When social media first started to emerge in the 20th century, no one could predict it was going to have such an impact. Today there are 4.55 billion social media users worldwide. 

The fact that more than half of the world’s population is active on social media shows how important it is for businesses to have a presence on these platforms.

Both SEO and social media platforms are a vital part of a business’s online presence and visibility, but how they complement and benefit each other is something we are going to discover in this article.

We reached out to a leading custom website design company, to help us answer the three questions listed below for a better understanding of the relationship between social media and SEO:

1. Are social media signals a factor in Google ranking?

2. How is social media connected to SEO? 

3. How can you optimize your social media strategy for SEO?

1. Are social media signals a factor in Google ranking?

The short answer to this question is no, at least not directly.

In 2014, Matt Cutts, a former member of Google’s webspam team, stated on social signals, “Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index, so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it, then we can return that in our search results. But as far as doing special specific work to sort of say ‘you have this many followers on Twitter or this many likes on Facebook,’ to the best of my knowledge we don’t currently have any signals like that in our web search ranking algorithms.”

That seems like a firm no, but it is not as simple as that. Although social media signals don’t count as a factor in Google ranking, it isn’t completely detached. The reality is that social media and SEO work very well together.

As Sharon Hurley Hall, a professional B2B writer, puts it, “Social media may not be a ranking factor for Google, but it can amplify the ranking factors that Google DOES consider.”

Social media can be connected to SEO through backlinks, quality content, and keyword implementation.

2. How is social media connected to SEO?

As mentioned, social media can help with better SEO results through backlinking, quality content, and keyword implementation.

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A backlink is a link from one website to another. It seems simple enough, but these links are very important for SEO. 

If your website gets many backlinks, Google will recognize this as an indication of how popular your site is and it will rank higher in SERPs. You can ask the best marketing companies, and they will confirm to you this importance of backlinks to your website.

Google also uses the “PageRank” algorithm to rank web pages’ authority on the quality and quantity of the links that point to those web pages. This algorithm is based on the idea that a page is considered important if other important pages link to it.

Social media backlinks refer to sites that can be visited by clicking on links that are integrated into social media accounts. 

Quality content is a widely used strategy for attracting a target audience and social media platforms are an ideal place for posting such content. 

Quality content meets SEO through the implementation of the right keywords, headlines, tags, images, and links. 

Keywords refer to a word or phrase that people frequently search online. Every business should conduct keyword research to find those that will benefit their business the most. 

Keywords are used for higher ranking in SERPs.They can be used on social media through linking, content, images, newsfeed and more. 

Now that we know the technical part of social media and SEO connection, let’s dive into the practical side and find out how you can optimize your social media strategy for SEO.

3. How can you optimize your social media strategy for SEO?

Let’s examine how you can adjust your SEO strategy for the top four social media platforms most commonly used for business.

Facebook

With roughly 2.89 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the largest social media platform.  With such a large audience comes great business opportunities. 

Here are three tips on SEO strategies to use on your Facebook page:

1. Choose the right name for your Facebook page

When choosing your name: 

  • Keep it simple –use your business’ name and try to complement it with popular search terms.
  • Keep it short – avoid overcrowding it with keywords, as Facebook users might recognize your intent as quantity-oriented rather than quality-oriented.
  • Be specific – the name of your Facebook page should represent your business authenticity, so try to avoid generic names.

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2. Place the keywords in strategic places

The point of using keywords is not to scatter them all over your Facebook page. Instead, implement them in:

  • The description section
  • Photo subtitles
  • Headlines
  • Facebook notes
  • Status updates

3. Optimize your status updates

Create valuable content for both SEO and your audience. Keep in mind that the first 18 characters of your post will be viewed as the meta description and will serve to inform your audience and search engines on what your content is about.

Google focuses its attention on the first word and that is where you should try to slide in your keyword.

Enrich your content with images and insert relevant backlinks to send Google a signal that your content has quality and relevance.

Instagram

Whit roughly 1.3  billion monthly users, Instagram is ranked in the top five social media platforms. 

In November 2020, the Instagram algorithm  changed. The search functionality expanded from profiles, hashtags, and location to general keyword search. 

This change sent a clear message to business owners that Instagram SEO must be included in their marketing strategy.

We offer you five tips on optimizing your Instagram account for SEO:

1. Optimize your Instagram bio

An Instagram bio refers to the 150-character description placed under your user name on your Instagram profile page. Its main purpose is to give people an idea about who you are and why your business is worth following.

When creating your Instagram bio,  answer the following questions:

  • What does your business offer?
  • What makes your product or service stand out from the crowd?
  • Are you running a local, national, or multinational business?
  • What actions do you want people to take after they visit your page?

Make sure to Insert your keywords into your Instagram bio for SEO.

2. Use relevant hashtags

Instagram recently shared tips on how to implement hashtags for showing in search results.  Here is what they came up with:

  • Use hashtags relevant to the theme of your content
  • Check hashtags your follower’s use
  • Mix popular and niche hashtags to expand your visibility
  • Use specific hashtags so your followers can search easily for your content
  • The optimal number of hashtags is between 3 and 5

Instagram insights, an inbuilt Instagram tool, allows you to inspect which hashtags are driving the most traffic to your post.

3. Insert your keywords in the right places

The right places for your keywords are:

  • Your username
  • Instagram bio
  • Hashtags
  • Captions

Linkedin

Linkedin, with close to 740 million members, 35 million registered companies and around 310 million monthly users, is a force to be reckoned with.

Linkedin is a great platform for your business as it can help you get valuable connections and clients. Like other social media platforms, Linkedin can be optimized for SEO too. 

Here are a few tips on how to optimize your Linkedin profile for SEO:

1. Insert keywords in the right places

Put your keywords in the following section of your Linkedin profile:

  • Tagline
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • About
  • Accomplishments

2. Customize your URL for your Linkedin profile

Customize the URL for your Linkedin profile. Businesses with custom URLs are ranked higher in organic search results.

3. Use backlinking

4. Publish valuable content

Pinterest

With over 422 million active users, Pinterest provides a great opportunity for business to share their ideas, creativity, and blogs.

Here are six tips for creating your Pinterest account:

1. Create a business account

A business account is your best choice, not only because is free, but because it gives you access to Pinterest analytics and other helpful inbuilt tools that will give you insights into users’ behavior.

2. Verify your business website on Pinterest

This informs Pinterest that the business you represent belongs to you. You will be required to confirm owning a certain domain by adding a link to your website.

3. Create valuable content:

Valuable content for Linkedin is considered to be in the form of images, videos, blogs, e-books, infographics, and products. 

4. Use keywords in your descriptions for pins and boards

5. Add hashtags with keywords to your pin description

6. Invest in Paid Pinterest ads

Summary

Social media and SEO seem to have no direct connection at first glance, but the more you scratch the surface the more you will find these two crucial parts of digital marketing are a match made in heaven.