Written by: Nick Stamoulis
Social media and SEO go hand-in-hand when it comes to building your online brand. The two disciplines are intertwined more than ever and the most successful websites are the ones who have managed to leverage social media for SEO and vice versa. No longer existing in separate silos, the lines between social media marketing and SEO are slowly disappearing.
In order to give your brand the best chance at succeeding in the online world, here are 3 ways you can derive SEO value from your time spent on social networking sites:
Link between profiles
Think of social media marketing like the wheel of a bicycle. Each social profile is one of the spokes and your website is the central hub linking them all together.
You never want the visitor’s journey to end at any given social profile. By interlinking your social profiles with each other, as well as with your website, you are encouraging visitors to extend their interaction with your company and your brand. The longer you can keep them engaged the better chance you have of getting them to convert.
Linking between profiles also gives you the chance to connect with your target audience on more than one platform, increasing the amount of touch points your brand has in their online lives. For instance, if someone connects with you on LinkedIn, why not send them a message inviting them to follow you on Twitter and to Like your Facebook page? You don’t know which one of these social profiles plays the most important role in their online social lives, so by creating a loop between all of your social profiles you are helping ensure your message gets heard at least once.
Keep in mind that the end goal of social media marketing should be getting your social connections over to your site, not driving traffic from your site towards your social profiles. Don’t dedicate prominent real estate on your website to giant “Connect with us on Facebook!” buttons. Your site should focus on converting your visitors, not turning them into fans/friends/followers. Keep the “connect with us” buttons on your site, but don’t let them overshadow the other goals of your site.
Promote your content
Content marketing forms the backbone of your SEO and drives most of your online marketing tactics in general. But creating great content is only half of the battle. It doesn’t matter how unique, informative, inspiring or useful your content is if no one sees it. That’s where social networks become incredibly valuable from a marketing perspective. Social media marketing thrives on fresh content and gives your social connections a reason to interact with your social profiles. It keeps your brand top-of-mind and present in their online social lives.
Every time you (or one of your connections/readers) share a piece of your content on a social network that creates a valuable inbound link for your site. Not just ways to drive traffic, these social signals are being used by the search engines to determine the importance of your content. The more times a piece of content is shared across various social networking sites the more valuable it becomes and the better it will rank in the long run.
You don’t have to publish the whole blog post to your Facebook wall either. A small snippet and image is enough to attract the attention of your network. It’s a teaser to get them interested and give them a reason to head over to your actual blog/site to read your content.
Customize and optimize profiles
Social profiles can rank in the search engines like any other webpage. Make sure you take full advantage of this opportunity and properly optimize your profiles like you would your site. For instance, Facebook allows users to create custom URLs for their pages; this is a great place to target your most relevant keywords. You should also focus on targeting relevant keywords in your biography or info sessions.
Not every profile will allow you to post the same amount of information, so it’s important to ensure consistency across your profiles. Before you start getting really heavily involved in your social media marketing, write a few company biographies of varying length that all focus on the same core message. You want to present a unified brand across all of your social profiles so you don’t accidentally confuse your audience.