Still wondering if social media can help your content rank higher on Google?
The answer is that it does, but not in the way you might think.
The fact that your post has a high number of shares is not a direct ranking signal for Google, which means that tons of Facebook and Twitter shares won’t impact your rankings.
But what about indirectly? Is there a relationship between social media and higher rankings?
And the big question that’s been on my mind: How does SEO impact social media? There’s a lot of talk about the effect that social media has on SEO, but not much you’ll find on the other side of the SEO/social media equation.
Is social media is the new SEO? Do we need to keep SEO strategies in mind with our social media posts?
To answer these questions, let’s look at the relationship between social media and search engine optimization.
1). Social media triggers branded searches
As you build a following on social media, people will start to recognize your brand and your content. They may even Google your brand name plus a keyword phrase, and that means more traffic to your website.
In fact, Brian Dean from Backlinko recommends branding a process or technique to encourage branded searches. He gets over a thousand searches each month for his Skyscraper Technique.
I’ve experienced something similar with my time blocking post. Little did I know how popular time management tips would be on social media.
Now I see a handful of searches for “Conversion Minded time blocking” in Google Analytics. Not a ton, but growing and it shows how viral content trigger branded searches.
Not only that, I’m now ranking on page #1 for the keyword “time blocking template.” My hunch is that branded searches have helped me rank higher for the unbranded keyword.
2). Brand recognition leads to more clicks
With social media, you can build your own traffic engine and become an influencer simply by posting high-quality content.
And the more value you provide, the more people will trust your brand and see you as having the solution they need. While that brand recognition may not increase your page rankings, it will likely increase your website traffic.
People tend to gravitate to brands that they know. When they see your name appear for search queries, they’ll be more likely to click through to your website rather than someone they don’t know.
For instance, Darren Rowse and Jeff Bullas are both well-known brands in the digital marketing space, so people will likely click through to their posts over others.
3). More shares = more link opportunities
Even though social media shares don’t count as links according to Google, it makes sense that a high number of shares means more people are seeing your content – and more opportunities to link to it.
This is where it’s important to think beyond the number of shares a post has on Facebook.
Think about the links that can come as people share your post with their followers, and their followers share with their followers. As your post gets more shares and your following grows, it may get the attention of influencers and journalists who will link back to it.
Bottom line, if you create a social media plan that includes content people can’t help but share, you’re more likely to build organic links, which does affect your ranking.
4). Social media sites are search engines
You may not realize this, but there are billions of search queries each month on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
I know this is true. My husband prefers watching videos to written blogs and always heads to YouTube when he wants to learn how to fix a toilet or repair a hard drive.
Looking at it this way, you could say that social media is SEO. So when we think about SEO, we need to think beyond Google and include the searches that people are performing on social search engines.
5). SEO strategies impact social media
Keywords are a big deal, whether you’re optimizing content for Google or social media.
One of the last things I do before publishing a new blog post is to add a keyword to my pin image. The reason is that pins with keywords in the description – and now hashtags – have a better chance of getting found on Pinterest.
The same is true with Twitter and Instagram. When you use popular hashtags in a tweet or caption, you expose your social media post to everyone discussing and searching for the topic.
On YouTube, It goes without saying that keywords matter. If you add the right keywords to video titles, descriptions, and tags, you can get them ranked on YouTube and Google.
Since most people learn visually and will click on a how-to video before they click on a how-to blog, it pays to spend time upfront researching keywords so you can see the rewards of increased traffic.
Wrapping it up
Many bloggers tend to focus on social media alone to drive traffic and build their email list, but this can be risky. Social media algorithms are always changing, and the channels that worked yesterday may not be as effective tomorrow.
Top bloggers, such as Jeff Bullas and Pauline Carrera, know this. They focus on both search engine optimization and social media for traffic. Pauline’s website, Twelveskip, gets 300,000 page views a month from three primary traffic sources: Google, Pinterest, and Facebook Groups.
About the Author – Sandra Clayton is a serial entrepreneur who loves teaching creatives, bloggers, and entrepreneurs how to build an online business that ignites your inner genius. When she’s not off re-writing old songs, she’s banging away on her blog, Conversion Minded, sharing everything she’s learned about building a successful online business so that you can do the same.