How to Use Social Media for SEO
There are numerous benefits to engaging in social media marketing. Some are tangible (number of Likes, Fans and Followers) and some are not (enhanced customer service, brand recognition and developing lasting relationships). You may not fully "get" social media, but you can't deny that it is important and should be included in your overall marketing campaign. Social media is here to stay, and it is up to you to make sure your company uses it to their best advantage.
SEO is another field of marketing online that has earned itself a permanent spot in the marketing campaigns of many companies. With millions of searches being conducted every day, a company that can't be found in the search engines is practically invisible. SEO isn't just about ranking well; it's about building your online brand. There are many factors that affect how a site ranks in the search engines and SEO is about optimizing your site as best as possible to help it succeed.
However, SEO and social media marketing shouldn't exist in separate silos. In truth, there should be an element of SEO in all of your online activities, as well as finding a way to leverage your offline marketing methods online. As social media marketing matures, it is becoming clearer and clearer that it has an impact on a site's SEO.
Here are a few ways you can use your social media marketing activities to aid your SEO:
Create Social Networking Profiles
Aside from the big three of social media (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) there are literally hundreds of smaller social networking sites for every kind of audience. Each of these profiles has the potential to rank in the search engines, increasing your brand presence online. Keep in mind that you should only create profiles on sites that you actually intend to be involved with. While creating a profile to just get the link is okay, an active profile is going to be worth much more in the long run. Social networking sites are a great place to establish relationships with consumers and build a strong community.
Incorporate Keywords into Tweets and Posts
Twitter only gives you 140 characters, so space is limited. It is a great way to share a link to your blog, an article, video or any other form of content. Incorporating keywords into the Tweet (perhaps as a hash tag, stylized as #keyword) helps that Tweet get pulled into a results page by the search engines. On Facebook, you have more room to target keywords in your posts. The title of your post is a great place to incorporate keywords. You can also write a short description about the content of each post, another good spot to target keywords.
Drive Traffic to Your Main Site
If you are going to post blog posts on your Facebook or LinkedIn page, don't throw up the whole post. Include a snippet and call-to-action that drives visitors from your social networking profile over to your company blog. Having someone read the whole post on your social profile doesn't give you the chance to lead them further into your site.
On your site, you can include links to your social media profiles, but they shouldn't be prominently featured. Why would you want to send traffic away from your site? What good is getting someone to Like you on Facebook if you want them to purchase your product? They are already on your site, don't send them away. Otherwise, what is the point all of your SEO? Your social media profiles should serve as gateways to your main site, not the other way around.
Reach Out to Influential Social Media Personalities
Every industry has a leader that your target audience looks to for advice. These influential personalities can help better position your brand in front of that audience. Connecting with them on social networking sites is the first step in building a relationship with them. Social media marketing is a give and take. You can't expect others to share your content if you don't share theirs. Google has also admitted they take author authority into account when looking at social media to influence the search results. A link or story shared by an active user has more weight and worth than that same link when shared by a spam account. Quantity is great, but sometimes quality is worth more overall.
Publish Content Within Reasonable Time Frame
Did you know that content posted on a social networking site has a shelf life? A recent study found that Facebook posts get 50% of their likes in the first 80 minutes. However, it takes 22 hours for that same post to get 95% of its Likes. Publishing too frequently means that you'll push your content out. Publishing too infrequently means you'll lose the engagement of your community. Content marketing is a critical component of SEO, but it is a fine line between too much and too little content.
Many sites allow for "social sign-in," meaning you can leave a comment using your Facebook login information. Your activity on these sites is then linked to your Facebook account and gets published on your wall. Depending on how much blog commenting you are doing as a part of your link building campaign, you could be flooding Facebook with your actions. Some of your network might feel like you are spamming them and un-Like your page.
You also have to look at your target audience to best determine when you should be posting content. Another study found that "companies that post content on their Facebook pages outside normal business hours see engagement rates that are 20% higher than average."
About The Author: Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, a Boston SEO services company. With over 12 years of industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by posting daily SEO tips to his blog, the Search Engine Optimization Journal, and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO newsletter, read by over 130,000 opt–in subscribers. Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-350-4365 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: SiteProNews * May 23, 2011 * Issue #1544
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