SEO and Social Media—What’s the Connection?

By Yeager Marketing

The internet is now humming with more than 4.5 billion users—that’s 60 percent of the world’s population— and 3.8 billion of those people are using social media. Both of those numbers will continue to grow, reinforcing the need for companies to have solid social media strategies.

Top Social Platforms for Business

First things first: from a business perspective, which social platforms deserve attention? There is no exhaustive list of social media sites in use—a Google search reveals many Top 10 lists, but there are a few Top 250 lists, too. Given their number of active users, businesses tend to focus on:

Facebook: 2.45 billion Active Monthly Users
Twitter: 330 million Active Monthly Users
LinkedIn: 310 million Active Monthly Users
Instagram: 1 billion Active Users

And how does social media affect SEO? When Rob Weber, the Agile Digital Lab Owner and Global SEM Strategist for Teradata Corporation, sat down with us for the most recent episode of the Top 3 for Tech Marketers podcast, he told us, “There’s not a direct impact. However, there is an indirect impact.”

The Connection Between SEO and Social Media

The link between SEO and social media is fuzzy, to say the least. In 2014 Google’s own Matt Cutts, product owner of the company’s SPAM division reported that the Google algorithm does not use social in determining search results, contradicting previous statements. Still, social media platforms are search engines unto themselves, Google does crawl and index some social pages, and social profiles do rank in search engines.

So even though the SEO-social link is fuzzy, and social doesn’t directly impact search ranking, an organization’s social media strategy can still boost SEO with link potential, audience building, branded searches, and promotion. The key is using social as a tool for promoting SEO-friendly content.

How Social Media Can Help Build Links and Boost SERPs

A couple of decades ago Google changed the search game. One significant change was the importance Google placed on links. That one thing meant that a page would be analyzed for both content and the number of other pages (quality pages) linking to it. Backlinks are still a significant factor with Google SERP rankings, and social media can be used to boost link volume.

How can social media sharing boost SEO? By increasing content visibility. Ideally, someone sees the content on a company’s social account, shares it in their own feed, and along the way people opt to link to the content from their own sites. The social sharing acts as a tool to promote the content but ultimately helps SEO by generating links.

Using Social Media for Audience Growth

As mentioned above, 3.8 billion people are using social media, and every company wants to reach the ones who are candidates for the products or services they offer. The key is to use social as a means to build a brand by promoting timely, insightful, search-optimized content that appeals to a targeted demographic. Serving the needs of the audience on a regular basis establishes both trust and awareness, making users more likely to click through to content tied to that brand when it shows up in Google SERPs.

Building Brand Awareness with Social Media and SEO

This one is pretty obvious: associating keywords or keyword phrases with a company’s brand name can lead to the brand being associated with other, comparable keywords in Google searches. Find ways to tie your brand and keyword phrases associated with products and services so Google makes the connection for users. A few examples are:

[Yeager Marketing] + [B2B Content Strategy] [Yeager Marketing] + [B2B Planning and Positioning] [Yeager Marketing] + [B2B Campaign Development]

Brand and Content Promotion

What’s the point of putting so much time and energy into creating amazing content if there’s no promotion effort? According to Weber, “If you think about social media and social media amplification, we all should be promoting content.”

Social media is an ideal tool for promoting content. Think of it like this:

Step 1: Create good content that’s optimized for search
Step 2: Promote the good content on social media
Step 3: People like and link to the good content
Step 4: Search rankings go up

The State of Social Media and SEO (For Now, Anyway)

According to Moz.com, “Google reported over 3,000 improvements to search” in 2018. Most changes to the Google algorithm go unnoticed, but SEO experts plan and prepare when a major change is expected. Given the fluid nature of SEO, and Google’s historical contradictions on whether social media impacts SEO rankings, everything outlined above could change at any time. For now, though, make a commitment to using social media to promote content with the potential to elevate SERPs. As Weber pointed out, it’s “ … not only important for search engines, but important for prospects, customers, and influencers.”

Intrigued by the potential of intertwining social media and SEO? Listen to the latest installment of the Top 3 for Tech Marketers podcast. Renee Yeager gets some invaluable insights about SEO for content, design, and social media from Ron Weber.