Social media and the search engines are intrinsically connected which presents a unique opportunity to leverage both marketing channels to help grow your business. The major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing take hundreds of factors into consideration when ranking a website to relevant searches. Social media has become another one of the factors to help the search engines better determine what content online is the best quality and should be ranked for people performing relevant searches.
Here are the top opportunities to leverage search engine optimization and social media for your business.
1. Create Relatable Content
The fuel to seeing results in social media and in the search engines is accomplished through creating and distributing relevant content that adds value to your audience. A solid content strategy comes in many forms, everything from videos, photos, infographics, text, articles, eBooks, GIFs and more, all of which can be discovered by your audience in the short-term using social media and in the long-term using the search engines.
Content shared on social media typically has a short life-span since content is shared on those channels constantly, quickly hiding previously shared content earlier in the day. Most content begins to rank in the search engines weeks and months later, as it continues to gather links from other websites and shares across social media indicating its value to the search engine algorithm.
General Electric consistently creates content that is relevant to the time of its release and valuable to its audience on both social media and the search engines. They pay special attention to making their content unique to each channel it is shared on, making use of the specific intricacies of each social network which helps lead to the success of their content across mediums.
To serve the needs of your business in search engines and on social media, create quality content regularly that speaks to the needs of your customer’s issues and relevant current events. Educating and delighting visitors with engaging content will provide tangible value to them from reading, watching or viewing, which quite often leads to them sharing this content across their social channels.
2. Syncing Meta Data: Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
Defining the meta data for each of your web pages on your website is important because it helps define how each page is ranked and displayed in the search engines, as well as displayed across social media once a particular page is shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ etc. The most important meta data to define on your web pages are the title tags and meta descriptions that help identify what the purpose of each individual page is.
Most content management systems like WordPress allow for the installation of a plugin or add-on to help your web team better define these fields for each page or article. The purpose of the title tag is to identify the overall subject of the web page in a concise headline in fewer than 65 characters. The title tag appears as a blue link (or purple link if you’ve visited that link in the past) on the search engine results of a particular web page. The search engines take the keywords used in the title tag into consideration when determining how to rank a piece of content.
The meta description is a one to two sentence description of the web page that should help entice a person to click on the search result. This description should be no longer than 150 characters and is not taken into consideration for ranking purposes by the search engines, but does impact click through rates of searchers. The meta description can be found below the title tag as a few black sentences describing the page.
This meta data is important to define for social media purposes as well because it is automatically pulled from the title tag and meta description to be displayed when a link to your content is shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and elsewhere. When your audience shares your content on social media, it’s essential that it is presented clearly and professionally across social media to encourage clicks and engagement as seen above in this example from LinkedIn.
Refinery29 does a world-class job at creating meta descriptions and title tags for their articles that once shared on social media are prime for driving interactions with their particular audience. When writing your meta data for your website, keep in mind how it can be useful to your audience across social media and increase your visibility across both mediums at once.
3. Link Building at Scale
When your company’s website is linked to it is taken into consideration as a sign of quality when you’re being ranked by the search engines. Link building is often referred to as the lifeblood of an SEO strategy, since links from third party websites to your own indicate a vote of confidence. The more links from a variety of relevant websites the better when it comes to ranking competitively for your niche.
Social media helps link-building scale more quickly for two main reasons. First off, social media helps content spread quickly across the web in a few hours from publishing. This naturally allows for more people to see your content more quickly and therefore, helps increase the amount of links to your website.
Secondly, the search engines use social signals as a factor for ranking websites with the appropriate key phrases. When a link to content is widely shared across Twitter, Facebook and other social networks, it is often considered as valuable as an inbound link to your content from a blog.
In the example above, American Express shares a link to content on their Facebook page that garnered a lot of engagement, which the search engines will take into consideration as a signal for quality content. A widely shared link like this is assumed to be better content because many individuals have decided to share the content with their social networks and therefore, vouch for the content. Emulate this approach with your content by creating material that has a vast appeal with your audience and their interests.
4. The Rising Importance of Google+
According to Entrepreneur, Google+ adds 25,000 new users every day. Google’s social network has been widely debated as everything from a big miss to a huge opportunity for businesses. Whether Google+ remains relevant in its current form remains to be seen, but what is certain is its importance related to driving search engine rankings for your business. Your company should have a page on Google+ that is optimized with a completed profile, a verified email address and a verified URL. For example, well-known startup ZocDoc has optimized their Google+ page correctly to ensure they’re making the most of the SEO opportunities for their business.
When setting up your Google+ page, try to naturally incorporate keywords that best define your business in your about section. Once your Google+ page is setup, consistently post engaging, quality content in the form of text, photos and video. Always include text with each post on your Google+ page to include a short description of the content you’re sharing.
The combination of your verified information on your profile, as well as the consistent content posted to your page will help further inform Google of the nature of the topics your company covers. The information you’re supplying Google+ about your business will help your company rank more effectively for relevant searches.
When your company sends out emails to any Gmail users on your email list, they will see your most updated content from your company’s Google+ page on the upper right side of their email. Also, recent Google+ content from your page will appear at the upper right hand side of the search results when searching for brand related keywords as seen above with this example from ecommerce company Nasty Gal. The appearance of your content across Google properties is all the more likely when users have your Google+ page in their circles.
How does your business address both the concerns of SEO and social media? Is content marketing becoming a more important priority for your company? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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