Early SEO revolved around two things and two things only: link-building and short-tail keyword optimization. At that time, search engine algorithms were in their troglodytic phase, devoid of any sophisticated insights into what made a quality page. Since then, we’ve seen search engines evolve into frighteningly intelligent creatures.
Still, some of the attitudes of old-school SEO persist, including viewing SEO and social media as entirely separate entities. SEO is SEO, social is social, and ne’er the twain shall meet. In reality, a coordinated marketing strategy that integrates social into SEO is not only smart digital marketing—it’s imperative to keep your site alive in search rankings.
SEO and Social: The Peanut Butter and Jelly of Online Marketing
Social media and SEO are partners, not nemeses or strangers. To some extent, social media and SEO do compete with each other—if you’re finding content on Facebook, for example, you’re not finding it via search. Nevertheless, these two strategies are much more like cereal and milk or peanut butter and jelly than they are Batman and The Joker. In fact, some industry experts have gone so far as to say that social is the new SEO.
What’s Social Got to Do with Search?
You probably know that links originating on social media don’t directly count as inbound links to your website. If that’s the case, why bother with social media in your SEO? Here’s the basic premise: search engines know that social sharing is a reliable indication of a website’s popularity and quality. The more people link to you on social network sites, the more likely it is that other sites will link to you as well.
Amplifying Your Online Presence with Social Profiles
Another reason to add social to your marketing mix is its ability to help you control the content of search results. While Bing and other search engines have confirmed that they use social signals in their ranking algorithms, Google has hemmed and hawed. Even if social signals don’t influence your rank, though, social profiles can influence what pops up in searches for your brand. Commonly, social media profiles are among the top search results. Ideally, integrating social into your SEO would lead to search results with your website, Facebook profile, and Linkedin profile as the top three results, for example.
Followers, Likes, and Shares Can Only Help
Remember that while Google denies using social signals in its rankings, it still crawls social sites like Facebook and Twitter as it would any others. The more content you have across these sites, the better your site will rank. Likewise, keep in mind that social media pages are search engines too. Your presence on the sites will determine how visible your content and your brand are when users search within a social media platform.
With the highly sophisticated search engines of today, a coordinated marketing strategy that leverages the SEO power of social is essential. Social media shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. In fact, it’s quickly proving to be the SEO of the future.
Author Bio: Leo Patel is a freelance writer and digital strategist based out of San Diego, California. Leo has over 6 years of professional experience in local search strategy, marketing analytics, brand building, and information architecture.