How Social Media and SEO Work Together

Do you think of social media as a standalone channel? Think again — social media has the power to impact other elements of your integrated marketing strategy, including SEO. 

Most SEOs agree that social signals are not a direct ranking factor, but there’s still much speculation about how social media actually affects organic rankings. Let’s get right to the meat of the matter.

What is social SEO?

Social SEO can be defined in two ways:

  1. The act of optimizing your social profiles and posts so they can be found more easily — think hashtags, keyword-rich captions and alt text, etc. 
  2. The practice of combining SEO and social strategies to improve organic rankings and drive traffic to your website.

Let’s focus on definition number two. With our powers combined…

How social media and SEO work together

Social media profiles and posts can appear in the SERP

Did you know that social media profiles and posts can get crawled and indexed? They can! All the more reason to make sure everything is accurate and optimized.

Keeping things like the About Us section up to date with your brand and local keywords is a great way to show up in the SERP (search engine results page). This can help knock out competitors’ pages or negative information about your company from page one.

Having an active social media presence can improve brand awareness

How can we explain the power of brand awareness? Think of it this way — how often do you ask for a Kleenex rather than a tissue? Do you call it “correction fluid” or “Wite-out?” These brands have such strong awareness that their name has become synonymous with the products they sell. 

Consistently posting, engaging with your followers, and giving your social media some personality can all contribute to better brand awareness

How does this relate to SEO? As we mentioned, social profiles and posts can appear in the SERP. By optimizing your profiles and posts for relevant keywords, you’re increasing your chances of showing up for those searches — and getting eyeballs on your brand. 

Social media can drive traffic to your website

One of the benefits of brand awareness? Better brand awareness = more searches for your brand = more traffic coming to your website. Branded search traffic is incredibly valuable, as it has higher commercial intent, higher conversion rates, and higher return on ad spend (ROAS) than non-branded search traffic.

A line graph demonstrating the difference between branded and non-branded ROAS
Source: Search Engine Land

Traffic can also come from social channels directly, either from your profile, posts, or when your content is shared by someone else. Since links on social media are Nofollow, they aren’t technically backlinks. However, they still have the power to bring people to your site. What’s more, social traffic indicates that what you’re doing on your channels is working. After all, we don’t want all of our hard work on social media to exist in a vacuum. 

Social media can help your site acquire more backlinks

As we mentioned, social media links are not backlinks — but they do provide an opportunity for link building. For example, if a blogger sees your content on social and finds it helpful and relevant to the content they’re developing, they may link to your content from their site. 

What’s more, social media offers a unique opportunity to interact with influencers, content writers, and other key players in the world of the web. Building relationships with these folks is crucial when it comes to earning backlinks. If they like and trust you/your brand, they’d be happy to help you out — no begging emails required. 

How to use social media to boost your SEO

Ensure your social profiles are accurate and complete

The first step is the most obvious, but the most often overlooked: ensure your social profiles are all fleshed out — accurately. Just like with local citations, your NAP (name, address, phone number) should be consistent.

Be sure to also include your business category, an eye-catching profile picture, and your location(s) or service area(s). And please, please don’t forget to include your website.

A screenshot of Two October's Twitter profile

Also, don’t skimp on about sections; there may be character limits, but use the room you’re allotted to describe your brand, what you do, and your unique value proposition.

Tip: if at all possible, keep your username consistent across platforms. 

Optimize your social posts

Social media platforms are a lot like search engines; people use keywords and hashtags to find content they’re interested in. And, as we mentioned, posts can be indexed by actual search engines. 

With that being said, conducting keyword research to find which words and phrases to integrate into your social posts — or aligning with the keywords you’re targeting with your web content — is extremely valuable. 

Link back to your site

We covered including your website in your social profiles, but what about posts? Whenever you share content — be it blogs, infographics, or even an image — see it as an opportunity to link to where that content originated. This allows users to further engage with you, but also gives people the opportunity to get a link to your original content, generating additional backlinks. Take your linking to the next level by including a call to action (CTA).

You can use Bitly to shorten URLs and make them easier for folks to type right into their browser bar if you aren’t able to share links on certain platforms due to your follower count.

Use social media to inform your content strategy

Looking for content ideas? All social platforms want businesses to advertise with them, so they make it a point to publish user trends at the change of every season (if not even more frequently).

Pinterest does this more than most. We’d go so far as to recommend all B2C companies sign up for a business account on Pinterest, if not just to monitor consumer trends. They’ve also developed a Pinterest Trends dashboard so you can see which topics are trending on the platform.

Screenshot of Pinterest top yearly trends of 2022

Social listening is also a great way to track conversations about your brand, competitors, keywords, and more. There is truly no shortage of content ideas on social media.

Distribute your content

Regular content creation is great, but it won’t get you far if you’re not regularly distributing it. Social media is the perfect place to spread your content far and wide. 

Content you should be sharing on social includes:

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Whitepapers 

Make sure you’re strategic in choosing which platforms to share on and even when you share content on social media. 

Make your content easy to share — and desirable to link to

Social media platforms make it easy for users to share content they like, so shouldn’t your website do the same? Add prominent share buttons in a location they won’t be missed; most users read web content in an F-shaped pattern, which suggests that the top left section of the content is the perfect spot.

But we don’t just want people to share our content on social, do we? We want to earn those backlinks!

Here are a few ways to increase your odds of being linked to:

  • Make sure the content you share on social media is relevant, helpful, and engaging.
  • Repurpose your content into new and different formats that people love to share, such as infographics. 
  • Play around with mentioning or tagging brands and influencers when you share great content. 
  • Include images. We don’t recommend ever posting text alone on platforms that are geared toward sharing images and videos — the exception to this being platforms like Twitter, which are text-centric. 

Tip: Always encourage sharers to link to the content that lives on your website, not just the social post.

Social media is an invaluable marketing tool for many reasons, but we love how well it complements SEO and content. Try out these strategies and drop us a line to let us know how it goes — we’d love to hear from you!

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