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From Likes to Links: Amplifying SEO Through Social Media

It’s hard to imagine the internet without social media, isn’t it? From Facebook feeds to Instagram stories and everything in between, social media has given consumers and brands alike the space to turn content into conversation, presenting audiences with a more casual way to engage with companies and providing marketers with a broad spectrum of ways to communicate with users.

Likewise, it’s hard to imagine digital marketing without search engine optimization, the common framework used to enhance website traffic and authority through unpaid, often indirect user traffic. High search engine rankings allow brands to stay competitive and top of mind for their consumers, so it’s safe to call SEO a vital component of any digital marketing effort.

But what’s the overlap between these two pillars of the digital age, and how can marketers better navigate the nuances of social media to enhance their overall SEO performance and brand visibility?

 

SEO Ranking and Social Media: A Primer

A quick refresher on search rankings: Google rates results on four primary guidelines, known as E.E.A.T.:

  • Experience: Was the content produced with some degree of experience with the product or subject matter at hand?
  • Expertise: Does the content display in-depth knowledge and relevant qualifications related to the topic?
  • Authoritativeness: Does the content come from a well-known or reputable source?
  • Trustworthiness: Is the content factually accurate, free of misinformation or misrepresentations and safe for users?

If content can rate highly on these four criteria, there’s a good chance that it’ll appear in front of wider and wider audiences, ranking higher up in the search engine results pages for target audiences.

As any marketing professional will tell you, though, it’s far from guaranteed that this will be the case. Digital marketing and SEO are about finding ways to further expand a brand’s visibility by building on top of these four criteria, refining their digital presence until they become an intractable part of their industry’s digital ecosystem.

To this end, social media can be a boon for brands seeking to connect more regularly and meaningfully with their audiences. While social media-borne posts, polls and comments may not directly impact SEO rankings, they go a long way toward indirectly driving organic, unpaid traffic and increasing overall brand visibility.

It can be hard to put into words how a comprehensive social media presence can positively influence a brand’s overall engagement levels when compared to more conventional marketing methods, but the results speak for themselves. According to a 2023 study by Statista, 86% of industry professionals reported increased exposure thanks to social media, with 76% also reporting noticeable traffic increases thanks to social media platforms. While Google has been a bit iffy on the specifics between “social signals” and SEO performance, marketers have found a strong correlation between social media network activity and SERP rankings.

So what is it exactly about social media that amplifies a brand’s voice and pushes them to the top of the SERPs? In a word (or three): increased brand visibility.

 

Social Media as a Spotlight for Brand Visibility

If paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising means putting your ads in front of the users you want to engage with, social media marketing and other organic marketing methods mean that users will more likely seek you out themselves. For every social signal such as a shared blog post or a comment on a photo, brands can slowly but surely build up their digital presence and expand their expertise and authority through the social media channels most often frequented by their user base.

This presence can take many shapes depending on the social media channel in question. Below are just a few ways that this expanded brand visibility can start to take shape:

  • Asked and Answered: Message board-centric platforms such as Reddit or groups created by brand or industry-specific enthusiasts on Facebook or Instagram can be popular results for users looking for answers to product-specific questions or in search of niche digital communities.
  • Decentralized Content Distribution: Thanks to modern miracles such as the copy + paste function and the “share” button, brands aren’t the only ones able to disseminate their content to engaged and interested audiences. Industry professionals, competitors and prospective consumers alike can share or repost branded content to their heart’s content, widening the existing vectors of engagement and giving users the chance to put your content in front of audiences primed for engagement.
  • Extending the Lifespan of Content: When a company first shares a link with its audience through social media, that’s hardly the last time it’ll be on someone’s feed. Brand-generated reposts give companies the space to refresh content relevant to any given marketing strategy or consumer trend, keeping their content in the conversation for as long as possible.
  • More Engagement, More Authority: According to Sprout Social, 51% of surveyed consumers say they remember brands that respond to user reviews or comments on social media platforms. 68% of consumers also say that they follow branded social media accounts to stay up to date on new products and services. Taken together, this tells us that brands that make an effort to speak directly with users via social media can turn their social hubs into opportunities for increased engagement, giving audiences more chances than ever to start sliding down the Buyer Funnel on their way to becoming brand advocates.

Given social media’s unique place in our modern digital ecosystem and the broad, somewhat opaque ways that SEO performance intersects with social media engagement, brands shouldn’t be surprised that social media isn’t a panacea for all of their traffic and performance woes. Instead, an effective social media presence that complements and expands on existing brand authority can be an effective tool as marketers look to amplify brand visibility through engaging, enticing content and social signals.

With these goals in mind, what efforts can your brand undertake to turn these brand visibility goals into reality?

 

Integrating Social Media Strategies with SEO

Treating your brand’s social media presence as a natural extension of its existing SEO efforts is the first step towards creating a holistic, omnichannel brand voice that draws audiences in without the usual artifice or stigma of “branded content.” To further refine your social media approach, we’ve consolidated a few high-level tips below that can better assist burgeoning brands in cultivating a more deliberate and productive social media presence:

  • Optimize Your Social Profiles: From smaller, maintenance-like tasks to larger adjustments borne out of a recent brand refresh or the launch of a major new product or service, your brand’s social profiles should be evolving alongside your main site and give users myriad opportunities to quickly and easily flit between your social media accounts and your most popular site pages. Be sure to keep your profile, cover and other photos regularly updated, and don’t neglect to add plenty of links to ensure that your audience always knows where to find more information. Be sure to tailor your social media accounts and content to your target demographics as well, whether you’re speaking to Baby Boomers or B2B audiences.
  • Craft Shareable Content: Content provides brands with valuable backlinking opportunities that can be difficult to capture otherwise, so marketers would be wise to entice users into spreading their content far and wide. “How To” articles or video content are often the most effective at generating leads among social media users, but each and every industry has its own nuances and preferences that lend themselves to one type of content or another, from tutorials related to contemporary topics to evergreen posts. Once you find the content type that’s right for your brand, build upon it with subsequent posts that keep the conversation flowing such as polls, infographics or user-submitted comments or testimonials.
  • Fold Keywords into Content: Keywords shouldn’t  just live in headlines and meta descriptions. To more effectively capitalize on keyword traffic and double down on the phrase, match or long tail keywords most relevant to your brand, be sure to include these keywords in your content copy. Now, to be clear, we’re not saying you should be stuffing keywords into each and every sentence or paragraph; instead, the keywords should be natural additions to the content that underscore the copy’s central topics without becoming redundant.
  • Engage, Engage, Engage: Conversations taking place on your social media profiles should seldom be one-sided. If you find that users are engaging with your brand, then you should be prepared to engage right back. Respond to comments, react to user-submitted photos, and give your audience the space to be heard. This especially applies to user-submitted reviews of your brand’s products or services, since these serve as additional opportunities to improve brand visibility, elevate your brand authority and build trust between you and your customers.
  • Eyes on the Prize (and KPIs): As with any campaign, setting specific, granular goals can give you invaluable insight into what does and doesn’t work for your social channels by focusing on the key performance indicators (KPIs) most relevant to your brand’s success. Certain KPIs such as follower count, shares and impressions may seem like the most indicative of a brand’s social reach and year over year growth, but other metrics like clickthrough rate and lead conversion rate can tell a more robust story about how effectively your socials are pointing back to your most effective internal links. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for data points that can give you further insight into your performance relative to your competitors, especially share of voice and new follower metrics. These metrics can give you a better understanding of which trends are most effective on a given platform or which type of post content users are finding engaging.

 

Send Your Social Signals

Social media provides a dynamic and interactive platform for companies to engage with their audiences and amplify their brand visibility, turning casual followers into loyal customers over the course of a handful of posts. While social media may not directly influence SEO rankings, its indirect benefits are substantial, driving organic traffic and increasing brand exposure while solidifying a comprehensive online presence.

By understanding the interplay between social media and SEO, brands can harness the power of social signals to boost their search engine performance. Optimizing social media profiles, creating shareable content, engaging with audiences, and tracking key metrics not only improve SEO efforts, but also foster a more engaged and loyal customer base.

As you integrate social media strategies into your SEO efforts, remember that the end goal is not just increased traffic but also a more meaningful connection with your audience. By continuously analyzing and adjusting your strategies based on performance data, you can ensure that your social media presence remains vibrant and effective.

To learn more about how to craft a deliberate and engaging social media sphere for your brand, get in touch with our marketing experts at leverinteractive.com/contact.

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