SEO is evolving at what feels like “ludicrous” speed. When I was getting started in 2006, on-page keyword density, a cursory understanding of HTML meta tags and links from article directories were about all you needed to know to get a page to rank high in Google.
Then Google tweaked their algorithm and higher-quality link-building was the golden ticket to a #1 ranking. Fast forward to today and the old-school tactics of just a few years ago no longer work. That’s because SEO has evolved and grown to the point where engagement is the new measurement of success.
Old-School SEO Is Dead
In my experience talking with business owners every day, there is a huge misconception that SEO is simply about HTML meta tags and backlinks. That’s what I call old-school SEO and it’s been dead for a while now.
As mentioned above, SEO is now about engagement. To be successful in ranking high in Google, plus driving traffic and ultimately leads and sales from SEO, you need to focus on engaging your target prospects online. That means creating compelling content your prospects would want to read and share with their friends and colleagues.
And, of course, where do people share content online? You guessed it: social media! That brings us to the first way social media impacts SEO…
- Content Distribution
To clarify, I am not saying that on-page SEO factors like HTML tags or off-page factors like backlinks are no longer important. They are—and always have been—the foundation of a solid SEO strategy.
What has changed is the shift from old-school link-building tactics to more natural content distribution. Sharing content on social media accomplishes two important goals for SEO:
- Your content can spread virally, which drives more traffic and more engagement with your website. This can also lead to more brand searches in Google, further reinforcing your authority.
- Your content can get in front of other bloggers and news sources who in turn are more likely to link to your webpages. As mentioned already, backlinks are still critical for SEO so this leads to higher rankings.
- Control Your Brand in Google
When you search for a company in Google, what do you see? Most likely, you’ll find the company’s website, Google+ profile page, LinkedIn page, Facebook page, Twitter page and any other social media profiles.
Clearly, Google gives preference to company social media pages in their search results. This is good news because it’s not hard to set up your social media pages and nearly instantly dominate the results for brand searches.
Why is this important? Well, before a prospect contacts you, they most likely going to do their homework online. That means searching for your brand in Google and reviewing the websites they find. By creating and maintaining active social media profiles, you put yourself in control of your brand in Google.
- SEO Expands Beyond Google
Google is the top search engine, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore Bing. Bing has said they do take social media signals like the number of Twitter followers into account when ranking webpages. That means social media activity directly impacts your rankings on Bing.
Plus, let’s not forget about searches on the social media sites themselves. That’s right, social media sites are search engines as well! Every day people are searching on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others to find content and search for businesses. If you ignore social media, then you obviously miss out on the opportunity to get your business in front of those relevant searches.
Do you want more SEO tips? I created a simple checklist that walks you through specific actions you can take to improve your rankings and traffic. Click here to get my SEO Checklist.