As SEO’s place in the digital marketing world transforms, thanks to search engine algorithm tweaks and the growing importance of content marketing, the profitability of integrating your SEO strategy into your larger social media marketing strategy has become more manifest than ever.
Indeed, seven of the ten most important factors in SEO ranking now come from social media, according to a recent study by Searchmetrics.
Therefore, it could even be said that aligning your SEO and social media efforts is essential in maximizing your brand exposure, in that each reinforces the other.
Below, find six key tactics for harmonizing your SEO and social media practices.
1. Frame your social media marketing in terms of keywords
The cornerstone of SEO is keywords. There’s no reason not to also center your SMM around those same keywords, thereby laser-focusing on your target audience. First identify the broad themes that drive your social media, perhaps by referencing your editorial calendar if you use one, then narrow in on more specific keywords.
Note that it’s not enough to think about what types of content your followers (or the people you want to be your followers) are interested in. Think about the specific keywords or keyword phrases those people are actually searching social networks with.
2. Align social media and SEO keywords
Cross-check that list of social keywords against your SEO keyword bank. Then leverage the resulting duplicate keywords across all your marketing channels — from your Facebook page “about” section and LinkedIn company page description to press release headlines and Slideshare deck titles — and you’ve just doubled, at minimum, the targeted strength of your outreach.
Make sure to implement the dually aligned keyword practice not just for static digital content, but also daily social updates. That is, for every new piece of content you push out via social media, from blog posts to white papers to infographics, align the keywords you use in tweets, Facebook posts, pin captions, and the like with the keywords you’ve optimized those web pages for. For example, if you published a blog post about tracking Twitter trends, use the phrase “Twitter trends” in the tweets, Facebook posts, Google+ posts, and the like that you use to promote the post.
3. Capture attention on social media at the crest of the wave
In order to move the needle on link clicks and site visits, you need to drum up social media buzz when the wave is approaching its peak, or else your content — and resultant hits — will be lost among the noise. Tap into tools like TrendSpottr (which integrates with HootSuite) and Trendsmap to monitor when a topic is trending, then capitalize.
It can also be helpful to utilize social listening software like Nimble, BrandWatch, or Radian6 to proactively tune into what your target audience is talking about, rather than waiting to gauge what becomes hot, and then chime in with your own relevant content.
4. Integrate social media deeply into your website
It goes without saying that social sharing tools should be enmeshed in your site architecture.
Reference this checklist to ensure you’re hitting your visitors (tactfully) at every social angle possible, thereby strengthening your SEO in tandem:
- Add social media profile badges to your homepage.
- Add social media sharing buttons to your e-newsletters.
- Add social media sharing buttons to individual blog posts.
- Add customized social media widgets to page sidebars.
- Include links on each of your social media profiles to your other social profiles.
- Add social media commenting functionality, whether through Facebook, Disqus, or another plug-in.
- Add Google Authorship for website contributors.
5. Leverage your blog as an SEO and social media driver
What better resource for link-building than your website’s blog? As social signals become incorporated into search engine ranking algorithms, there is now a direct correlation between social media and search results. Think of it this way: strong, original content is the #1 most effective SEO tactic, and also the #1 driver of social media ROI.
Tap into the rich potential of your blog to strengthen your search engine rankings and your social media reach and engagement levels by doing the following:
- Post strong, authoritative, original content and promote it “early and often” on social media using keywords streamlined with your SEO practice. Content should be packaged appropriately for each social media channel — the way you promote a blog post on Twitter will be worded differently than the way you tease it on Facebook — but don’t forget there’s no limit to how many times you can distribute each piece, as long as you do so tastefully and over a period of time.
- Create relevant internal links within every blog post you publish.
- Make sure site visitors can navigate easily between your blog and main site, from any page.
- Use your blog to build relationships with other industry blogs, creating SEO-relevant link opportunities.
- Ensure any links you push out via social media send users to the preferred landing pages per your SEO strategy.
6. Measure success and adjust using metrics
As with any digital marketing tactic, you can’t gauge what’s working or not working without tracking. Monitor your website and social media activity and align reference points to get a sense of your hits and misses. The goal is to see upticks in engagement on social in addition to conversions on-site.
Be sure to examine the quality, and not just the volume, of traffic to really get a sense of whether or not your SEO and SMM strategies are successfully mirroring each other. Your analytics should provide you with not just an understanding of the results each individual channel produces, but also how they perform together. Check out our Complete User’s Guide to Google Analytics for more details.
Hopefully the above tactics can help you link your way to likes, and vice-versa.