Imagine you’re hiking a mountain. You’re geared up and strapped under your pack, and you’ve got a long trail ahead. Which is more important for the upcoming journey: your boots, or your legwear?
It’s a trick question, of course, because it’s a false dichotomy. A good pair of boots and performance legwear will work together to get you to the top. Restrictive legwear would mean that your boots can’t do their best job; shoddy boots render your expensive shorts meaningless if the traction gives out and you fall. So what do you do? You invest in both. Breathable, lightweight legwear for full range of motion supported by sturdy boots with a fierce grip on the rocks and solid ankle support–that’s a winning combination that will get you to the top.
So it is with social media marketing and SEO. Many marketing experts, even competent ones, treat these two branches of marketing as distinct from each other. But it’s a false dichotomy, because SEO and social media interact. They can interact to support each other, or to undermine each other. But a solid SEO strategy supported by thorough social media presence is a winning combination. The savvy strategist makes sure that these efforts go hand in hand to ensure top performance. Let’s look at how to do that.
Remember That Social Platforms Are Search Engines, Too
SEO marketers sometimes get tunnel vision when focusing on Google and Bing. As of this time last year, Facebook gets a staggering 2 billion search queries per day. That’s a 33 percent climb from only 9 months prior, and double the amount of daily searches they saw in 2012.
Twitter gets 2.1 billion (awww, sorry, Facebook!). That surpasses Yahoo and Bing by more than double. If your social media presence is solid, these searches could be turning up info about your products.
If we count social platforms as search engines, do you know what’s the second biggest search engine in the world? YouTube. Making your company searchable on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube will do as much or more for your SEO efforts than focusing exclusively on your Google rank.
These searches may land users on your social profile page and not your website, but that still increases brand awareness, engages users, and ideally does nearly everything a visit to your website would. Your Facebook page might even have a higher domain authority than your regular website. So treat it like another homepage.
Remember, the goal of SEO is not to rank on Google. It’s not even to drive traffic to your site. The goal is to make your company more successful. If social media marketing does that, it’s an SEO win as well.
Social Links are Brand Awareness Cash Cows
Your SEO marketing manager wants backlinks, right? And your team is working hard to get links to your homepage on a variety of high domain authority sites. But what about social media links?
There’s been some debate about whether Google counts links on social media as backlinks. But it doesn’t matter. Let’s assume they don’t. Links are still links, and if they don’t directly boost you on a SERP, they still increase brand awareness and therefore stimulate organic links.
In layman’s terms, if your content is getting shared on social media and people are talking about you, they’re more likely to link to you on their blog, website, or a forum they post at. This indirectly results in more links, satisfying your SEO needs. But just as importantly, people are talking about you!
Locally Optimize Your Posts
If you don’t have your social media profiles thoroughly filled out, make this priority one. If a Facebook user can’t see your business hours and address immediately upon visiting your profile page, you’ve already lost them. They won’t bother going to your real website.
With an address and a little map, you become a local fixture with at least a perceived physical presence. This makes you a member of the community! So get involved with the community. Post about local events, offer special deals, participate in fairs and festivals, support local charities, and so forth.
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Build Your Following and Climb
It’s still a mystery whether your number of social media followers, or the quality of those followers, is a factor in Google’s ranking. But there are indications that it is. And either way, as your social media following grows, your content circulates. And when your shareable content in circulation increases, you automatically become more searchable.
So remember that when you invest in social media marketing, you are directly and indirectly helping your SEO. And it’s these two together that will help you climb the SERP mountain to success.