You know how you are supposed to marry your best friend? Well, social media marketing (SMM) and search engine marketing (SEO) are best buds. And – sorry Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding – they both need your love. Digital marketing love, that is.
Like any good marriage, they each bring their own unique talents to the relationship, and compliment and yes, even depend on one another. Although your social media campaigns and your site’s SEO can be just fine without each other (like two happily single people), together they will live click- and conversion-based happily ever after. Like any good relationship, it’s a complicated affair (more on that later), but when done right, it is incredibly fulfilling and fruitful and brings strength and unity to your digital marketing.
First, it’s important to understand how SEO impacts your overall digital marketing strategies. Then, we’ll examine how social media affects SEO, and finally we’ll show how SEO and SMM work together to give your company’s digital presence a party that is worthy of a golden anniversary.
The Importance of SEO in Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Search engine optimization, or the process of cultivating your website’s content for specific keywords so that it ranks higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs), is critical for any company seeking a digital presence. But SEO involves many more technical factors than just using a keyword phrase over and over again on a page (need help developing said strategy? we’ve got your back). Google’s ever-changing algorithms have a very complex way of assessing your site depending on hundreds of metrics, primarily regarding authority and relevancy, in order to rank it in the search results.
Authority refers to the level of quality information in your site’s content, and how often other sites reference it, also known as backlinks. The more that other sites link to you, the higher your site’s authority. And relevancy refers to how well the information on your web page answers the questions of the users’ search terms. Google is consistently trying to provide the most relevant and user-friendly result for every search phrase, so high-quality content and good user experience (UX) on your website are some of the most important parts of an SEO strategy.
If Content is King, UX is Queen
The inbound marketing strategies that are used for social media marketing and search engine optimization can basically be boiled down to one primarily important piece… user experience. People have to like visiting your website, whether they got there through a friend’s Facebook post or their own search in Google. Many SEO ranking factors involve readability and the organization of your site. In addition to judging the quality and relevancy of your content, search engines consider how long a user stays on your website, and how easy it is for them to understand and navigate.
The tl:dr version? Your SMM and SEO efforts must both be followed up by good UX on your site.
How Social Media Affects SEO
Social media campaigns do not directly influence your site’s ranking, but there are connections between the two. For example, the number of followers you have or how many likes a post gets don’t mean you’ll get a better rank on Google. But, as you build a social media following and that following increasingly clicks on your content, that will indirectly help ranking.
Organic Increase in Traffic = Increase in Relevancy and Authority
Understanding the type of quality content that your social media followers engage with can help inform what content to put on your site (a fundamental SEO strategy).
Sharing links to your site on social media can also lead to more backlinks (which help to boost your site’s authority), allow for a longer content lifespan, and provide a wider audience for content distribution in general. And the more people see your content, the more people will click through to your site, and the more relevant Google will deem your site’s content for related searches. Social media provides not only an additional place for your content to live, but encourages additional interaction and engagement surrounding it and organically boosts important SEO factors.
Brand Recognition = Increase in Click-Through Rates
Like a first date that ghosts, the organic nature of how social media affects SEO seems pretty straightforward but can end up a confused mess. Though individual posts don’t contribute to your page’s SEO rankings, they can rank as their own page. This is why many companies’ social profiles show up in the SERPs (ie. a search in Google for ‘relationship advice’ could return a link to the Twitter account for ‘@bestrelationshipadvice’ or their top-performing tweet).
So how does social media marketing help your website’s SEO ranking? Mostly via brand recognition and trust. For instance, if you’re searching for blogs on marriage advice in Google and you see the social profiles for @RoadtoaHappyMarriage, but not for other blogs on marriage advice, you’ll be much more likely to trust that it’s a relevant link when you see RoadToAHappyMarriage.com further down in the results.
Quick, SMM, Partner Up With an SEO Strategy!
Especially in the midst of new Facebook algorithm changes, investing in an SEO strategy can help to cope with a drop in organic reach through SMM. SEO and social media work together providing each other with important albeit indirect benefits. Understanding how social media affects SEO, and how UX must back up both, will help you to create a digital marketing campaign that lives happily ever after.