It’s true, Google denies social media as a direct search engine ranking factor. And yet, there are certain variables that make social media a viable asset to any SEO strategy.
Why is social media so important for SEO? The answer centers on two key ranking factors surrounding a site’s traffic and engagement metrics. A study conducted by Moz shows that greater traffic and engagement metrics correlate to higher rankings. In essence, the more you can improve a site’s visibility, the better it may perform in Google’s search results (regardless of the site’s traffic sources.)
So how can you can leverage social media to improve your SEO and keyword rankings? By marrying the art of content marketing and social media, you can dramatically evolve your SEO efforts to new heights.
Put High-Value Content on the SEO Forefront
No doubt, content has been on the forefront of successful SEO strategies for decades. Progression can be best actualized by creating content that offers value (not just word volume and keyword relevancy.)
Consistent blogging and content development is an obvious SEO best practice for most professionals. But to take this practice further, we suggest putting greater focus on producing high-value content that truly resonates with a particular target audience. Even if the tradeoff is producing one or two blog posts per month (versus per week,) the SEO advantages of high-value content hold incredible potential.
You can infuse SEO by focusing and optimizing the content (i.e. a video or in-depth article) for solution-seeking long-tail keywords, such as what’s the best sports sunscreen for athletes?
For the sunscreen brand, an article on such a topic will most certainly address the need of many targeted readers because it’s both informative and solution-oriented. Further, a pure-value article of the like will have greater efficacy at generating traffic and enduring levels of engagement on the site. The next step is gaining traction on social media.
Boost/Advertise Social Media Posts to Increase Visibility & Interaction
Even for brands with 1k+ social media followers, there’s great opportunities to boost or advertise posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Here you can target new audiences based on specific interests, demographics, psychographics, and geographics.
Dovetailing on the later sunscreen example, the brand could advertise its article for the best sunscreen for athletes by targeting individuals between the ages of 20-55 and who participate in endurance sports like swimming, running, and cycling. Not only can the brand earn new followers in the process, but it could generate quality, in-market traffic to the site.
In addition to boosting traffic and improving engagement metrics, the article can earn social signals, such as shares, tweets, likes, +1’s, and pins. While Google has not explicitly attributed any value to social signals when determining search engine rankings, many SEO professionals will fiercely argue that content rich with social signals correlates to higher rankings.
This may be a result of the content earning links naturally due to its heightened popularity on social media. Or it could be an emerging and mysterious ranking signal that has yet to come to fruition. Nonetheless, social media holds immense potential to aid in SEO, especially when fueled by high-value content marketing strategies and intelligent application of social advertising platforms.