How big has social media grown in popularity? In 2017, the estimated number of global social media users was 2.86 billion. By 2020, the number of social media users around the world was pegged at 3.6 billion or an increase of 25% from 2017. It’s projected that by 2025, there will be 4.41 billion social media users worldwide.
In comparison, the global population growth rate is only 1.05% per year. Presently, there are 7.9 billion people in the world which means 46% of the global population is on social media every day. By 2025, this percentage number of global social media users will potentially hit 50% of the world’s population!
This mind-blowing number leads us to ask one question:
If social media is so big, why isn’t it a ranking factor in Google’s search ranking algorithm?
Setting The Record Straight About Google’s Search Algorithm And Social Media
In 2014, Google Software Engineer and SEO main man Matt Cutts shocked digital marketers everywhere when he disclosed that social media marketing doesn’t influence search rankings and therefore, isn’t a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.
Digital marketers were caught by surprise given the growing popularity of social media and the frenetic levels of activity found on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
For these reasons, digital marketers were creating and posting an average of 5.9 billion blogs per day, the majority of which were distributed through social media channels.
Did the digital marketers waste precious time and money creating all of that content because social media didn’t give the websites a boost up the search rankings?
The answer is “No” and this was proven in a study conducted by Hootsuite in 2018. According to the month-long study, posts that received solid engagement in social media got an average boost of 22% up the search rankings.
Thus, while social media activity isn’t included as a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm, its size and massive reach as a distribution channel for content can indirectly give your website a significant boost up the search rankings.
It should be noted that in 2010, both Google and Bing acknowledged that they used social signals to rank websites. It has been theorized that Google’s change in position toward social media was initiated by Twitter’s decision in 2014 to restrict the search engine giant from accessing its network.
The theory appears to have legs because Matt Cutts further explained that it’s difficult to consider a ranking factor for Google’s search algorithm if it’s “no longer accessible the following day.”
Thus, it’s plausible that Matt Cutts’ SEO-shattering announcement in 2014 was influenced by politics or pragmatism rather than a denouncement of social media’s actual impact on the search rankings.
5 Ways Social Media Enhances SEO
If the Internet’s biggest search engine continues to exclude social media as a ranking factor, how else can it enhance your SEO strategy?
1. Creates Inbound Avenues to Increase Website Traffic
There are more than 100 social media platforms on the Internet. That doesn’t mean you have to open 100 social media accounts for your business. You can have 2 to 3 networks to work with and you’ll be able to create multiple inbound avenues to drive more traffic to your website.
2. Builds Brand Awareness
With well-planned content creation and posting strategy, you can build greater brand awareness on your various social media networks. If you can consistently put out high-quality content, your followers will be compelled to learn more about your business by going to your website.
3. Strengthens Brand Reputation
Social media networks aren’t the only platforms for distributing content. These communities also give you opportunities to engage with your followers. You can do this by responding to comments, encouraging them to give reviews and suggestions, and by providing customer support services through the built-in chat plugin.
4. Provides Highly-Diversified Platforms for Content Distribution
Blogging isn’t the only form of content you can post on social media. You can create video-based content, infographics, e-books, schedule live videos, post stories, or curate relevant content. Then, come up with a content distribution strategy.
Facebook is great for live videos, blogs, and image-based content. YouTube is the ideal venue for short and long-form videos. LinkedIn is perfect for curated content, infographics, and your blogs.
5. Improves Sustainability of Content
Remember that blog you shared on Facebook “5 Ways To Prepare a Burger Patty”? Apparently, you can make a burger patty made of 50/50 lean beef and bacon. Time to upgrade the blog with new text content and images of the Bacon Cheeseburger.
That’s how easy it is to update content on social media. You don’t have to create a new article. Even with a few edits, your piece of content will offer the reader new value.
Now that we’ve gotten you convinced, it’s time to learn how social media can be used to improve your website rankings.
How To Use Social Media To Improve Your Website Rankings
Social media gives you a virtual soapbox on the Internet. Only this time, instead of standing on a street corner, you’re targeting your message to the right people – the ones most likely to buy your products and services.
And that’s the keyword there – targeting.
There are 2 common mistakes first-time digital marketers make when using social media for driving traffic to their website:
- Assuming that all social media networks are the same.
- Forgetting the social aspect of social media marketing.
In this section, we’ll show you how to avoid these common mistakes so that you’ll get immediate results from your social media marketing efforts.
1. Choose the Right Social Media Platforms
Earlier we mentioned that you can get good results with 2 to 3 social media accounts. If you talk to other entrepreneurs who have been using social media marketing for more than 2 years, don’t be surprised to learn that they haven’t added platforms to their network.
That’s because they’ve already built up solid and stable communities in these networks and are getting results. To add another platform might deviate time, effort, and resources from the current network.
Your choice of social media platforms would depend on the following:
Type of products and services
If your business offers products that are highly visual such as fashion apparel, food, technology, real estate property, musical instruments, and furniture you should prioritize social media platforms that have built a reputation for visual content.
Among the best social media platforms for images and videos are Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and YouTube.
The same can be said for types of services that are better seen and heard than read. For example, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, TikTok, and Facebook Live are ideal platforms for services such as Personal Training, Gardening, Cooking, Travel and Leisure.
Types of content
If your content toolbox will rely mostly on blogs, the best social media platforms to consider would be LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Image-based content such as infographics and statistical data would be appreciated more on LinkedIn and Twitter. High-resolution images for the purpose of generating sales have Instagram and Pinterest as ideal posting places. Of course, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok are popularly used to launch videos.
Marketing goals and objectives
LinkedIn is the preferred social media platform of digital marketers who want to generate more leads. And it’s easy to understand why LinkedIn is so effective as a tool for lead generation.
Its community is composed primarily of professionals who are looking to give their careers a boost. They could be looking for clients, networking for contacts, establishing connections with industry leaders and influencers, or promoting their businesses.
You can achieve these goals by publishing blogs from LinkedIn’s built-in Content Management System (CMS), engaging frequently with various interest groups, and sending invitations to connect to select professionals in your industry.
If your goal is to drive immediate traffic to your website, then you’ll have to spend on PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube offer PPC ad placements that can get your content on the screens of your target audience. Once someone clicks on your PPC ad, he will be taken to your website’s landing page.
2. Write Optimized High-Quality Content
It’s not enough to write great, high-quality content. Likewise, it’s not enough to create optimized content.
You need to do both.
What are the qualities of high-quality content?
- Fresh or unique
- No errors in spelling and grammar
On the other hand, optimized content is content that’s easily found on the Internet. SEO experts conduct keyword research, identify high-volume keywords, and organize them on a spreadsheet.
Content writers use the spreadsheet to find the right keywords and embed them on their blogs. The keywords are also used to describe videos, images, and web pages.
Keywords make it easier for search engines to find your content. Why is this important in social media? Because social media platforms are also search engines.
Do you ever notice why certain types of content find their way into your Youtube homepage? That’s because YouTube’s algorithm has data that shows your interest in these types of content. YouTube has created a user’s profile on you based on your behavior on the social media platform.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms will do the same.
Also, what do you do when you’re looking for a particular post and you can’t remember the title or the author? You’ll type in keywords on the search box. The social media platform’s web crawling bots will do their job and retrieve content that contains these keywords.
Getting found on social media is half the job done. Now, you have to assure the reader that they made the right choice by providing high-quality content 100% of the time.
If your audience is happy and impressed with your content, the next logical step is to visit your website and learn more about you.
3. Include a Link to Your Website
And for that reason, you should always include a link to your website!
A fundamental mistake made by digital marketers is forgetting to include the website link on the social media profile page. How can you drive traffic to your website if people don’t know where it is? The URL is your website address. It must be visible on your social media page.
You can also mention your website in your content in your byline or as a hyperlinked resource. Remember, internal linking or the practice of incorporating hyperlinks to content found on your website is an effective SEO tactic. The person who clicks on the hyperlink will end up on your website’s landing page.
4. Add a CTA to Your Content
It might sound overbearing, but a Call-To-Action (CTA) is an instruction that you want the audience to follow. You’re commanding the reader to take action. What do you want him/her to do – now?
The CTA will depend on what your objective is in creating a particular piece of content.
For example, if you want the audience to visit your website, you can incorporate the following CTA:
“Get more helpful tips by going to our website now. All you have to do is to click this link.”
Make sure you hyperlink your website URL to the word “link”.
If you want the reader to buy from your e-portal, you can write a CTA that reads:
“We’ve made it easier for you to buy our products. Click this link right now. And if you’re one of the first 50 buyers, you’ll get a special discount at the checkout counter!”
In the above CTA, we’ve incentivized the reader to go to the website immediately with a special discount. By including a limit to the number of discounts available, we are able to generate more interest.
You can place multiple CTAs within your content. We recommend situating a CTA in the middle and concluding sections of a blog or video post. And yes, the CTAs can be different.
The most important thing to keep in mind when creating a CTA is to be definitive. Create a sense of urgency and importance. Don’t give the reader another choice. The only choice is your CTA.
5. Create a Strategic Posting Schedule
The Golden Rule in social media is to stay active in order to stay top-of-mind with your audience. You want to stay active so that your audience won’t forget you.
However, if you’re too active and post frequently, your audience might be “hearing a lot of noise” instead of receiving information of great value. In time, your posts will be perceived as a nuisance and you’ll lose followers.
To get the most out of the time spent on social media, create a posting schedule that organizes the following:
- Social media platforms to use.
- Times and dates of posting
- Types of content to post on each social media platform.
For example, you might intend to post on YouTube only twice a month because it takes time to shoot and edit videos. Therefore, you might follow the posting schedule for the week ahead:
- Facebook – New blog post (Monday; 12:00pm), Contest (Wednesday; 9:00am), and Curated Content (Friday; 3:00pm).
- LinkedIn: New blog post (Monday; 7:00am), Infographic (Thursday; 12:00pm)
To find out the best times and days to post on your social media platforms, review your page’s analytics. On Facebook, you can check your marketing performance by accessing “Insights” where you can view different charts per metric.
Have you been to a resort that was so easy to get to years ago because there wasn’t traffic on the route you took? Years later, more resorts popped up and traffic got worse.
Not only is it a hassle to get to your favorite resort but its quality of service suffered due to business losses from increased competition.
Think of that resort as your website and social media as the avenues you will take to drive more traffic away from your competitors and toward your business. Strategic social media marketing will enhance the visibility of your website on the Internet and give it a boost in search rankings.
To be sure, give us a call and we’ll plan out the social media strategy for your business.
Please feel free to share this article with your friends who are also interested in social media marketing.