Inbound marketing is in the middle of an interesting evolution. Historically, search has been a major source of traffic and leads for businesses leveraging online marketing.
But, with the growth of social networks, social media marketing is even more heavily embraced today.
But, you might ask, which is more important?
The answer? Both can be key to your strategy.
Social Media vs. SEO
Social media management relates to posting and optimizing your content on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. SEO strategy relates to making your website or content more searchable so that people looking up phrases or questions about products or topics related to your industry will find your site in the results.
Search is a huge source of customers, but slowly, social media is gradually increasing in importance as a marketing platform. The important distinction to make is that search and social are not competitive forces. Instead, these two facets of inbound marketing can work together to amplify the results of each other.
Social Media and SEO
While social media management and SEO optimization are two very different strategies, they can compliment eachother. While social media allows people to discover new content or brands that they or their friends might be interested in, SEO allows you to gain traffic from people who are searching questions or phrases related to your business. Leveraging both can help you gain traffic from a variety of different sources.
The key to understanding that search and social media marketing need to work together is to think about the problem both search and social solve: information discovery. People use Google to find an answer to a question. People use social media to discover answers to questions they haven't yet thought of. However, the difference between search engines and social media platforms is blurring. For example, Facebook search is one of the network's core features.
As a marketer, how can you integrate your efforts across both platforms?
Social Media SEO Strategy
1. Social Sharing Buttons on Your Website
It may seem simple, but search engines like Google are starting to use social media sharing data to influence search rankings. As a marketer, it is critically important to have social media sharing buttons on your blog and website to encourage visitors to share content in social media. These buttons will not only help to increase traffic from social media but will also play an important role today and in the future for ranking positions in search engines.
2. Integrated Keyword Strategy
As I mentioned earlier, the line between search engines and social media platforms is blurring. Take the keyword strategy you are using for your website and apply it to your social media engagement when appropriate. This doesn't mean cramming tweets full of keywords. Instead, be aware of how you are wording social media messages. By incorporating keywords into social media content, you can increase the reach of your messages.
3. Include Links in Social Profiles
The links in social media messages such as tweets and Facebook status updates are traditionally no-follow links. This means they don't pass any SEO authority to the site they're linking to. While this is starting to change, it is important to understand that the URL in the actual bio of a social media account is a follow link. Keep this in mind, and make sure you are taking advantage of these extra links.
4. Incorporate Links Into Video and Presentation Content
Some of the most powerful social media platforms are those that facilitate content sharing, such as YouTube for video and SlideShare for presentations. When sharing content on these types of networks, be sure to share links to related blog posts or other content on your website. Yes, this will increase traffic to your website, but it will also help build new inbound links. When someone writes a blog post about your content, it is likely they will also include a link from the presentation, simply because it is the "easy" thing to do.
5. Optimize Social Profiles
Think of social media profile pages as extensions of your website. In the same way that you would optimize website pages for page titles and keywords, audit your social media profiles to ensure they mirror the search engine optimization strategy of your website.
6. Build Links and Social Media Reach
Search engine optimization has long been about inbound links to your website. While inbound links are still really important, a secondary metric for marketers looking to increase search traffic should be social media reach. As we talked about earlier, social media data is becoming a factor in search engine rankings. In order to get more people to share your content in social media, you need to increase the number of fans or followers of your account. By doing this through quality content creation and engagement, you will not only build social media reach but also inbound links.
7. Establish New Relationships
The web is now a social communications channel. Similar to sales, relationships are huge for driving inbound links and social media attention. Building relationships using social media can open opportunities for guest blog posts and other link-building opportunities.
How Social Media Effects SEO
As we mentioned above, leveraging both strategies will give you more chances for audiences to discover your brand. But, it might slightly help your search results page rankings indirectly.
When you get a lot of traffic to your website, search engines that crawl your the internet will notice and think your brand is credible. Then, they might place your search result higher than others. So, if you post interesting content on social media that is incredibly click-worthy, you might see a boost in traffic.
Furthermore, if people or credible brands see your posts on social and share your website's link on their own blogs or websites, that could boost your page authority. This is something that might also move you up in rankings.
While this might not make a major dent in your rankings or total page authority score, especially when you're starting out, social media marketing couldn't hurt you.
If you've just focused purely on SEO and are ready to zone in on a complimenting social media strategy, check out our guide to social media marketing.