How to optimise your social media marketing for SEO

While social media marketing isn’t (Google claims) an active part of improving your website’s search result ranking, it does have a supportive role to play in helping your business get ahead of your competition online.

I say Google claims social media isn’t a ranking factor in its search results algorithms but research by CognitiveSEO found that there is direct link between the number of social shares and SEO. In other words, the more a piece of content or web page is shared on social media and the more likes and comments it receives, the higher the search ranking it’s likely to get.

But correlation doesn’t always mean causation, there’s more to it than that. So, here’s what you really need to know about optimising your social media marketing strategy to benefit your Google search result rankings.

How sharing a post sends smoke signals to Google

Picture of two people with thumbs up approving the social media content they've just readPutting aside the funny and mishap posts we all love to share, what is it that our audience determine is a good post and worth sharing?

High quality, relevant and worthwhile content.

These tend to be blog posts, videos, and infographics. Heck, if you’re reading this blog post, chances are you came across it on social media, decided it was a relevant read for you and came through to the website for the information.

And by visiting Claire’s website, you’ve given a very important social signal to Google, essentially “hey Google!” This is relevant content to me and is important enough for me to spare a few minutes reading, you should consider that when ranking this website as I think others will find it worthwhile to read too”

Ok, maybe there’s no actual sending of smoke signals, but in a nutshell that’s how a social media post can improve your search engine rankings. So, how can you put that concept into practice?

Be relevant with your social media content

Ok, this is the bit where I mention the word you all seem to hate ‘keywords’ but bear with me for a minute or two, it’s really not as scary as you might be thinking.

How do you decide what to write for a blog or social media post?

You probably have a list of topics that you draw on from new angles that are based on what your business has to offer, and the needs/pain points your audience are trying to solve. And how do your audience find the answers to their questions and get their needs addressed – by searching on Google.

And all a keyword is, is the phrase they use in that Google search box to find the answers they’re looking for. It’s as simple as that.

By ensuring that the content you create for your business covers these topics/keywords that your ideal clients are looking for information on, you’re providing that relevant and high-quality content that will get shared and tell Google to rank your website higher for.

But how do you know what your audience are searching for online?

Getting to know your audience is the best way to get ahead in SEO

A business owner getting to know her clientUnderstanding your audience, who they are, what they do, the problems and pain points they need help with, will help you build up a picture of how they present themselves online, where they hang out and the kind of language, they use to describe themselves and the issues they’re dealing with.

And it’s the language that matters here.

If they are searching Google for help with “small business marketing” but your content uses the terms “marketing for entrepreneurs” – Google can’t match the two of your together in the Google search results. Are you certain they describe themselves are entrepreneurs?

Ideally, in your content, you will use synonyms to cover all bases, and use freelancer, business owner, small business, entrepreneur, etc interchangeably throughout the text. But it’s the title that attracts the audience, and it’s also what Google uses to ascertain the ‘keyword’ you’re targeting.

So, pay attention to the language your client uses to describe themselves and their problems, how do they talk about your help in their testimonials and reviews? What kind of content and social media posts are they sharing, and why do you think this is the case? What do you think is resonating for them, and how can you replicate that in your own social media marketing?

When a social media post speaks directly to ‘you’, you’re more likely to pay attention, give it a read, share if it’s useful and go through to the website for more information. This is what we want to happen with your audience when they read your social media posts – to read, share and visit your website.

The more visitors your website gets, and the longer they stay on your website (i.e., to read a blog or two), the more signals that Google receives telling them “This is a good website, rank it higher”. And that, is how you optimise your social media marketing to benefit your website’s SEO.


Zoe is an SEO consultant and ‘fixer of websites’ who loves working with small business owners to get their websites ranking higher on Google. Visit her website Zebra Business Solutions for more info.

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