What do you associate with the term SEO? Does it conjure up thoughts of technical jargon and complex HTML coding? Do you instead take the view that content is king? Do you begin to sweat profusely at the overwhelming task of getting your website to rank on search engines?
You might be intrigued to know that SEO isn't always so technical. In the entire scheme of search engine optimization, social media has a useful role to play, one that compliments the internal and external components of a search friendly website.
Why Social Media Is Good for SEO
It encourages sharing
It's common to want content to "go viral." Many brands are hoping their content is distributed far and wide, especially if they've placed it on YouTube and Pinterest. User actions (shares, retweets, etc.) and user-generated content that occurs across social media platforms create a snowball effect, helping content to gain exponential popularity while telling other users that this particular post is worth viewing. The more a post is viewed, shared, or embedded, the more potential traffic your website can get.
It builds backlinks
Every website administrator knows that a backlink is useful for SEO. It tells Web crawlers that other websites find relevancy in this shared link. Not all links are made alike, however, which is why you will want to emphasize quality over quantity.
People have sometimes created multiple social profiles to simulate buzz for a brand. Google's search engine algorithms are designed to detect such spam-like content.
In the same way search engines are searching for endorsements from reputable Web sources, links from authentic and trusted sources will always be more effective.
Social media profiles/pages turn up in search results
Hashtags are the keywords of social media. Ever since Google+ and Facebook adopted them, they have caused pages, profiles, and posts to turn up in search results like a regular Web page would.
A company's Facebook page, for instance, might not be where the conversions take place, but if posts are optimized to be found by casual Web browsers, then that could result in higher click through rates from their social media platforms.
SEO Your Social Media
Do keyword research
The Google keyword tool is now more user-friendly than ever with a feature that allows you to create campaigns for a specific set of keywords; and it ties in seamlessly with its AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE).
You can now test how an ad campaign would perform before making the investment. On the most basic level, you will want to place keywords already pertaining to your business or your industry. These will probably be the keywords that you have already used for optimizing your website.
So, in the About or Bio sections of a social media profile, write copy that incorporates those keywords naturally. For example, if you are a social media marketing firm, then you will want to include terms like "social media" and "internet marketing" in your copy, depending on the scope of your services.
Always include the links back to your website. You might not be able to create anchor text in these sections, but at least your words can tell Google what your profile stands for. Allow your posts to house your keyword as well with hashtags and phrases like "Inquire about our social media marketing services." Hashtags increase your visibility, and they serve as anchor text in the content of your posts.
Know the differences between liking, recommending, and sharing
Liking and recommending a post are second best to sharing a post. A post that has been shared is more visible in the news feeds of social media users. Shared posts help to create more backlinks as well.
Give visitors a way to connect with you on your social profiles
It's a good idea to make sure that your social media profiles are visible on all primary pages of your website. They give your visitors multiple ways to contact and connect with you. Doing so is also good for your brand. As it pertains to SEO, though, you increase your chances of becoming a recommended source to the followers in the circles of those following you.
Essential Social Media Add-ons and Plugins
Google Authorship: Help Google know that you are a trusted source by associating the content you publish with your Google+ profile.
Twitter Card code: You can make your posts more engaging by installing a plugin. It will add other multimedia content to your tweets whenever you publish on your website or blog.
Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin: This plugin is a must-have SEO solution that will provide analytics, another form of authorship attribution, and XML sitemaps.
Outbrain: You give visitors the ability to rate your content with this feature.