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Here’s How You Can Use Social Media to Boost Your SEO

Did you know that social media can impact your SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is about increasing the amount of qualified traffic to your website through organic search results. In other words, helping ensure your website shows up when people search on Google for what you’re offering.Photo of an iPhone with the screen showing social media icons.

And social media is online technology that helps people engage and communicate with each other.

So what does social media have to do with SEO?

HootSuite found that since 2016, there’s been significant growth in Facebook and Twitter pages appearing in search results.

That’s because of at least a few reasons:

  • Social posts can contain keywords, and keywords can help determine what appears on search engines.
  • Search engines partly rely on links to websites when deciding what content to show on search results pages.
  • Social media profiles are being indexed by search engines.

What This Means for You as an Individual

The relationship between SEO and social media can impact your career and your business. This is especially true if you’re an entrepreneur.

Let’s conduct a little experiment.Photo of a man sitting at a laptop searching on Google.

First, open a new tab in your browser.

Next, type your first and last name in the URL bar.

What results do you see?

If you’re on social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, you probably saw links to your profiles on those sites within the first few search results. That means you need to be careful with what you’re publishing on those platforms.

When people meet or hear about you for the first time, they will often look you up on a search engine. Your social media profiles may be the first things they see.

So you want to make sure that what you’re putting out on social media is what you would want someone to know about you the first time they meet you.

Another effect social media can have on your personal SEO is boosting traffic to your own website.

Let’s say you have a blog. Sharing links to your blog on your social media can increase the likelihood that your blog posts will appear in people’s search results.

The same is true if you have an online portfolio or a professional-facing website.

What This Means for Your Company

It’s likely your business isn’t the only company in your space. You probably have competitors.

It’s also likely that many of your potential customers don’t yet know you exist, or that they need what you have to offer. So they’ll turn to a search engine like Google.Photo of two men and two women standing outside looking at their cell phones.

In fact, 51% of all website traffic comes from search.

And when they do, are you sure your website will appear before them when they search?

To put it another way, let’s say you’re a mortgage lender in Scranton, PA.

One day, a woman named Edie Eaton takes out her phone. She lives in Scranton and is interested in getting a mortgage so she can buy her first home.

Edie types into the browser search bar on her phone the words, “Scranton mortgage.” Several links appear on Edie’s search results page.

Your website isn’t included in Edie’s search results page. But your competitor’s is.

Edie visits your competitor’s website, sets up an appointment to meet with a loan officer. And, before long, Edie buys a home financed by your competitor.

You just lost business, all because you didn’t show up in Edie’s search results.

Fortunately, this doesn’t have to happen to you.

How to Use Social Media to Boost Your SEO

Whether you want social media to boost your individual SEO or your company’s, or both, here are three steps you can take.

Step 1 – Use keywords 

Keywords are part of what search engines consider when deciding what pages to display in search results. That’s why including words or phrases in your social posts can increase the likelihood that your content appears in search results.Image with the words, "Boost Your SEO with Social Media. Use keywords, Create backlinks, encourage engagement."

When drafting social media posts, think of the words people may use when they search for what you or your business offer. The same goes for writing your social media profiles.

For example, if you’re a real estate agent in Dallas, you may want to appear on the first page of search results for the keyword phrase, “Dallas real estate agent.”

So you should include in your social media profiles the phrase, “Dallas real estate agent.” And when you publish social posts linking back to your website, be sure to include that phrase in your posts.

This includes using your target keywords in hashtags, photo captions, and video descriptions.

Step 2 – Create backlinks 

A backlink is when a website links back to your website. Backlinks are part of the algorithms search engines use to generate search results.

That’s because search engines see backlinks as other people deciding a web page is worth visiting. In other words, a backlink is to a search engine essentially a vote in favor of a web page.

This means that the more backlinks to your website, the more likely your website will appear high on a search results page.

And social media can help create backlinks to your website. The more times your site is linked to in a social post, the more likely your site is to appear higher on search results.

You can, and should, link to your website in your social media profiles and posts.

But even better is to have others publish social media posts that link to your site. This can include retweets and shares of your social media posts.

The more people share your content on social media, the more likely your content is to show up high on search results pages.

Step 3 – Encourage engagement 

Blog posts and web pages with the most engagement on social media tend to rank higher in search engines.Photo of four people smiling, looking at a cell phone.

Engagement is kind of like a backlink, but it’s different in a key way. A backlink is simply a link from one website, or social media post, to another website.

But engagement is the number of shares, comments, and likes a social post generates.

What this means is that when a social media post that shares a web page gets a lot of engagement, search engines are more likely to serve that webpage up in search results.

Much like search engines see a backlink as a vote in favor of a web page, they see engagement as many votes in favor of a web page.

The best way to increase engagement on your content is to publish useful, informative, relevant, and entertaining web pages and blog posts. When you do, others will be more likely to share that content on their social media.

But Remember This About Social Media

These three steps to using social media to boost your SEO are great, but there are some things you should keep in mind.

Make sure you’re relevant

Your keywords need to be relevant to what you put on your website. If your website is all about azaleas, using keywords about your real estate business won’t produce results for you.

The keywords you use in your social media should align with the content you’ve published on your site.

Add value

Yes, linking from your social media to your website is good. But don’t overdo it.

You wouldn’t spend much time at a party with someone who only talks about themselves. And people won’t follow or engage with you on social media if everything you post is about you.Image showing two arrows going in opposite directions and the words, "social media" and "SEO."

A good approach to social media is to follow the 3:1 rule. For every post you publish about yourself, make sure to publish three that aren’t about you and that provide value to your followers.

Be real

Yes, there are websites where you can pay machines, called bots, to tweet links to your website.

Don’t do it.

For one thing, people can easily see that your content is being shared by bots. That’s because bots use fake social media profiles. And fake social media profiles are easy to spot.

Do you really want people associating fake social media profiles with your business?

Secondly, companies like Twitter are increasingly removing fake social media profiles from their platforms. When the profiles are removed, the engagement they generated go with them.

This means that search engines will likely cease counting the engagement these bots provided your content. So you run the risk of paying for shares of your content that won’t matter once the fake profiles no longer exist.

Now Use Social Media to Boost Your SEO

Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or responsible for a company, making sure you’re showing up in search engine results is essential to growing your business.

And social media plays a significant role in whether or not you appear in search results.

There are no guarantees in search engine optimization. But following the steps above will increase the likelihood that your business will appear for your target customers when they’re searching for what your business offers.

Have any tips to add, or questions to ask? Put them in the comments below, or send an email at nick AT nicholasebarron DOT com.