Integrating SEO and Social Media gives brands more visibility across digital channels. Even though Matt Cutts, the best known Google guy, said that social signals have no impact on search engine rankings apart from Google +1 shares, the benefit of combining Social Media and SEO can’t be ignored.
Does social media matter for search engine rankings?
OK, so Google said social signals don’t matter. Let’s see how this works in reality. If you search for an individual or a company, chances are one of the first results Google throws back will be a Social Media profile. More often than not, in the first 5 results. Although, for the time being, it’s highly unlikely that you will see a social link on the 1st page of search results if you look for products and/or services (rather than brands), that doesn’t mean it won’t change in the near future.
Let’s not forget Bing. They’ve stated that they do look at the social authority of a user. Sure, Google is the main search engine, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t optimise for other ones as well. Quality traffic counts, and if you can get a smaller percentage of quality leads from other channels, then optimising for them will be worth it!
How social media and SEO correlate
While SEO still is, and will remain the main source of a website’s traffic, most of us seem to forget that Social Media is SEO. Social channels are Search Engines, optimising content there, is as important as optimising for traditional engines such as Google and Bing.
We’ve seen some big brands deciding to go for one or the other, obviously unaware how separating the channels will have a negative impact on a website’s performance. Without optimisation, the best looking and functional website is worthless. There are so many out there, you need to be found on 1st page of search results, if you want to be successful.
Why you need both
Starting with a brand awareness campaign, you would need content to promote. Say, you sell shoe products. On your site you would need some meaningful content, and that same content could be promoted via Social Media, and shared over and over again. Never underestimate the power of the masses on Social platforms.
If done well, it’ll be a way to gain authority in your industry and also social proof – the more people that are talking about your product positively, the more other people will start taking notice. They may even be more likely to click on your search result over other brands because they know your brand is currently being talked about a lot on social. They may then be compelled to Google you to see what all the fuss is about.
So having a strong social presence will improve your click through on search as it makes your brand more recognisable, and it will compel potential new customers to research you on Google. The latter could have a downside if you haven’t fully optimised your website and your brand for search. For example, if people see a negative review about your brand appear in SERPS.
Yes, it takes time to gain traction on social, but then again SEO always takes time. The beauty of it is that once the content is online it stays there. No need to invest into a lot of media spend, your content is there as long as your pages are live, except if you have used some dodgy tactics and get penalised in a future.
How can you prove social media and SEO are correlated?
Well, that’s an easy one. For starters, Google Analytics will show you how users came to your site, and which channels they went through before converting. Social Insights will give you even more information on your users’ interaction with your activity. Once it goes viral, your content will have a significant impact on your target audience.
Another benefit of using Social Media, is that you can research personas, find their pain, answer their questions, interact and show them that you do care about their opinion. You can then use these for your content strategy and optimisation.
Reputation is the next best thing after content - and Social is a really good PR tool.
Mobile social and SEO usage
Even Google can’t ignore the popularity of mobile phones. Hence they insist on mobile-friendly sites. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that most people use their phones several hours a day. And what do we do most of the time while we’re on mobiles? We look at our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. We are socialising with our real life and virtual friends. Reading what they say, like and share. That’s how your profiles get attention – when someone else talks about it, you know it’s gone viral.
If we’re not socialising, we’re browsing shops and comparing prices. More than 60% of UK population compare prices using their phones, while being in the shop and looking at products. Maybe you do need a mobile-friendly site after all?
There’s no such thing as “my website is there just to give information to potential customers”. Even if you don’t sell anything online, you still want people to find it and get in touch. It’s about revenue, and we are aware of it. That’s why we combine SEO and Social Media to generate the best results.