"It’s an ecosystem really – search results give way to links/mentions/shares which give way to more authority, and ultimately better ranking, and even more links/mentions/shares." ~ Marshall Simmonds, Wall Street Journal Chief Search Strategist
Social media doesn’t directly impact SEO; however, there are several ways that you can indirectly improve your search rank by leveraging social:
1. Social insights improve your content
Ongoing engagement and content posting creates a real-time feedback loop. For instance, after a week of sharing content at a regular cadence, you’ll have a sense of which content your audience enjoys enough to share, comment, or take the extra step to fill out a form. Additionally, social and CMS tools allow for feedback and insights to target your content and promotion based on trending topics, audience sentiment, and actions and engagement.
2. Increase visibility with inbound links
SEO relies on third party citations - outside sources from relevant sites. By leveraging the viral effect of social sharing, you’ll increase the likelihood of having your content referenced by more, and hopefully quality or authoritative, external sites. For example, should you share your latest mobile apps blog post on Twitter and Linkedin, and a contributor to AllthingsD cites your post in one of their related articles, your search ranking will improve more than if your aunt were to add your post to her food blog. AllthingsD is obviously more authoritative on tech topics than a cooking blog, and by being associated with a well-known subject matter expert, your blog post is also considered more relevant to the search engine.
3. Learn the caveat for social’s effects on SEO: Google+
When another user +1s your content, your content’s ranking will be more visible to users within your network who are also signed in to a Google property. While it’s not a powerful offpage action, Google+ actions can directly affect your search rank.
So, what can you do off-page to improve your social and SEO efforts?
- Maintain your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Pinterest, and Youtube accounts with visually-interesting, timely content.
- Create and curate content that performs well with your existing audience, and monitor social for topics that appeal to new target audiences.
- Adjust your content strategy to doubledown on content that improves social sharing. This will indirectly improve SEO.
- Max out the opportunities for viewers to share your content. Add share (like, tweet, stumble, etc) and follow buttons to your blog and website.
- Develop and maintain relationships with influencers, journalists, and vocal customers. Influencer and advocacy marketing will boost your SEO too.