Organisations of all sizes are using social media platforms to boost their business, but it is not just about posting nice photos, making a few jokes and free advertising, a good social media strategy can have strong material benefits for the business, and in turn, a good SEO strategy should have social media at the heart of it. But the enduring question remains; does social media have a direct impact on SEO?

Many experts say social media only has an indirect influence on SEO, and this article aims to explain why that is, but also why social media is still an important tool for your SEO strategy.

How does social media improve your SEO?

An SEO strategy should utilise social media because it is the best way to boost your online visibility and to direct traffic to your site. This improves your Google search engine ranking and as a result, this will improve your leads, enquiries and sales, but that is a result of your SEO and not directly a result of your social media. So a good SEO campaign using social media can help your business:

  • Reach a wider audience
  • Improve visibility of content
  • Create more organic traffic
  • Improve your brand recognition
  • Improve your local SEO

Why isn’t social media a direct influence on SEO?

Google say that social media is not a ranking factor, but several studies have shown us that there is a correlation between social shares and how a business performs in search engine rankings. So it doesn’t matter how many followers you have on certain platforms, that won’t influence your search engine ranking position. In other words, it is not social media itself that will improve your SEO, it is how you use it and how popular your content is that will have an influence.

How to improve your SEO using social media

When you make a post on social media, how much it is liked, shared or commented on is recognised by Google and other search engines and used to rank your site. So social media doesn’t have a direct effect on SEO but it can have a positive influence on your ranking. This is increased if you post links to content and these backlinks drive traffic to your site or blog. Good content is valued by your target audience and by search engines, because it shows you have authority and respect, and that you are an expert in your field, and this in turn promotes customer loyalty. And of course social media is a way in which you can directly link to this.

Your content can be anything you like, as long as it appeals to your target audience. So this could be written content and blog articles, photos, videos, infographics or podcasts. The more your links are shared the more Google will recognise this, and if you start to engage and interact with your audience, this builds more authority and reinforces your brand. This will then result in search engines ranking you higher and people finding you organically and much easier.

Social media is the quickest way for most potential customers to find your business, because they will be using it already and may have been directed to your social media profile by a similar user with similar interests, ie. someone they are already following. So defining an audience type and targeting them and their interests is really important. And talking with people creates a personal connection and an instant response with real time opinions, which people value more and more.

Tips on improving your SEO using social media

So bearing in mind all these points, what are the best tips for using social media to improve your SEO?

  • Choose the best platform for your target audience. Will they use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok or a combination of these?
  • Produce quality content that will be valued by your audience and widely shared
  • Optimise your posts with things like keywords and links to your content, but also Alt Tags on images and keywords in Image file names
  • Make sure photos are professional and not cropped or badly formatted
  • Engage with your audience, be friendly and helpful and respond ASAP to questions
  • Analyse the best time to post so that your audience are most likely to be on social media and your posts are more visible
  • Post frequently and show that your business is active, has energy and is operational
  • Measure what is working and what isn’t and refine your strategy accordingly.

So we can agree that social media does not have a direct influence on SEO, but that it is the easiest way of getting content in front of your target audience and in front of a larger audience, and that definitely does have a direct influence on your SEO. If you want more advice and help with a direct, targeted social media strategy, then contact Aspiring Digital today.