Why social media is the SEO queen of the digital kingdom

Chess Queen

Chess Queen

By: Lelanie Roux and Madré Roothman

There’s nothing like the satisfaction of checking your website analytics and proudly looking at the organic traffic giving your website the authority it deserves. Many say that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has slowly dwindled into the claws of death, but it is your organic search traffic that proves the “many” wrong.

Now that your website has the authority and the ranking you have worked so hard to achieve, the next step is to investigate how you can turn those visits into loyal, engaging customers. Just like SEO is very much not dead, Social Media still reigns as the channel through which you can most effectively engage with your customers.

Social is a strategy

Coming up with a strategy to improve your organic search results is pivotal to the success of a website. A key metric to driving those visits into conversions is, amongst other things, the power of connecting with customers on a personal level.

AKA “engagement”.

According to Avinash Kaushik, one of the key elements in analytics is your customers, as they are the ones who help drive business sales and leads. Also, according to Business Insider, Social Media is the top internet activity amongst online users. It makes sense then to engage with your customers through social media to help boost engagement. To help boost SEO. To help boost sales. What we’re talking about here is Social Media Optimisation (SMO).

Social media strategy and SMO
There are many factors to take into consideration when looking at SMO, especially since each channel has its own set of algorithms. One example includes Pinterest and optimising pins for SEO purposes. Another includes the benefits of having a Google+ account and how it can help you gain brand authority. But most importantly, you should know what your business objectives are – this will guide your online conversations. A few focus points here include:

Identifying trending topics
Tapping into trending topics online is excellent for engagement (despite the fact that it might become quickly outdated).
Why?
Not only are trending topics ideal for social media campaigns, but they can also serve as an advantage for content marketing. When combined, SEO and SMO are a bit like Cersei and Jaime Lannister – close as twins and powerful as ever.

Hashtags
Without being too spammy through #hashtagging #all #your #words #and #making #reading #difficult, hashtags help to:

  • Create conversation (drive engagement)
  • Improve searchability
  • Expand your content reach
  • Target your market more efficiently when talking about things they are interested in
  • Add comic value, and (when all these things work together)
  • Boost SEO.

Links
Social Media is not a channel that exists solely for stalking old friends or complaining about life. It is an opportunity to share quality links and have an audience organically share those links on their own social profiles. According to Static Brain, over 1 million links are shared on Facebook every 20 minutes.

The better your social strategy, the more likely it is that tweets with your website link will be retweeted – that Facebook posts showcasing your latest digital offering will be shared – and that your Pin will be Repinned on a loyal customer’s Pinterest board.

According to Social Media Today, 95% (or more) of all links from SEO link building never bring a single new visitor to your website. Social links, on the other hand, have the potential to be engaged with and drive customers to your website. We put our trust in Google, and Google says “Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct more users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media, services, email, forums, or other means.” Yes, Google mentioned social media when talking about SEO. And we all know – Google is always right.

Keywords

One way of determining which keywords to use is through a Google AdWords account. Another way of determining which keywords to use is simply by knowing what your customers want and through looking at things like:

  • Query variances
  • Customer behaviour on different platforms
  • Queries vs conversations
  • Optimising your channel.

Many potential and existing customers realise that they can now search for a product or company within social media channels. In layman’s terms, social media now operates much like a search engine. It’s pretty handy.

Google and the social media algorithm
How does Google search work? It discovers, crawls and serves webpages to people who browse the web based on relevant searches. The three focus points on delivering searches are based on Google’s:

  • Crawling – How Google finds a website
  • Indexing – The Googlebot processes webpages and compiles an index
  • Serving – Serving webpages most relevant to the user.

How do social media algorithms work?

Each channel has its own set of algorithms, with the main focus being egagement. The more users engage with your content, the more likely it is to be seen by their friends/followers. Each shared piece of content increases the authority of your website/domain, driving traffic and indexing content as “valuable”.

So, the higher your content ranks in a channel, the more likely it is that people willl engage with that content, and in turn, the more likely it is that Google will index it as “valuable” content.

To wrap things up
Next time you’re questioning the time and effort being ploughed into your business’ social pages, wondering whether your investment in these social channels carries any sort of ROI, or sighing at the latest trending hashtag…reconsider. Social Media’s powers are becoming increasingly undeniable in the digital kingdom.

Image: Christopher Irwin via Flickr.

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