How much do your likes and faves influence the search ranking of your website? According to Google, not at all; they avoid social signals as ranking factors altogether.

Some SEO experts remain unconvinced, but one thing’s for certain; your social media presence can help you boost your website’s search performance. Here’s a few strategies for leveraging the power of social media for your SEO.

Get links pointing at your website

One of the most important factors Google considers when evaluating your site is the number of high­-quality links which are pointing at it. Generally speaking, the more people are linking to your site, the more your search performance will benefit.

In order to earn links, you need to be regularly creating engaging, valuable content that people will want to click on and share. Your social networking accounts serve as the perfect broadcasting vessel for your content, as users can simply click that ‘share’ or ‘retweet’ button to share it with their friends and followers.

What’s more, by maintaining an active social media presence and accumulating more engaged followers, you’ll be helping to promote yourself as a reliable source and users will be more inclined to link to your content.

Find timely keyword opportunities (and capitalise on them)

A great way to get more search traffic into your site is to piggyback on the current topics people are searching for. If you can put your own unique spin on a popular story, you stand a good chance of generating social buzz, building links and ranking highly in search results for that story.

So, how do you find out what keywords are trending? That’s where social media comes in!

Start by looking at the trending stories and hashtags on each network; while many of these won’t apply to your brand, you might find a few golden opportunities. For more relevant topics, find groups which have a connection to your business niche and see what they’re talking about.

From there, you can start creating content which is not only built around current topics but is also optimised for their associated keywords. Try to get your new content out there while the story is still fresh, and don’t forget to share it on social media with appropriate hashtags to increase your reach.

Make a habit of checking trending topics regularly, as new opportunities will be coming along all the time, and it’s important to jump on them before your competitors do!

Improve credibility to increase clicks

Though the jury’s still out, many SEO experts believe that click­through­rate is a big ranking factor for Google. The logic goes that if more users are clicking on a particular site listing on a results page, that site must be a more relevant result for that particular search term, so Google are more likely to prioritise it in future results rankings.

But users are less likely to click on your site if they haven’t heard of your brand before. Instead, they’re probably go with another site that they know they can trust.

But by using social media effectively and growing your following, you’ll not only expose your brand to more users but also establish yourself as a trustworthy brand that’s worth clicking on.

Be sure to include the URL of your site in your profile description across all your social accounts, as it will help to associate them more clearly with your website. It’s also wise to fill out your profile sections in full with keyword optimised copy, as this will help users find your accounts (not just via Google but also the search functions of the social platforms themselves).

Establish yourself as a local brand

Thanks to the growing popularity of voice and semantic search, local SEO is more important than ever. Google utilises knowledge of users’ geographic locations to provide more accurate and tailored results; for example, if you search for ‘italian restaurants’, Google will prioritise the restaurants that are closer to you in the results you see.

Your social media can be a handy tool for promoting your business as a big local player. Find fellow local businesses on social networks and start conversations with them; see if you can team up on promotional campaigns that benefit you both. Attend local events and provide coverage on your social accounts (Snapchat is great for this). Find groups with a local focus and engage with the communities there.

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