How to Use Social Media to Improve SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | January 30, 2015

In years past, there was minimal overlap between social media and SEO, and how you ran your social media campaign had little influence on your search rankings. However, in recent times this has changed, and it’s hard to dispute that social media impacts SEO at least to some extent. Being smart with your social media marketing and implementing the right strategies can improve your SEO substantially and basically kill two birds with one stone. Here are some specific ways this can be done.

Use Social Sharing for Link Building

Link building is the lifeblood of SEO, and having plenty of quality links pointing back to your site is extremely helpful for improving your ranking. A few years ago, link building was primarily done through traditional links like blog posts, guest posts, comments, etc. Now things are a little different, and social shares can often serve as valuable links as well. While the exact magnitude of social shares is somewhat debatable, legitimate studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between social signals and rankings. For instance, a study from Searchmetrics found that the social signals that carry the most weight are:

  • Facebook shares
  • Facebook comments
  • Facebook likes
  • Tweets

While these have the most impact, it’s also helpful to have other social signals pointing back to your site like pins on Pinterest, G+s on Google+, etc. If you start thinking of social shares as more than just a way to spread content throughout networks and as a way to optimize SEO, you can build some momentum.

Increase Your Audience

Another way to get more shares is to increase your number of followers on all of your networks. Although this may be easier said than done, it’s a very effective way to get more exposure both on social media and in search rankings. The higher your follower count is, the more likely your content is to get shared, which should ultimately mean better positioning on Google and other search engines. That’s why it’s important to work diligently with managing your social media campaign, consistently updating your profiles, posting quality content and engaging your audience.

Optimize Profiles for Local Search

Because many people perform searches on the go using mobile devices, it’s important to do everything possible to pop up for local searches. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to do and involves you taking the time to properly fill out your profile information including address, phone number and hours of operation. Besides simply being on regular social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, it’s smart to also establish a presence on location-based search channels like Yelp and Foursquare. That’s because these will often appear on the first page of search results, which can lead to an influx of organic traffic.

Install Social Share Buttons on Your Website

A final technique that’s quick and easy, but highly effective is to make full use of social share buttons. This is simple to do, and you can create buttons where people can follow your profile or post your content with only a click or two. If you’re a WordPress user, you can find a plethora of plugins that you can install in various places on your website. This is nice because WordPress will basically do the work for you.

If not, The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Creating Social Media Buttons from HubSpot will walk you through the process so that you can create your own and install them onto your site. Once everything is set up, it makes it very convenient for people to follow your profiles and share your content with their friends and followers.

Once you understand how social media correlates with SEO, you can take the right steps to increase your visibility on search. Over time, you can expect to further your presence on both mediums.