How Social Media Affects SEO #Seocafe

Anastasia Sidko

Apr 07, 20166 min read
How Social Media Affects SEO

Despite all the doubts about social media’s direct impact on SEO efforts, one cannot deny that these two practices are tightly interwoven and share the same ultimate goal – attracting new users. In our latest #SEOcafe chat we discussed the best strategies for integrating SEO and social media, the main challenges, and the future of their relationship with our special guest Gabriella Sannino @SEOcopy, the Founder of Level343, global SEO consultant and strategist.

How Can SEO and Social Media Complement Each Other?

Despite the fact that search engines ensure social media signals do not have a direct impact on website rankings, experience proves that social media is a powerful tool for leveraging your SEO. Here are some ways social media can impact your organic visibility:

  • Social media is a proven way to amplify your content distribution and cover a wider audience
  • Apart from increased visibility, social likes and shares lead to longer content life
  • Links to your content from social media can speed up your content indexation
  • When users follow links from social media, it increases traffic to your website
  • A strong social media presence improves your brand recognition
  • Social media gives you the opportunity to understand which type of content is more or less engaging and adjust your content strategy
  • Companies’ social media profiles are likely to appear at the top of SERPs for branded keywords
  • Google+ has a direct impact on rankings in local search

As we can see, SEO and social media amplify each other and are most powerful when united. That means SEO and SMM specialists need to develop a joint workflow for maximum effect.

A good starting point is joint planning, so that SEO and SMM teams can adjust the key messages they want to share with their audience and create a dual content plan. This allows both teams to schedule content around key dates , events or product launches and to get more audience interaction.

Keep optimization in mind when creating content for social media posts – include keywords in your messages.

By using social media properly, you can earn quality backlinks that will bring actual traffic to your website. “Social gives you a playground for prospective link opportunities,” explains Gabriella Sannino. There are few ways to gain links using social media:

  • Links from shared content. A piece of content shared on social media can bring new visitors to your website, but this is only the beginning. If this piece of content is reshared and retweeted, its reach expands and chances are a blogger or journalist will come across it and feature it in their article.
  • Links from social media profiles. Not all social media platforms allow dofollow links, but they are still one more opportunity to get traffic to your website.
  • Links that are gained by outreach. Established relationships with industry experts and opinion leaders can help your content reach a new, expanded audience.

You’ll find more creative opportunities for link building in the article “ 22 Social Media Linking Opportunities You’re Missing Out On” by Matthew Woodward.

Here are some tips for more efficient link building with social media:

  • Make your content easy to share – ensure you’ve added social sharing buttons on your website. You can also add buttons for sharing specific types of content like videos, pictures, e-books, etc.
  • If you’ve mentioned or quoted someone in a post, tag them when sharing it. That way, you’ll give them proper credit and make sure they see your content and probably share it with their own audience.
  • Track mentions of your branded keywords and reach out to the authors to thank them and – if it is appropriate – to ask for a link.

What Conflicts and Challenges Could an SEO and a Social Media Manager Face When Collaborating?

As we’ve already pointed out above, it is important to coordinate the efforts of SEOs and social media managers. Lack of communication inevitably leads to conflicts.

Aligning goals is also important. How can you reach your final destination if you’re moving in opposite directions?

Failure to develop joint topics and key messages is another challenge that SEO and social media teams face.

How Can User-Generated Content Help Your Search Marketing Efforts and What Are Some Cool Ways to Utilize It?

What exactly do we mean by user-generated content? Simply put, it is any form of content that is created by your audience: reviews and testimonials, blog or social media posts, content from webinars, Twitter chats or social media contests, and so on. User-generated content can bring some valuable benefits:

It provides you with a constant flow of fresh, free content, which not only features your product and impacts your rankings, but also gives you insights into your audience’s interests. It is especially important for e-commerce websites, which often suffer from a lack of valuable, original content.

  • It gives you the opportunity to better understand your customers, to know the language that they use to describe your products and services, and to discover your brand’s strengths and weaknesses. “You can use user-generated content for keyword research and customer research,” says Obed.M.
  • It can serve as social proof and improve your brand reputation. By featuring positive feedback and testimonials on your website, you increase your brand’s trustworthiness and encourage people to become your customers.
  • It impacts your SEO. The more your company is mentioned, tagged or linked to, the better your search visibility will be.

Here are some ideas for encouraging user-generated content creation:

  1. Organize an online event (webinar, Twitter chat. etc.)
  2. Ask questions, encourage users to share their opinions and stories
  3. Promote contests and quizzes on social media
  4. Encourage users to comment on your blog posts

How Will the Relationship Between SEO and Social Evolve in the Future?

Today, people are using social media not only to interact and communicate, but also to find what they are looking for. So, social media platforms are actually turning into search engines themselves. 

Even if today search engines claim that the use of social media doesn’t directly impact SEO, that doesn’t mean it never will in the future. There’s no reason why social signals won’t become a ranking factor at some point. So by leveraging this marketing channel today, you not only reap immediate benefits, but also invest in future.

To sum it up: one can do successful SEO without using social media. But, as we’ve already seen, social media and SEO are more powerful when used together, so why miss the chance to leverage your efforts?

That's it for today! And what does your experience tell about relationship between SEO and social media? Please, share your thoughts in the comments!

Author Photo
Anastasia Sidko, Content Manager at Semrush. I have four years of experience in content creation and public relations. My areas of interest include SEO, digital marketing and content marketing.