How to Strengthen the Relationship between SEO and Social Media

Photo of Nathalie Gummerson

iStock 517901788If your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and social media efforts are working in silos, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity. The connection between SEO and social media is closer than you may think. Both are sources of organic traffic, and SEO can extend your social media reach, while social media can boost SEO rankings and increase visitors to your web site. Here are some tips about how to leverage the relationship between SEO and social media.

Build Credible Backlinks
Social media provides a rich source of opportunities for backlinks. Backlinks are inbound links that occur when another website links to your website. The more high quality inbound links your site has, the better, since this signals to search engines like Google and Bing that your site has authority (i.e. the content is high quality and worth linking to) and therefore improves your rankings. These links are essentially an endorsement of your site, indicating that it’s a fantastic resource for the topic.

Of course, backlinks from sites that are reputable, trustworthy, and popular (higher volume of followers and traffic) pass on more authority to your site. Going back to social media: if an influencer has a blog that has one million followers, having a link from their blog to your site signals to search engines that you’re a credible source and increases your rankings.

Opportunity: Conduct outreach to influencers (bloggers, publishers, etc.) and encourage them to link to your website. Influencers are always looking for great content and content ideas, so they’ll want to hear from you. Contribute guest articles. Offer to be interviewed on their blog. Create and promote your own content (or have influencers contribute content to your blog). Create compelling infographics that are easy to share.

Select the Right Keywords
Keywords are words typed into a search box on a search engine. Including these keywords in your content communicates to search engines and your audience what your content is about. Search engines crawl your content to find content that is relevant to consumers to surface in search results.

When conducting keyword research, not only do you get real-time research about what your consumers want and need, but also what keywords to target for search. Helpful keyword research tools include free tools such as Google Adwords, Google Trends, and Bing Ads Intelligence as well as paid tools like Searchmetrics, Moz, and SEM Rush.

Opportunity: Use keyword research to add keywords to your social media posts, preferably to the beginning of your posts. Also include keywords in any attachments such as articles.

Twitter Spotlight
Google is indexing Twitter posts faster than before. Users can now see Tweets in real time. However, Google is getting pickier about what Tweets to show. There is a preference towards trending and breaking news. Google is learning that people may not want to see tweets for certain queries. Indicators that get your tweet to surface include the number of likes (This is a strong indicator!) and  the number of followers. If the user is less active on Twitter, the Tweet Carousel may not be visible on their search engine results page (SERP).

Opportunity: Optimize your Twitter posts for SEO by ensuring posts are keyword-rich and target trending or newsworthy moments. Utilize social media strategies to generate more likes and followers to get your tweets to surface on the SERP.

YouTube Spotlight
Since Google owns YouTube, videos that rank on YouTube also perform well on the Google SERP. YouTube allows you to add keywords in the form of “tags”, but limits the number of tags that you can add.

Opportunity: Use keyword research to include both short-tail tags (1-2 words) and long-tail tags (more descriptive phrases). Either use keyword research tools or simply look at which videos are ranking for the topics that you would like to rank and see what tags they are using.

At the end of the day, search engines want to provide consumers with the most relevant content and the best user experience. Ensuring that both your SEO and social media strategy work together to boost both efforts not only increases traffic to your website, but also ensures your audience has the best possible experience.