Social Media: SEO Practices

Written by: Jason Bayless | February 22, 2016

The link between social media and SEO is not clearly defined. There has been ongoing debate about whether one causes the other, the two keep pace with each other in a coincident manner or whether is fact any such link exists at all.

The controversy has to do with the stated search engine support for indexing popular social media content by the 2 google.com and bing.com. While Google has reversed its publicly stated support for indexing the social media content, Bing has stated that they look at a user’s “social authority” in terms of number of users that user follows and that he is followed by.

Confusing the matter further is that despite what Google has indicated, their search results typically returns the social media websites in their first 5 results when a brand or company is searched for directly.

Social media sites report increased searches by users utilizing the social site’s internal search engine.

All of these factors point to the necessity for implementing SEO practices in social media content.

Social Media SEO Preliminaries

The first consideration in the relationship between SEO and social media marketing is that external links and popularity, as defined by page visits and sharing, are still key drivers in search engine result placement.

It’s critical that your primary focus be in creating a site with compelling and fresh, regularly-updated content. Part of that will involve a key word driven aspect, to be sure, but that should not be the primary focus. The social media entertainment value should always take precedence.

With that said, there are simple practices that every social media site should take into consideration.

  • The full social media account profile should be filled out completely
  • SEO keywords can be implemented in relevant profile description elements
  • Provide links to your other social media site accounts to drive traffic between them
  • Make sure that your social media pages have links to your company’s website

Make Your Content SEO Friendly

It’s equally essential to remember that the reason your followers visit and recommend your site, and share its content is because it provides a form of online recreation. Your SEO design should support this goal, with the result of of increasing interest in your site, rather than bogging it down with keywords that may result in search engines penalizing your sites’ rankings.

  • your social media comments is where to implement your relevant SEO keywords
  • images should support your message and they should be relevantly tagged
  • videos should have titles and descriptions with your keywords
  • use hash tags to group your content in aggregate units
  • ensure that your content is sharable and promote it as such
  • where applicable, on Facebook, for example, make sure your account settings allow your comments to be indexed by search engines

A Couple of Social Media SEO Do Not Do’s

As with traditional SEO, any discussion of how to improve search rankings would be incomplete without at least a short reminder of those practices which will not improve your site’s popularity, but may in fact hurt your site and brand image.

As tempting as it may be to some to speed up organic site popularity growth, do not ever attempt to manipulate your site’s popularity by driving low quality, purchased traffic to it. The social media sites have been onto this for some time and they use sophisticated algorithms to detect whether an account is an actual contributing user.

Accounts can be penalized with reduced internal (and external) search rankings or even closed when these types of practices are used to artificially increase social media popularity.

Avoid introducing irrelevant but popular topics, unless they are in some way meaningful to your site’s theme. We’ve all been to those uninteresting sites that are composites of popular headlines, but weakly unified by any consistent theme. As with other artificial traffic inflating tactics, the ultimate impact will usually be the opposite to what was hoped for.