Owning a business, a successful one, means you always have to be one step ahead of everyone else. Thanks to the Internet, that can be more difficult than ever before.
The modern consumer is always changing how he takes in information and connects with brands, and sometimes it may feel as if everyone else is in synch with that except for you. Although you may understand that you have a responsibility to provide constant, instantaneous and easily searchable information, you may not be doing everything you can be -- despite doing a heck of a lot.
Many business owners seem to have fallen under the same belief when it comes to digital media and marketing: social media is a fad, I need to focus on my SEO and the visitors will come.
I'm here to tell you something: that is wrong.
What if I told you that social media and SEO were actually related? Would you believe me? Social media not only has an impact on your SEO, but also on your sales. Believe it or not, search engines like Google are changing faster than ever to implement data from social media for their search results. Social media is a huge factor in your authority, ranking and search engine optimization – are you taking advantage?
SEO + Social Media, In a Nutshell
With all of the different social media networks out there, it can be challenging to start fresh and create your strategy – especially when you aren't certain you believe in the medium enough to invest time and money into it for marketing purposes.
Allow me to convince you.
A strong social media presence, where you are viewed as "popular", increases traffic to your website. How?
- Posting relevant, unique and expert content frequently allows you to reach a broad audience
- Anything deemed "viral" is more significant to search engines – social media is what built the viral trend – viral is not made for SEO, viral becomes relevant to SEO because it is social
- Search engines equate an increase in your site's traffic as an increase in popularity – this puts you higher in search result rankings
Your social media interactions, posts, shares, likes, views and everything else inevitably does bring people back your site – as long as you have a process for it. Like everything else about your marketing strategy, you need a plan.
Your Top 3 First Moves
The more active you are on social media, the better. You want engagement. You want people to be interacting with you via your social accounts. A static account will do the opposite for your SEO. But how can you start?
The key is in interaction and social sharing. The more people interact with your business's social pages and share your content and engage with you, the more significant Google will find your activity.
- Facebook & Twitter: The most important thing with any social media network, particularly these two, is engagement. Google ranks activity such as likes, shares, and comments as significant to SEO. How can you do that? Look for the fans that have authority out there and make them your fans. Engage with them and watch them start to engage with you. There are people that have a tremendous amount of influence, any marketer knows that, and they exist on social media, too. You just have to find them and make them your fans, too!
- Google+: The algorithm here is impressive. Google+ will use personalized information to create search results that are more customized to the user. The algorithm looks at how often people in a specific location are sharing and engaging and makes their posts more relevant in the results listing. For local businesses, this is an amazing feature to take advantage of. The more you post unique, credible and relevant content, the more engagement you get, and that builds your authority.
Not sure how to get started on all of that? Try this:
- Build quality social followers: Just as search engines look at the quality of your inbound links, they are looking at the quality of those who follow you. You want active and engaged followers. How do you get them? Engage with them and get active yourself.
- Create a blog: This is the easiest way to have fresh content. Search engines love fresh content. Once you integrate your blog with your website and then your social networks, you'll have so many ways for fans to interact with your site that you will love the increased traffic – and so will the search engines.
- Build your authority: Take advantage of what you know and post your content throughout your social sites. More professionally based networks such as LinkedIn and Google+ value authority and authorship. The more relevant you can make yourself, the more significant your brand becomes. The theory is that those who like your content will view your site, and search engines will reward that.
Get Socially Engaged Right Now
Right now, if you do not have social media accounts, the first thing I want you to do is get social! Sign up for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to start, and when things get more advanced, you can, too – Google+ is a good next step. After that, consider some of the things we've just talked about. Remember, social media is something you have to consistently work at. You cannot leave your pages static and expect growth. You need to get on there and build your community, interact with the people who are popular and get yourself out there!
Work on your strategy and grow it – and then you'll be able to see the results for yourself! So get social out there and the search engines, like your customers, will come.
Today is a guest post from John Boudreau, COO and Co-Founder of Astonish. He works closely with local insurance agencies across the country to understand what works and what doesn't in an attempt to increase their share of the digital landscape through online marketing tactics and a robust customer relationship marketing tool.