Among the many ranking factors that the search engines use to determine a website’s standing in the results pages are social signals. The search engines rank websites based on popularity, relevancy and trust among other characteristics, and the social networks are a major source of information in these respects.
Brands must also adopt social media as a way to increase traffic and boost search engine rankings, and it is often said these days that social media is the new SEO. After all, if a website is being shared a great deal on social media, the search engine algorithms consider it to be a significant endorsement of your website and your brand.
So here are the 5 ways to boost your search engine ranking with social media:
1. Publish and Promote Excellent Content
Excellent content is increasingly the driving force behind high search engine exposure and increased website traffic. By contrast, content that is directly promotional will not get you very far either in terms of increased following on social media or increased exposure in the search engines. Instead, focus primarily on publishing engaging content that is helpful, insightful or entertaining in some way, and promote it to a relevant audience. You should avoid being promotional in around 80% of your social media posts. Additionally, be sure to share content from other people and brands that your audience might be interested in.
2. Increase Your Number of Followers
It is widely believed that the number of followers that you have on a given social network has an influence on the search engine results. After all, the more followers your Facebook page has, for example, the more popular your business appears to be. However, relevancy is still the most important factor, and this piece of advice should not be understood as simply focussing on the actual number of followers itself. What is more important is the number of quality, relevant connections that you have built a community around. Followers with fake profiles won’t get you anywhere.
3. Facilitate and Encourage Social Sharing
Far more valuable than sharing and promoting your own content is having others do it for you, and this in turn has an indirect impact on the search engine results as well. Make social sharing easy by including sharing buttons on your website, blog and other online portals. This way, your readers will be able to share content that they like on their favourite social networks at the click of a button. Good content itself, particularly that which is highly entertaining or uniquely insightful is highly shareable, but by making sharing easier, its potential to go viral will increase immeasurably.
4. Stay Present and Post Frequently
Just as is the case with any website that stays abandoned and not updated on a regular basis, social media profiles that are not updated also fade into obscurity to the extent that people cull them from their lists and stop following them entirely. Again, the lack of updates and being consistently present also has an impact on the search engine results, since the search engines strive to deliver up-to-date and relevant content rather than something that was rendered obsolete months or even years before. Any form of Internet marketing, but particularly social media marketing, requires that you be present and committed for the longer term.
5. Expand Your Social Portfolio
Every business should already know the importance of the major social networks Facebook and Twitter, and no B2B marketer should neglect LinkedIn either. However, social media is much more than just these big three. Google+, while having a doubtful future, also remains important, particularly in the case of local businesses due to its close connection with Google Maps and other Google services. However, social bookmarking websites, such as Digg and StumbleUpon are also invaluable resources for promoting and curating content. Additionally, visually orientated social websites, such as Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube should also be considered essential components in the marketing mix.
Given that millions of people spend hours every week viewing their social networks, it shouldn’t be hard to understand why social media is so important for businesses as a way to widen their horizons and reach out to larger, more relevant audiences. Ultimately, your social media following presents the potential to be the greatest endorsement for your brand that it will ever have.
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