Q and A: How do I leverage Social Media to improve my SEO?

QuestionHello Kalena

What do you think is the future of SEO as it relates to Social Media?

I’m really interested in convergence/intersection of Social Media and SEO.  I’d like to select my next set of Search Engine College courses with this in mind.  Do you have any suggestions? For example, I know the importance of blogging etc., but how do you go about creating a network of bloggers that can be used to help increase social media signals?

Toni

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Hi Toni

Social media has been a vital piece of SEO for a couple of years now. The amount of exposure that Social Media Marketing provides can contribute not just to traffic to a web site, but also to a site’s SEO strategy and long term success.

Web sites that are using successful social media strategies will almost always benefit from better visibility in the search engines. Why is this? For a few reasons:

  • Cross promotion of content between various social media channels and a web site usually means more links pointing to that web site. This contributes to a site’s link popularity. Higher link popularity and more relevant incoming links generally increases the *trust rank* of a site and results in higher rankings on the SERPs.
  • Regular posting via a blog or via social media channels consistently creates new content. Search engines LOVE fresh content and will be more inclined to index your site more often if you keep it fresh.
  • New content will attract more visitors and more page views, which in turn will improve your *trustability* with Google and other major search engines.
  • The more people talking about your brand, the better. Social media lends itself to brand discussion and product comparisons. If you make sure to take advantage of that, it can give you insights into new product development and customer satisfaction. Consistent mentions of your brand and/or products should naturally boost your product pages in the SERPs for related search queries.
  • When people are viewing and sharing your content via various social media channels, they are creating yet more links back to your site and this will have a flow-on effect to your link popularity and traffic levels. In effect, they are creating new content for you, without being on your payroll.

So how do you take advantage of all this and leverage your social media networks to boost your SEO strategy? Here’s a short checklist of things you can do when you publish new content on your web site or have something important to share:

  1. Upload it to your web site – This the starting point. Make sure the new content is uploaded here before any of your other marketing channels. This establishes your site as the original source and you can then point your social media posts to this source.
  2. Write a press release about it – If the new content or announcement warrants a press release, create one! Then upload it to press release syndication sites such as PR Web to ensure it gets maximum media coverage.
  3. Blog about it – If you write a regular blog, whether it is on your site or elsewhere, blog about it and link back to the original source on your site. Encourage other bloggers to link to it, blog about it or re-post it on their blogs. You mentioned this in your original question submission and YES, having a network of reliable bloggers either in your employ or in your social network can definitely help spread the word about your new content and contribute to your social signals.
  4. Bookmark it – Make sure your new content is submitted to smaller social sites and bookmarking services like Stumble Upon, Digg, Reddit and Delicious.
  5. Tweet it – Make sure you post a tweet on Twitter about your news, with a link back to the original source on your site and encourage your followers to share with their followers.
  6. Facebook it – As above, post a status update on your company/personal Facebook pages with a link back to the original source. Encourage your Facebook friends/fans to discuss it and share it with their friends.
  7. Pin it – If you have a Pinterest account, you might consider pinning it, particularly if the content is visual in nature.
  8. Google+ it – If you haven’t already set up your Google Plus account, do so quickly. A lot of people are already ditching Facebook and embracing Google+ as their favorite social media hangout. There are also other advantages to using it – if you use AdWords, you can have your ads show up with a little Google+ icon and link to your Google+ page. If you write regular articles/posts, you can also use Google+ for your Google Authorship annotations and track these in Google Webmaster Tools.
  9. Create a video about it – You might consider creating a short YouTube video talking about your news, or create a video version of your blog post. This can work particularly well if your content is a *how to* article or just educational in style.
  10. Create a slide-deck about it – As above, if your content is visual or educational, it would probably make a fantastic slide show. You could create a simple slide-deck about it ready to go for conferences or corporate presentations on the subject at a future date. Be sure to share the slide deck on slide hosting services like SlideShare.
  11. Create an eBook about it – If your content is a white paper or tutorial, you might consider creating an eBook and give that away via your social media channels. eBooks are a great way to solicit permission from people to sign up for your mailing list (in exchange for the free eBook).
  12. Send an email about it – If you publish a regular newsletter or Email broadcast, make sure you link to your new content within your campaign. Encourage people to share the news via their own social media networks.

Want more? Read Marcus Maraih’s article Improve Your Social SEO for more ideas.

Kalena

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