How Social Can Help Your SEO
As the millennial generation gets closer to being a majority of the workforce, the span of patience when it comes to Google searches keeps shrinking. People want results and they want them fast, making the need for high SEO rankings more important for brands every day. At Spredfast, we make a practice of incorporating SEO tactics into our blog in large part because we know attention spans are so brief, and SEO so critical. But as a social company, we also go beyond basic SEO techniques to dig into social media’s impact on SEO—which we believe is inarguable.
The Relationship between SEO and Social: It’s Complicated
As social media became more relevant, SEO experts started focusing in on social and the impact that it had. In 2014, though, Matt Cutts, a software engineer from Twitter, stated in a video that checking social influence was not something taken into account in Google’s SEO algorithm at the time. This then became the origin of the argument that social did not affect SEO rankings. Recently, however, Google’s search algorithm changed, and the Google Panda algorithm has become a major indicator in SEO ranking.
The Google Panda Update
Google Panda is a ranking filter. It works just as you’d expect: the Panda algorithm goes through sites and evaluates their legitimacy. The main idea to keep in mind here is that the more professional and reliable your site is, the better the ranking it will receive from Google Panda. The goal with the 2015 update was to weed out unethical SEO tactics. Google found that a lot of people were cheating their way into high SEO rankings, yet their sites were unreliable and of poor quality. The more you can prove that your site is valid, the better it will do—and a good way to go about doing that is through social.
Back to Social and Why It Matters
Social only continues to grow in power, influence, and numbers. Due to this growth, social standing has become every user's goal. The status you hold on social is a reflection of by two factors: number of followers, and quality of the content. No matter what, your content has to be excellent, consistently. It is not simple just because it is social, so do not ever slack on a post. High-level content lures in followers, and the more followers you have, the larger the audience you have influence over. Your status on social can change the entire reputation of your company. This is one of the reasons social has an influence on your SEO ranking. Your social platforms can be used to validate your site’s reputability. If you are verified or have an impressive amount of followers, then that is proof that you are not an amateur. Having a big following says that you are professional, you are valid, and you have an audience that is actively and voluntarily choosing to listen to you.
Social and the influence that it can lend people has even changed industries. A great example of this has been the sports industry. Sports brands have had to adjust to the fact that athletes have so much influence and power with fans due to their strong presence on social. They’ve acted accordingly, finding ways to use that influence to their advantage. This influence leads us to a second reason incorporating social can raise your SEO ranking: sharing. If you have a strong following on social, and you post a link to your site on your social platforms, then not only will the site get a high volume of hits, but you could also receive a high volume of shares. The more shares you receive, the more the site spreads, and the more well known and reputable you become.
Even More Tips for SEO + Social
The sharing cycle can also work in reverse: You can put internal links to your social platforms on your posts, resulting in a cycle of more followers, more shares, and more site hits. Also, if you have a loyal audience reading your content, then you raise your chances of being mentioned in other sites, blogs, or social platforms. Take advantage of the fact that you have people interested in your brand, product, or site. Go through your following and see if you have any followers who are worth reaching out to and creating a relationship with so that they can mention you, or put you as an internal or external source on their site. The more sophisticated your audience is, the more it benefits your reputation. If you build social relationships with audience members who you think would benefit your status, then their following becomes part of that relationship as well. The list of positive outcomes goes on and on—for even more, check out this article that we found provides more specific, and detailed processes that you can take to raise your SEO.
In a hurry? Here are a few basic techniques to make your content SEO-friendly
- Make sure your title is SEO-friendly: We like to think of phrases our readers would type into their Google search if they were looking for the post. Google’s keyword tool in Adwords can be a huge help here, too, for a data-based strategy.
- Pepper keywords throughout your post: Make sure that the keywords are incorporated into the post naturally, though. If it seems like you stuffed keywords in solely for the purpose of SEO, it actually might hurt your ranking.
- Add internal and external links: Be careful with this tactic. If the links are not official or respectable, then it will substantially hurt your ranking.
- Add alt tags to your images: Try to describe the picture. Again, we like to think about what our readers would search if they were looking for the image.
Having a strong social status is an SEO strategy that has a long list of pros and a nonexistent list of cons. Some even have said that social status is poised to become the new SEO as social continues to grow. Achieving a strong influence on social and good SEO ranking though, can be a long, slow, and tedious task, but it can only end in beneficial outcomes if done correctly—making it, in our opinion, worth the time and the investment alike.