Social media is the new frontier of search engine optimization. People interact with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social platforms in far different ways than they do with search engines, yet in many ways the results are the same — links are shared, content is filtered and the most trusted websites often get the most play. And although Google won’t come right out and say it, many SEO experts agree that social media signals are affecting today’s search engine rankings.
How can you harness the power of social media to bolster your SEO strategy? Here, we’ll review the top six ways to leverage social media to improve your website’s search rankings.
1. Develop Social Content
Building an expansive network of inbound links has long been the bedrock of SEO. The more people link to your site, the more trusted it is in the eyes of Google and other search engines. And social media is unprecedented in its ability to build links in a hurry.
Always think of ways to go beyond articles when developing content for your social media channels. Think in terms of instructional videos, off-the-wall infographics and humorous (but helpful) GIFs. You can even create e-books that people can download for free. Be smart about updating social media channels — you’re more likely to get views and clicks in the early or late afternoon — and rest assured that your overall SEO will benefit from this content long after its social media shelf life expires.
2. Optimize Meta Tags
Meta tags help establish how webpages are unique, which is why they’ve always played important roles in SEO. But have you realized how social media platforms put meta tags to work? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms display meta titles and descriptions when websites are posted or shared. In some cases, your website’s meta tags might be your first interaction with new potential customers.
For that reason, it’s more important than ever to give meta titles and descriptions the attention they deserve. Meta titles should be 65 characters or less, and meta descriptions should be up to 150 characters in length — more than enough room to concisely explain the purpose of a webpage. Professionally written meta tags can easily be the difference in whether people perceive your website as click worthy.
3. Get Into Google+
Google’s foray into social media didn’t go exactly as planned. But even if you don’t know anyone who uses Google+ for social reasons, don’t underestimate the platform’s importance for businesses of all sizes. Creating a Google+ page for your business is one of the simplest ways to capitalize on social media in a way that benefits your SEO.
Why does Google+ matter? First, the information, images and other elements on your Google+ profile can directly improve your rankings in several relevant searches. Second, your contact and location information — when synced with free profiles on Yelp, Angie’s List and other directory websites — can heighten your visibility for people searching for a local, nearby business. A Google+ profile also makes for a high-quality link to your website, and trustworthy links are always helpful.
4. Start a Blog
Leverage the conversational nature of social media by starting a blog on your business Website. Update your blog regularly with unique, compelling content, and then share that content across your social media channels. Do a good job, and your followers will reward you with likes, shares and links.