Want to kick some content ass? You’ve come to the right place. Get top tips on linking up your search efforts with your social media activity.
For too long SEO and social media have been siloed by marketers, regarded as disparate elements that are rarely brought together, ever. In actual fact, viewing SEO and social media as complete strangers who should never get to know each other does not make for a good marketing strategy. Rather, you should view social and SEO as much more closely intertwined. Bringing them together harmoniously can bring some great results, so here are six top tips for syncing-up your SEO efforts and social media activity to create a content marketing strategy that kicks some serious whup.
Start with search
User intent should form the backbone of your content strategy, so it’s important to start first and foremost with search. This means working out who your customer is and what words and phrases they’re likely to use when looking for the products and services you sell. Start with a free tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to get a broad, initial list of focus keywords. Where does social come into all this? Well, while it’s common sense to populate your website content with keywords, do you do the same across your social activity? If not, start subtly building keywords into your social media posts - your search ranking will thank you for it.
If you’re interested in getting started, drop us a line or download our (free) expert analysis report - it will give you real insight on how well you are currently performing and what you can do to make things that little bit better.
Create great content
Ten years ago SEO agencies were advising companies to stuff their content with keywords in the hope it would see an improvement in their ranking. This strategy has largely failed, thanks to two reasons: 1. content that’s chock-a-block with keywords is rubbish, and 2. engines like Google do not like it and actively penalise companies who practice it.
This tactic has never been advocated by SearchSwarm; instead, we recommend that companies focus on useful, informative and entertaining content that offers value to customers - whether that’s a 1,000-word blog post or a snippy social media post. Great content is likely to mean people stay on your website for longer, bringing your bounce rate down - which can improve your ranking.
Your social profiles will rank in search results
Google any brand and you’ll find their social profiles ranking highly. Here’s Microsoft:
The firm’s Twitter profile is not the ninth or tenth organic result, but the second. This not only shows just how prominent social profiles have become as the ‘shop window’ of a company, but also that you should pay serious attention to what your social channels look like.
Today customers are just as likely to check out your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram profiles as they are your main website, and many smaller companies have ditched websites altogether, preferring instead to operate solely on social. Given social profiles are ranking so highly and visibly (look how Google shows three of Microsoft’s Twitter posts), it’s crucial you focus your efforts on creating great channels.
Social platforms function as search engines
People are increasingly likely to use social media channels as an ad-hoc search engine. Journalists, for example, often turn to Twitter’s search function to find information on breaking news, or to canvass opinion around a national event. But companies have reason to consider this angle too, as consumers are also likely to search for products and services on social channels.
This takes us back to the importance of point 1 - keywords, which should of course be used sparingly, remain a powerful weapon in the competitive battle that is search ranking. Have a look at some of the social media monitoring tools out there, like Hootsuite and Followerwonk - they will help you gain a greater understanding of what people are looking for on social.
Search is increasingly visual
A new type of search is emerging. It’s one that’s based on images, not words. Let’s look at Pinterest. Its co-founder, Evan Sharp, has himself described the platform as a “search engine...but for ideas instead of information”. The difference is this: we use established engines like Google to get concrete info - like ‘who invented the toilet’ or ‘what is the speed of light’. But on something like Pinterest, we’re really searching for inspiration - like ‘how can I redecorate my house’ or ‘what spooky cocktails can I make for Halloween’.*
“The future of Pinterest is visual search...a lot of the visual-based social networks have been displacing the text-based ones,” Sharp continues. For SEO and social, this means focusing more heavily on images. But where does the SEO come in? In hashtags, short descriptions and long-tail keywords focused more on ideas than information.
Think about local search
While you no doubt have an overarching SEO strategy that targets popular keywords, it’s important to consider location, location, location. With ‘near me’ searches (e.g. ‘beauty salon near me’) increasingly popular, location-specific keywords should feature prominently in your SEO strategy, then be fed in to your social activity. A good example of a local search string is something like: Building supplies in London. You could get even more location-specific with: Building supplies in Hackney London. With search engines placing greater value on localised results, this is a crucial step you should take in improving your rank. On social, offer local content that communicates to your audience, the neighbourhood around you.
If there’s one takeaway, we’d urge you not think think of social media and SEO as being alien entities. By bringing them together to work cohesively, you will in turn be developing a united, well-thought-out content marketing strategy designed to optimise your search ranking and keep you visible. Which is what it’s all about, right?
*Thomas Crapper (although debatable)
186,000 miles a second (not debatable)
Rustic tones are really in this season
Make a Walking Dead by mixing vodka, bourbon, Jagermeister, Irish cream and adding some plastic, glow-in-the-dark skulls. Please drink responsibly.