Posting content on your social channels that informs and influences will help search engines and your target audience find you.
Social channels are increasingly important tools brands use to land at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). While they don’t directly contribute to search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, they have the power to inform and influence.
These attributes of social media are particularly important for Google’s algorithm, which has prioritized relevance as a criterion to earn a top ranking. When people like, comment on or share your content across their social media channels, it tells Google that your posts are useful. This will help move you to the top of its SERPs.
It’s not just Google. Other search engines are also looking at social media influence when deciding SERPs rankings. However, Google gets the most attention because of its hold on the search marketplace. It remains the world’s most popular search engine with almost 93 per cent of the market share.
Fast fact: Research from CognitiveSEO reveals that a strong presence on social channels is correlated with higher rankings.
Building your presence and credibility on social media complements more direct SEO efforts by giving you another way to engage with customers, build trust and expand your reach. Social media channels make it easy for customers to share photos, reviews and testimonials, and will help drive people to your web properties.
What is SEO?
SEO is a holistic digital marketing process designed to help businesses improve their rankings on search engines’ unpaid, or organic, results pages. Earning a top ranking is one of the most effective ways to help your target audience find you.
An effective social media strategy improves:
- content distribution;
- organic traffic;
- local SEO rankings;
- brand recognition and reputation;
- quality web traffic;
- user engagement; and
- search engines’ indexing of your content, which in turn leads to higher SERPs rankings.
Perhaps most importantly, a strong social media strategy helps you turn your target audience into brand champions, further building your credibility and capturing search engines’ attention.
1. Understand your target audience
Know your audience – their pain points, their interests, where they conduct online research and how they like to consume information. This starts with creating an audience persona for the customers you’re targeting. Similar to a buyer persona, an audience persona is a research-based fictionalized profile that represents a group of similar people within your target audience. It describes who they are, what they want, their challenges, their interests and how they make decisions. The audience persona will allow you to create content that showcases who you are and how you will deliver value to your target audience. This is critical. Surveys show 66 per cent of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.
Knowing your target audience will also help you determine which are the best media channels to reach them. Showing up where your customers are is the first step in increasing brand awareness and driving conversions.
Fast fact: 90 per cent of United States residents are active on social media.
2. Create great content
Develop and regularly post up-to-date high-quality blogs, photos, podcasts and infographics people will want to share on your social media channels. Build videos into your social media strategy. How-to videos and tutorials, product demo videos, and Q&A videos featuring customers and staff are all opportunities to engage your target customers in a way they will find meaningful. They will also help establish you as a reliable source of information, build trust in your brand and attract people to your site. The more informative and interesting your social media posts, the more likely it is other sites will want to link to them. BuzzSumo crawls the web and social feeds to find the most popular content on any topic. Use this information to learn what’s resonating with your target audience.
A few best practices: Invest the time to develop a strong keyword strategy to ensure you are using the terms your target audience is using. Schedule posts to run when you know your followers are most likely to be online. Use your posts as a starting point for a conversation with your target audience. Bring added value to your customers by answering their questions and addressing their pain points.
3. Make it easy for people to share your content
Social media users share web content with their connections, groups and other individuals on a social network. Getting your customers to share content about you is one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness. The more they share about you, the greater your reach. Encourage customers to comment, share product photos, post reviews and give testimonials.
Fast fact: Reviews for local businesses influence up to 10 per cent of the search ranking.
4. Optimize your social media profiles
Create an engaging, informative social media profile that will capture your target audience’s attention and keep their interest. Make sure your brand name and logo are clearly featured so users can easily identify you. Your bio should reflect your brand voice and personality. It should tell viewers who you are, what you do and what makes you different in a compelling way. Use relevant keywords and add brand-related hashtags to help your target audience find you. Include a link to your website so users can learn more about you.
5. Monitor and measure social media engagement
Use analytics to keep track of how and where visitors discover you and what they do once they’re on your channel. Analyze your best performing posts and enhance them to further drive engagement. Apply the elements your followers want to see to give new life to under-performing posts. Instagram provides insights about individual posts to help business account holders better understand their performance.
Key performance indicators to track:
- Social shares
- Number of followers/subscribers
- Average time on site
- SEO ranking for keywords
- Conversion rates
Tip: Google Analytics can help you understand how people are finding your content, how long they are spending with content and bounce rates.
Social platforms – such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat – are now part of everyday life. The latest research reveals there are 4.9 billion social media users around the globe. This number is expected to grow to 5.85 billion in the next four years. For marketers, social shares increase brand awareness and indirectly impact SEO. Investing in your social media strategy will help you land at the top of SERPs, build brand credibility and expand your influence.