If you are marketing your brand, its products and services online in 2021 – then it’s likely that SEO and social media are already key considerations.
Getting eyes on your business is the name of the game and SEO and social media are proven strategies for achieving that objective.
But if you are already investing resource in both areas, how can you ensure you are getting the best possible results and delivering a joined-up approach? And why is a joined-up approach important anyway?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) refers to the strategies used to improve the search engine performance of your platform by organically boosting its ranking and visibility on Google.
It is distinct from PPC (Pay Per Click), which works on the basis of paying Google to advertise your business in the ‘Ad’ slots at the top of results, and in display ads across the internet.
The strategies for delivering SEO results have evolved quickly during the last 20 years in order to meet Google’s own changing requirements. The search giant regularly tweaks and refines how it recognises web platforms, and developers and marketeers have to show agility and pragmatism to keep up.
Changes can be made to a website to enhance the user experience, boost load times and increase the number of pages to boost a brand’s search performance, while producing original, relevant content that factors in identified search terms is another largely evergreen tactic for achieving results.
You can also drastically improve search performance by building a back-link profile. This refers to establishing and placing links to your website from other relevant and high-authority website. Each link is recognised by Google as a ‘vote’ in support of your site’s credibility.
Defining social media
In many respects, social media is much easier to define – though, like Google, the major platforms can often change the rules for what works and what doesn’t at relatively short notice.
Depending on their target audience, brands may develop presences on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube and more to engage, inform and articulate key messages.
Marketeers typically utilise a mix of organic and paid social, with platforms like Facebook in particular naturally very keen to encourage page owners to invest a budget in promoting their services.
Fortunately, the leading platforms make it relatively straightforward to target a defined audience and demographic, ensuring that you are pointing your products and services at the right people.
From the perspective of organic output, content that engages, entertains and educates is far more effective that a schedule of content that simply seeks to sell services at every turn.
Brands must work hard to optimise their output for each particular channel, including using visually-driven content for Instagram and ensuring that your output is tailored for a B2B audience when posting to LinkedIn.
A blanket approach across all channels will rarely achieve effective results.
Social media has also evolved to become a natural point of engagement between a brand and its customers, providing a platform for feedback and conversations.
Often, brands invest large resources in ensuring that their social media accounts deliver prompt and helpful responses to customer queries or complaints, pushing positive experiences and preventing negative content from dominating the narrative.
How can the two strategies work together?
On the surface, the two strategies appear distinct from one another, but there are several ways that they can support one another as part of a wider plan.
Ensuring that the two streams are working in tandem will help to ensure you get the best results and are delivering a single, strong online marketing message to prospective customers.
Using social media to promote content
If producing SEO-optimised content is a major part of your SEO strategy then social media is an excellent tool for putting those articles in front of the biggest possible audience.
Often, an organic social media strategy can be heavily informed by website content, helping to ensure that the content you are publishing across platforms like Twitter and Facebook is substantial and engaging.
You can utilise social media to create a conversation around a particular piece of content by asking a question and inviting comments. This can help to boost engagement and drive traffic to the article.
While comments sections within websites can also help stimulate conversation, social media platforms allow your customers and target audience to interact using their own profiles and real names.
Linking your website content to social media in this way can also provide an insight into the type of people your content is reaching, providing a valuable insight to inform future strategy.
Social media can also directly impact a platform’s SEO performance by driving a steady stream of traffic to different parts of your website.
Shares, Likes and other engagements with a post that links to a page are detected by the Google algorithm and can deliver tangible results in terms of search ranking in the longer term.
Ultimately, Google sees its role as providing the best and most relevant search results to its users, and social media engagement is interpreted as a key barometer to gauge a particular page’s popularity and positive impact.
The search engine’s current partnership with Twitter, which sees Tweets appear in search results, is evidence of the growing trust Google is placing in social media and the interactions generated by brands.
Ensuring that your brand is at the top of social media feeds, through posting regular content and allocating a steady budget to promoting your content, will not only help you grow your following across channels, but also deliver a tangible impact in SEO terms.
Perhaps more than anything, Google recognises that many customer journeys start and end on social media, with many users finding a particular product without having to perform a manual search.
Without its own horse in the race – Google shut down their Google shut down their own Google+ service in 2019 – the search engine is working hard to build platforms like Facebook and Twitter into its own search experience.
As we can see, although often perceived as being distinct strands of online marketing, the overlap between SEO and social media is indisputable.
And although an SEO strategy can still be delivered in isolation, brands marketing their products online must ensure that their social media output works in correlation with this process.
Those brands dismissing social media as insignificant in SEO strategies would be wise to reassess their approach.
They will quickly discover how output across the biggest channels can support their ambitions of boosting their SEO performance and improving their Google ranking.