First of all, currently, Google treats social media networks like any other website so in other words, Likes on Facebook or number of followers on Twitter does not affect how your website is ranked in search. On the other hand, your social media profile can rank in its own right and in the case of Google+ many brands use it to rank their posts in search as G+ posts and profiles tend to do very well. This probably will change in the future (I hope it does) but Social Media provides a more indirect benefit to search engine optimisation, let me explain:
Content Driven SEO is recognised to be the new SEO (Actually it always was SEO but that’s another blog post altogether). With Google Panda and Penguin penalising low-quality sites with flakey content or unnatural links (designed to help the site rank) webmasters and SEOs need to ensure their websites are worthy of receiving links naturally rather than artificially creating them. This requires creating a website that visitors enjoy and find useful and creating content that satisfies the intent of searchers.
All in all, building authority helps establish a website and creating relevant content that users enjoy helps extend your reach and rank you in search for more terms.
Social Media is a big part of this. Your social media followers follow you because they like to see your posts and read what you have to say. Engaging with your followers regularly helps expand your social media network and done right, grows perpetually.
How does SEO & Content fit into this picture?
We bang on about blogging for SEO for several reasons such as increasing the number of relevant terms your site may rank for, establishing you as knowledgeable in your industry but it also indirectly helps SEO in the following ways:
Imagine you research and write a piece of content, perhaps it’s a survey you’ve performed by canvassing your clients which yields some interesting results. You share this on Social Media, not just once, but regularly (along with your other blogs both old and new). This particular blog encourages your followers to engage with you asking questions or discussing your survey. This in turn, makes this content visible to your followers followers who also engage and then your followers, followers, followers and so on.
At some point, an influential blogger or perhaps a journalist notices your blog (or maybe you’ve mentioned them in a tweet gently asking them for their opinion on your survey!). This “influencer” engages and your blog sky rockets, they also publish details of your survey on their own blog or website.
The result of this is not only increased reach in Social Media (and followers) but you’ve also gained avery relevant “Editorial link” (which is not against Google Guidelines) from an influential website which in turn benefits your SEO AND sends you relevant referral traffic. In addition, your blog ranks well in search in its own right which increases the number of search terms your site appears for in search engines.
This can be further amplified by promoting your content on Twitter or Facebook to further increase its reach (and targeting those more likely to share it).
Multiply this over 2,10,50 or even 100 blogs over months and years and you can quickly get an understanding of the potential.
Social Media / Content Sharing Circle of Life:
- You create an interesting blog post that you share with your social media audience.
- Your captive audience engage with you and share your content to their followers who in turn love your masterpiece and share it with their followers and so on. Your content is getting discovered because it’s being discussed on Social Media.
- Your blog gets discovered by Social Media influencers, perhaps a journalist or industry expert that then references your blog post on their own website or blog. This creates natural links to your website which in turn helps improve the “rank ability” of your website but also further increases the reach and authority of your content.
- These social media influencers then share their content which references your content resulting in yet more reach from both social media and referral traffic from the influencers website or blog
How Often Should I Tweet / Post my Content?
Every day, in the case of Twitter your followers are only going to see a snapshot of your posts at the moment they view their newsfeed: my Twitter feed spans about 3 minutes so unless someone posts 3 mins before I log in, I probably won’t see their Tweets unless I visit their profile.
How often you should tweet depends on what you have to say, but I’d separate your tweets into categories such as:
- Content (Sharing your content)
- Content (Sharing other content)
- Engaging with other users
It’s all about balance but your primary focus should be engaging with other users, after all it’s called Social NETWORKING for a reason so network. Promotional Tweets should be done but they shouldn’t make up the bulk of your tweets and make sure you share some of your content shared daily too. When sharing your content don’t just do it to “do it”, experiment with different tweet text so for example:
Did you know that 10% of our clients eat ice cream every Tuesday? See more weird stats here: www.linktosurvey.com
Is likely to get more engagement and clicks than:
We did a survey: www.linktosurvey.com
Using tools like Buffer you can quickly schedule your content to post regularly and then go back and look at how your tweets performed. The same broadly applies to Facebook and Google+ but make sure you remember to share your content regularly, don’t just share it once.
It’s tough. Don’t expect people to just share your content because you’ve posted it. Concentrate on building a relevant audience and engaging with them. Once you build relationships with your followers you’ll find they’ll become more willing to share your content which in turn will help your content get discovered by influential users that may choose to link to it and/or share it with their own network. Any natural links you gain will help your SEO whilst the additional reach gained by increasing your followers will help get your content shared more often in future.
This blog is a summary and probably a little simplistic but is indicative of how using social media can amplify your content which can help your SEO efforts. And finally, if you’re struggling to decide what to blog about, see our “Blog Without the Slog” Guide.