It is a common misconception that your social media networking efforts won’t affect your search rankings. The misunderstanding occurred when Matt Cutts, the former head of the spam team at Google, stated that the Facebook likes and Twitter followers do not affect the search algorithm and search rankings.
In reality, although it is evident that there is no direct correlation between your social media popularity and the very search algorithm; signals of your popularity (brand mentions, shares) are resonating through multiple different channels, and those channels affect your rankings significantly.
Not only that, but you can also use your social media impact in order to affect your SERP status directly. That is a common practice, and there is even a possibility that you are doing this already, not knowingly.
Keep reading to find out how your social media networking can affect your SEO, and how you can use this to your advantage. But first, let’s explain why you shouldn’t worry that much about your SEO if you have a well-developed social media marketing strategy.
Social Media vs Website Conversions
First of all, it is not unusual to have a social media profile ranking higher in the search than the official website. In fact, a lot of small businesses are focused on social media metrics, primarily because Facebook shares bring much more conversions than your average blog conversion rate (1.4%).
Facebook is actually the most lucrative platform when we are discussing conversions. In average, conversions on Facebook add up to 1.85%. When compared to Twitter (0.8%) and LinkedIn (0.4%) average conversion rates, it is understandable why businesses prefer spreading brand awareness through Facebook.
Why is this so? Well, perhaps it has something to do with the human factor and its impact on conversions. However, your Search Engine Optimization will still remain important, and SEM will still continue to present one of the dominant channels that can connect you to your audience (there are 40.000 searches happening this very second).
Link Building & Social Media
The Value of No-follow Vs Do-follow Links
Building links has always been a reliable way to establish your presence online. If you can find relevant sources to link back to your website, and build those type of links (do follow links) on the regular – you will have no problem with staying on top of your SEM game. Since gaining these type of links is extremely beneficial for the overall rankings of your website, getting these type of backlinks has become an extremely difficult undertaking as well.
For example, all social media links are “no follow” links, and while their counterparts refer search engine crawlers from one website to the other, and boost your rankings in the very algorithm, the “no follow” type of links are purely organic. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not valuable, on the contrary, organic links are more conversion friendly in general.
So, when you are posting your blog content on your social media networks, concentrate on the headline, on the quality of the content that you are publishing, and make sure to monitor your click through rate.
Link Prospecting through Social Media
Social media networks present an inseparable aspect of every link building process. The fact is that most business owners won’t check domain authority status, or search rankings at all, when they are evaluating opportunities for cross promotions and backlinks. Instead, they are focused on the organic reach of their efforts: number of followers, average shares, and audience reach in general.
On the other hand, platforms like Twitter can also be a very rewarding tool for finding new websites and companies for your off-site SEO efforts. Utilizing search preferences of your social media platforms can help you gain new opportunities.
There are a few services that actually employ and integrate various social media metrics in order to find valuable prospects, like this link prospecting tool developed by Four Dots, and using them can save you hours, if not days of research. Especially if you are operating within a competitive market and there are literally thousands of websites that you should go through in order to gain valuable link building opportunities.
Facebook Contest Campaign as a Link Building Hack
Social contest campaigns are great for generating buzz and driving traffic to your business. They are great for gaining actual leads, getting new email signups and they are an absolute champion when it comes to social media engagement. Getting new email leads is reason enough for every business to invest in a social contest, with email conversion rates variating from 2% to 12% in average.
But, apart from that signup form, maybe you could try and add an entry in your contest that can actually benefit your SEO directly. If you encourage people to link back to you from their websites in order to gain bonus points, or similar prizes in your contest campaign, you will automatically receive their link juice as well, with hardly any actual effort invested at all.
This will affect your domain authority, your rankings, and can be a serious boost in your SEM since you will gain links from your audience, which is usually the most relevant source that you can find. Not to mention that if your contest generates enough buzz, people will link back to you from their websites on their own initiative as well.
At the very end, Social Media is the main channel that can help you raise brand awareness. If you are gaining followers and shares, and you are pushing your brand on the market, people will start searching for your business online.
Raising brand awareness will definitely help you with gaining valuable leads, and when people start looking for your services and products online, and they reach your website and find what they need – that is the most valuable signal that you can send to a search engine, and will certainly help your SEO and your SEM.
Remember that both SMM and SEO are all concentrated on the end user, and your vital factor that can make or break your business will always remain the same: it is your organic traffic.
This article was originally written by Nate Vickery for the Heyo blog.