SEO and social media marketing are closely linked strategies, both aimed at attracting visitors to your website through organic means. Most social marketers will know that to do well on social media platforms requires a strong brand presence and high-quality content, which by coincidence, is also a great boon for your SEO. By putting effort into both, you can hope to simultaneously increase organic search rankings and maximise social reach for your small business. Listed here are some pointers that will help you to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Pick the right platforms for your Social Media
Customers now expect small businesses to be social. However, not all social platforms are worthwhile for every business. Business owners should focus their attention on the networks that are most relevant to their customers, whether that’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Instagram. If you’re not sure which is likely to be most effective for your business, check out this article on Forbes, which breaks down the key demographics and primary uses of each platform.
Dedicate a period of time each week to work on building a following through interacting with the social community, as well as sharing relevant and useful content – whether that’s yours or someone else’s. Remember, existing content can always be re-purposed to make it more suitable for cross-promotion across different platforms. Which brings me to my next point:
Prepare your content strategy
Organic search and social media are both ultimately driven by the same thing: content. By sharing high-quality content you tend to get more shares and engagement, and in the process this signals to search engines that your content is proving popular.
Creating a content calendar ahead of time will help to ensure you stay on track and provide content regularly. However, you should also pay attention to topics that are trending, as engaging with them in a timely manner will offer you increased exposure. Buzzsumo is a great tool to help you find out what kind of content is making waves at any given time. But be discerning: only focus on trends that are actually relevant to your business, rather than shoehorning them into your strategy in an artificial way.
Optimise your social profiles for SEO
Ask yourself, is your social media marketing working? If not, one of the first avenues to look into is whether your profiles are well-optimised. The most SEO-friendly social media profiles include as much description as possible – the ‘information’ and ‘about’ sections are good places for this. Likely you are already aware of the top keywords and keyword phrases that best describe your business, so be sure to include these (start by conducting keyword research if you’re not sure).
Ensure that your business is listed as the most appropriate category on your Facebook page – this field is frequently overlooked but comes in handy for mobile search. In addition, you should also look to optimise your Facebook page for local search by including your business address and contact details. Remember to integrate your website or online store with your social media profiles, which will allow visitors to more easily share your pages and products.
Build good quality backlinks-the holy grail of SEO
Backlinks are a wonderful thing for boosting your website’s DA, but only when those backlinks are from other good quality websites. Spammy backlinks are not only useless, they can also be damaging. One of the best ways to secure high-quality backlinks is through guest posting.
You may want to start by looking at what your high-ranking competitors are doing. You can find out which websites link to your competitors using a tool like SEMRush. You can then look to replicate this backlink profile, as well as mix in some other relevant niches sites that you’ve come across yourself. Tools like Buzzstream are a good way to collate industry influencers, as well as seeking out those with powerful followings on social media. Once established as a reliable guest blogger, you can start building links and sharing your guest posts on social media, positioning your brand as an industry authority.
Grow your Social Media following
Yes – it is true that the number of connections and followers your business’s social profiles can affect its SEO rankings. A business that has 1 million Twitter and Facebook followers is naturally more likely to rank than a similar business with just a few hundred. But there are a few pointers to be aware of.
Firstly, it’s common practice for some business to ‘buy’ followers, in order to make them appear more popular than they really are. This is a bad idea for several reasons, not least because search engines will figure it out and deduct any associated ranking bonuses. The only way to get a real benefit is by building your following organically. Slow and steady wins the race – it’s all about consistency.
Ensure that your brand is presented in a unique, interesting and consistent way on social media, providing genuine value to your followers. Articles, tips, questions and points of discussion are encouraged, and be prepared to engage with in conversation with users. Availability and willingness to help are key to maintaining your following, and will ensure that others are pointed in your direction. In the early days, you may also wish to try Facebook advertising in order to boost your visibility on users’ newsfeeds.
Overall, the key to running a successful integrated SEO and social media strategy is to focus your efforts on creating a user-friendly brand, sharing quality content, and working on your niche engagement with individuals. Steer well clear of shady practices like buying social followers, keyword stuffing and comment spamming, and instead take your time to do things the right way. There are no shortcuts to ‘real’ success in SEO and social media – to do it properly takes a little dedication. Aim to be trustworthy and authentic, and in due course you will reap the rewards of real engagement.
About the guest author
Gareth Simpson – Technical SEO & Startup Founder
Gareth is an SEO pro with over a decade in the industry. Now based in Bristol, UK, his specialisms are blogger outreach and guest content. You’ll find him at his desk, mastering spreadsheets and drinking green tea.