SEO and social media is a match made in heaven. Check out this guide to see how to integrate these two efforts in a flash.
In case your invitation was lost in the mail, SEO and Social Media are getting hitched.
The search engine gods have brought this power couple together, with Google itself confirming that social signals directly influence search results and Facebook and Bing entering a direct partnership. In other words, if a piece of content receives a lot of tweets, Facebook likes and +1s, it’s likely to rank better for particular search queries.
Even more, social media content appears directly within specific search results. For example, when I searched “how to make cupcakes,” notice how two YouTube videos made it in the top five results:
Now that you see why it’s so important for you to join your SEO and social media forces, let’s talk about how to make it happen.
How to Integrate SEO and Social Media
The name of the game here is to take best practices from SEO and apply them to social media, and vice-versa. Here are my seven best tips to get started:
1. Have a fully active social media presence
While this tip seems obvious, your first move is to claim profiles on popular social media networks. Once that’s done, make sure that you’re active on these channels, posting new and fresh content in the form of articles, videos, pictures, etc. on a consistent basis.
2. Link your website to your social media profiles
This one’s another no-brainer, but it’s quite important. Linking to your social media channels directly from your website is a great way to turn casual shoppers into fans and followers. Keep in mind that to see any SEO gains from your social efforts, you’ll need to have a captive audience to consume and share your content. Bonus tip: add links back to your website from each of your social profiles for an extra boost.
3. Make it easy for people to find/share your content
If shares directly impact search results, getting more shares is the name of the game. This means that you need to make it as easy as possible for others to share your content via social networks. You can do so by adding social share buttons to your product pages and using social plugins on your blog, just like we do:
4. Encourage people to share and engage with your content
Again, the idea here is to move people from just observing your content to actually interacting with it. To do so, you can implement simple calls-to-action (CTAs) that encourage people to like, tweet, share and discuss your content. For example, after posting your latest YouTube video to Facebook, give users a CTA directly in your timeline message, like this:
5. Add your content to social bookmarking sites
Sharing your content to social bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit and Pinterest presents an opportunity for a completely new set of users to see your work. This is a quick and easy way to drive traffic back to your site and social channels while making your content much easier to share.
6. Apply SEO insights to social media, and vice-versa
You can learn a lot about what people are interested in by diving into your Google Analytics. Namely, you’ll want to see which keywords are most popular in driving traffic to your site and identify long-tail keywords that are high converters. After that, you can create content that directly targets those keywords.
Or, if you’re looking to better optimize a piece of content, you can use keyword research tools (try Google’s Keyword Tool) to find additional keywords to target. For example, if I’m writing a piece that focuses on “how to make cupcakes,” these keywords might also be useful to include in my post:
From a social media standpoint, you can use Facebook Insights to see which Facebook posts are most popular. Doing so allows you to discover topics that are most interesting to users, which helps you better create content that people want to engage with.
7. Create content that people actually want to share
No matter how many tips and tricks you use, the key to a happy SEO and social media marriage revolves around quality, relevant content. In other words, no one will share your content just because you optimize it and add a few share features here and there. Instead, you need to create a variety of content pieces that are of interest to your users. Doing so will naturally lead to more social shares and higher search rankings.
Whether or not you object to this SEO and Social Media union, start looking for a nice wedding gift – this marriage is one that’ll last ‘til death do they part.
(FYI: the couple is registered at Crate & Barrel.)
-Matt Winn, Social Media Manager, Volusion