media in their SEO strategies.

There is certainly no going around the fact that your social profiles matter to Google and the customers who are looking for you or what you have in store for them.  The web is all about nurturing meaningful relationships, fostering an audience, and sharing and caring. You could say that it is a social animal at heart.

Search for the Holy Grail

As it turns out, social media is an integral part of online marketing strategy, which impacts your:

  • reach,
  • visibility,
  • popularity and
  • brand appeal.

So, it is high time to take your SEO efforts to the next level. Create content and messages that help you stand out. Harness the power of community and unlock the synergy between social media and search ranking.

Planned, consistent activities on social media are no longer optional: Being on the ball is something that works miracles for your brand-building, reputation-management, and ultimately, it improves your bottom line. Revenues and profit revolve around trust and loyalty that take time and a great deal of effort to build.

You have a chance to demonstrate to Google and other online gatekeepers that you are doing something right and let a slew of social engagement accelerate your ascend up the ranking ladder. Short of some seismic shifts in user preferences and behavior, the social media will continue to drive SEO success in 2018 and beyond.

A look around the corner

Considering that prime networks are only going to get bigger, the question that persists is will the relationship between social media and SEO remain in the form of significant correlation or mature to the level of direct causation and impact the rank even more?

Well, this could be a slow process due to Google’s reluctance to give more weight to platforms that are run by its competitors. Then again, under the influence of online winds of change that always blow, we can see that happening. Let us also not forget that search engines like Bing have embraced a different approach and implement social signals as an important factor.

About Sean Lockwood

I'm IT expert with years of experience. I cover all aspects of IT like programming, photoshopping and moving effects. I've spent some time in the field of security and I'm still helping other companies with the same. In my free time, I love to enjoy my extreme sports blog and my German Shepherd dog.
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