Your SEO is vital to the health of your business, and your brand. That’s why it’s so troubling to learn that you could be doing damage to it. How? Because of the things you’re doing (or not doing) on social media.
According to Moz’s 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors study, social signals (like engagement across all three major platforms – Google, Facebook, and Twitter) is the lowest priority (at 4%).
While this is by no means impressive (it’s not supposed to be), it highlights the fact that social has taken a back seat in importance for many content creators.
But is it fair to ignore social media completely, especially if it can have a negative effect on your SEO?
Social media marketing is actually a great way to improve and complement your SEO efforts. When you post an engaging piece of content on any social media channel and people start sharing, retweeting, and clicking on your link, that tells search engines that your piece is relevant.
And if the ingredients are right — if your bounce rate goes down, visitor duration goes up, and the piece is getting shared left and right — Google might actually start to rank the page you are linking to higher.
All of that happens only if you are doing the right things on social. If you make classic mistakes then your social will not help your search engine rankings, it might actually hurt them.
SEO and Social Media Don’t Always Play Well Together
Here are 5 ways your current social media strategy might be hurting your small business website, and what you can do about it.
1. Not Optimizing Your Social Profiles
Thanks to their presence on major websites, your social profiles are often the first point at which a user will make contact with your brand. This is where they’ll be able to get to learn more about you.
Google will also show these social profiles in coordination with your name. That means that when someone Googles you, there will be a bigger picture waiting for them. When your profiles aren’t optimized, you’re missing out on giving visitors more information about your unique perspective and approach.
Take the airline WestJet, for example. Most companies, when you Google them, also showcase their Twitter and Facebook profiles. This opens up multiple touchpoints, apart from the company’s website, which requires less buy-in from potential visitors.
Image Source: Google.com
It sounds simple, but this concept of brand awareness is hard for some people to wrap their heads around. It paints a comprehensive profile of where you are online, and how people can access you and the content that you create.
You can use a tool like HootSuite, Sendible or Statusbrew to optimize your social profiles, automate publishing, and greatly boost the engagement on each social channel.
When you have stronger social profiles, not only are they more recognizable and consistent with your brand, but it opens up multiple avenues for you to be found when someone searches for you online.
2. Low-Quality Links
Links provide the bedrock for good SEO. Social media remains a great way to get backlinks, and an increased ranking, from the content that you create.
Image Source: Orbitmedia.com
However, the inverse is true as well.
Low-quality links not only impede your growth but can actively hurt it, decreasing your Google rank.
While one can gain high-quality links is quite high from social media, there also lies a possibility of getting low-quality links which can adversely affect your SEO strategy.
When you focus on high-quality links instead, even if there are less of them, it still propels your brand and your SEO forward. It generates the right amount of buzz and gets the right kind of eyeballs on your content.
First, you have to track your current rank. There are various free tools available in the market such as Pro Rank Tracker or Tiny Ranker to check how your site ranks on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. You can find out the domain authority rank via Moz of your site as well. Use all of this information to go after sites that are ranked higher than yours in order to move up in the search engine ranks.
3. Not Engaging your Social Media Traffic on your Site
Even if you have the greatest social media presence on the planet, but are not able to leverage these leads, then you are significantly harming your SEO.
This comes down to bounce rates, and the concept is simple. If someone goes on your site, hates what they see, and leaves, Google holds onto that information and begins to regard your page as having less-than-valuable information, (because people keep leaving).
As a result, your site begins to rank lower and lower. This means that even if you have a terrific social media strategy that drives millions of people to your site if they leave immediately, it will hurt your SEO even more if you didn’t gain all of that traffic from social media channels.
Inbound marketing can solve all of that. If you utilize email popups, A/B testing (to track user behavior), as well as visual effects, you can convert leads better and bolster your traffic. Which means people staying on your site longer, and inevitably increasing your ranking.
One great example of this is the Chrome extension Zest. The visual effects on their homepage are unbelievable, they grab the visitor’s attention, and greatly decrease the bounce rate and increase the visit duration on the site.
Image Source: Zest.is
Then there are pop-ups and highly-visible buttons. A great example of those can be found on FlightMedia.co. First, they use buttons that change their fill-in color when you hover on them and really add a striking element to their site.
Image Source: FlightMedia.co
Next, they have a highly optimized popup. The language is urgent, without being pushy, and sells visitors on something they could actually use to grow their business.
Image Source: FlightMedia.co
Overall, if your social media presence is effectively pushing people to your site, that’s great. But if the website fails to impress these visitors, the SEO of the site tends to have an adverse effect. With the lower time spent on site and higher bounce rates, your SEO strategy may not leave the ideal impact it was supposed to.
4. Abandoning Targeted Audiences
Influencer marketing is the crown jewel of any social media strategy because it is so effective. According to Collective Bias, YouTube is the second-most influential social media channel for consumers looking to make a purchase, with 18% of the consumers saying that they were influenced by YouTube when making a purchase. Another stat suggests that social media was the primary influencer for grocery shopping – specifically with regards to recipes being shared.
By not focusing on targeted audiences, those cultivated by influencers and those who follow them, brands are missing out on highly-targeted and high-quality traffic that influencer audiences bring.
Google highly values relevancy when it comes to search engine rankings. So working with influencers can help you get more relevant traffic from highly ranked social media sites, and boost your rank in a very short amount of time.
Think of it like this, if an influencer likes your content, finds it valuable and posts it to their audience, you are reaching exactly the right consumer segment who would be interested in more content from you. It’s like a built-in audience for your brand.
A Quick Recap: Social Media & SEO
While it might not be a key determinant of your SEO, social media can have a negative effect on your searchability if you are using it in the wrong way.
The key takeaway here is that if you have the ability to reach thousands of people who might be interested in your brand, you need to ensure that what and how they find you is consistent and targeted to their needs.
- Make sure to use high-quality links to boost your site rank.
- Optimize all of your social media profiles
- Utilize inbound marketing to nurture social leads
- Run influencer campaigns
Do you have any questions or tips regarding social media and SEO? Please share them in the comments below.
Photo via Shutterstock
I also don’t like it when social media became the vehicle for negative reviews for your products and services. When that happens, there is really no turning back.