Social media and SEO are merging. Social media is having a bigger and bigger impact on SEO every day. In fact, in a year or two, your social media strategy and your SEO strategy will probably go hand in hand.
For the moment though, social media is just one factor in SEO. One very important and growing factor. If you can learn to use social media right, you can significantly boost your rankings while building a strong social media base. Here’s how to do it.
Funnel Your Connections to Social Media
A lot of people put up a Facebook page or a Twitter feed and just hope people show up. That doesn’t work. Instead, when you launch a new social media initiative, do a big push to your existing contacts.
Tell your email list. Tell your friends. Send emails to specific people. Ask people you know to join. Get the conversation started and get the ball rolling.
Social media will only help your SEO if you have an active community. Build an active community by watering the seeds.
Actively Cultivate Buzz
Actively cultivate buzz. Get people talking. Ask for comments, ask for shares or offer to answer question. You can even bribe your audience. Try offering a $10 gift card to whoever gives the best answer to a question.
Google’s social media algorithm reads many things:
- Your number of comments
- Your number of shares
- Your number of likes
- Your number of retweets
- The ratio of followers to active participants
- Spam signals
- Positive vs. Negative sentiment (e.g. a brand that’s getting a lot of complaints might see a lot of comments, but it’s actually bad for SEO. Google can “read” comments to a certain extent.)
As you can tell, fake or low quality followers won’t cut it. You have to cultivate real buzz and generate real conversations.
Leverage Social Media Relationships
In addition to giving you an SEO boost, social media is a great way to build relationships. Other website owners, bloggers, journalists and other influencers will start to follow you. Build those relationships.
When the time is right, reach out to them. Ask for a backlink. Ask for a retweet. Ask for a mention on their blog. This can be a powerful source of high quality backlinks.
Be a Show Off
Use widgets to “show off.” Put the Facebook widget on your website to show how many likes you have. Place a Twitter widget on your site to show how many followers you have.
For one, this helps build social proof and makes you seem more credible. More importantly, it tells Google that you and the page are linked. If you don’t showcase your Facebook page, Google can’t know that the page is owned by you. Link your Facebook page and your Twitter feed to your website for maximum SEO benefit.