Social media and search engine optimisation (SEO) have been strange bedfellows in the past. One was viewed as a genuine science that integrated thousands of complicated algorithms to determine page results, while the other was a fun means of sharing and promoting content.
As online marketers examine new and improved ways to score views, clicks and impressions on the web, the two worlds would become intertwined as a natural overlap began to occur. Suddenly they have developed a tangible relationship where each entity goes hand in hand.
Search engines had to branch out and embrace those platforms that offered strong signals for engine crawlers and producing multiple backlink channels. Where better to source those hot button items than on social media – an environment that encourages all manner of content through digital communities.
But which social media sites are the most relevant in the context of SEO? Online marketers and optimisers are always on the lookout for that cutting edge over the competition and the social landscape is a varied and complex backdrop that comprises the ultra professional (LinkedIn) all the way to the outright eccentric (Snapchat).
How should you make sense of each site and what are the benefits from an SEO standpoint? We will run our eye over 8 of the top platforms that will boost your search engine standing by tapping into apps that are traffic-generating machines.
Flying right under the radar for the topic of social media-SEO crossover is Quora. Operating under the mantra “a place to share knowledge and better understand the world,” this question and answer website helps to elevate standard topics to become highly sourced and well-ranked pages on their own.
Take something as generic as the Q: “What is the difference between a radio and a podcast?” In one full snippet, School of Podcasting founder Dave Jackson offered a concise and well-articulated response in 2015 that continues to be one of the top ranking answers on this discussion point.
Optimisers are always told that they have to become a authoritative voice on their given niche. Well look no further than the social media platform of Quora in this respect because it enables professionals to answer important questions and outline their own credentials.
What better way to prove the authenticity of a brand than that?
Pinterest is seen as the more commercially-driven cousin to Instagram, a social media site that it image-based where brands promote and share their intricate and snazzy new designs on the web. Each and every niche is covered on this interface, converting data collected from Facebook and Google to cater to individual user needs:
- Home décor
- Food and drink
- Inspirational quotes
- Hair and beauty
Pinterest utilises its own tool known as a pin, operating as a hyperlink to send to whatever landing page a brand requires. This channel-to-channel network is a brilliant means of funneling organic traffic – an asset that search engines view positively to judge authenticity.
Web crawlers use images and backlinks as central signals for their operating model and with Pinterest, there is more than enough of both to go around.
What better social media tool to keep Google happy than their internal version? Google+ is widely overlooked in many quarters by marketers who don’t appreciate its value in the online marketplace, viewing it as a poorer relative to the heavyweights in the field. Do not be one of those same naïve operators.
Professionals who have tied in their content campaigns with Google+ notice a number of helpful points. The greatest of which lies with the Google indexing. This occurs at a more rapid rate. Keyword integration that would have taken days and weeks to take effect are suddenly boosted by the application.
It is a tool that surpassed the 300 million mark for users in 2013 and has not slowed down since. Given that the optimisation machine can be tedious where techniques take an age to integrate into the rankings, Google+ is that little kick starter to push the agenda along and allow brands to shift their attention to other optimisation matters at hand.
If business-to-business or B2B marketing is your M.O., then LinkedIn is a powerful outlet to engage with. What it manages to achieve about its peers is the ability to promote and showcase individual clients and their brands. Many companies see it as a good means for professionals to head out into the commerce world and push their own agenda and CV, but it is so much more than that.
Use the LinkedIn benefits for your brand:
- Links can include anchor text for the website and contact information tabs
- Networks are organically crafted through connections that are made on a daily basis
- Peer groups are formulated where content and information is easily shared
- Custom URLs can be formulated to boost search engine standing
- Self-promotion is not only accepted, but encouraged
- Job titles allow for keyword integration
The leading professionals of a brand on LinkedIn are not just there to be the face of the company on the social media platform. They are there to market the features and benefits of the enterprise.
With over 9 million active monthly users in Australia alone, Instagram has proven itself to be one of the more legitimate social sites anywhere on the planet. The ability to push and promote a brand’s message via images that are optimised, linked and filtered for aesthetics is something that cannot be ignored by enterprises.
Add to this the simple and effective integration of Instagram posts on Google, Facebook, Twitter and fellow social media platforms that encourage sharing – the reach is there for all to see.
Local SEO is a field that garners more tangible benefit from Instagram than anywhere else. By linking with local commerce accounts where communities share a moments from festivals, events, tourist hotspots and commemorative sites – the geo-tagging of content offers a significant boost to images that would otherwise be irrelevant.
What was once seen as a stall for fashion icons to brandish their wares, now Instagram is a free and open navigation portal for brands to get creative and network in all manner of ways.
Search engines gravitate to the site’s capacity to hashtag and link niches as much as the geo-tagging element comes into play. At every avenue there is a portal to optimise and Instagram’s popularity with Google and the average social media user is only on the rise.
When Google began to utilise top tweets within search engine results pages, the game was changed. What would come as a surprise to many users that day would not be that groundbreaking to marketers who understood the power of Twitter and would it could achieve for brands of all shapes and sizes.
The potential to reach a mass audience on this platform is almost unparalleled. Given the capacity to generate backlinks at a rapid pace (without going overboard to venture into Black-hat SEO territory through keyword stuffing), everything from the account bio to the images to video integration and article promotion stands as an opportunity to boost a brand’s profile.
Hashtags work to be the most prominent means of scoring impressions and traffic, using common niches, trending topics and general searches for the benefit of a company.
Yet it also provides an avenue for customer engagement to showcase your capacity to deliver on customer service, all before boosting brand credibility with a verification badge. This is seen as a major tick of approval and once this is achieved, more accounts will gravitate to your timeline.
Twitter is the source for all things topical, offering condensed 140-character posts that give companies a chance to communicate their message on-brand and optimised to score external impressions. Consider this platform a chance to promote a highlights reel of what the enterprise stands for and connects with, because that is how it is viewed through the eyes of Google.
One significant metric for SEO success comes down to the bounce rate of a website. Those brands that can attract the eye and then manage to keep the audience there for longer reap the dividends. A great tool to make that task possible is through video and there is no better outlet in this respect than through the social media and streaming giant YouTube.
Now that YouTube operates under the banner of Google, the integration is seamless and 100% user-friendly. Implementing a video onto a webpage or within a social media post has never been easier and these snippets come courtesy with important SEO markers for keywords:
- Meta tags
Running a YouTube account enables a brand to increase their awareness online, yet it is the inclusion of this multimedia that boosts the standing of a webpage by lowering the bounce rate and hitting healthy keyword numbers.
When it comes to social media and SEO, there is no peer that comes close to Facebook. Home to 15 million monthly active users in Australia and 2 billion globally, the brand integrates every single optimisation technique through their slick platform.
Content promotion is garnered through individual pages and integrated sub-category communities, Local SEO is boosted with geo-targeting links, video and images are regularly uploaded and the search engine capacity covers each and every niche in the commerce world.
It is just expected now that every organisation has at least a presence on Facebook because it acts as a free marketing tool. Google recognise it as one of the central means of achieving organic traffic, a fact that won’t be changing anytime soon.
While the links between Google, Bing and Yahoo with their social media counterparts are not announced officially by either party, the connection is there. Each results page is judged on its own merit and the more social sharing options and platform channels that are made available, the greater the chance the content goes viral.
The 8 social brands that have the greatest capacity to drive SEO performance currently stand as:
This is not an established hierarchy as the likelihood of new apps on the market will shift this priority. What we can deduce is that the brands who embrace each platform will accelerate their visibility and open themselves up to more modes of traffic.