Yesterday we discussed some of the theory surrounding the use of social media in a search engine optimisation strategy. Today, in Part II, we’re going to dive straight in to some of the tips and tactics you can employ to boost your SEO via social sharing and social following.
First and foremost, increase your social shares – but keep them authentic. Paying for social influence – paying per like or retweet, for example – is big business, and search engines know this. For example, Google’s Penguin update in 2012 was largely designed to weed out some of the low-quality links that had managed to worm their way into high-ranking search results.
Both Google and Bing have revealed they track publically shared links on Twitter and Facebook, so if you want to engage in successful search engine optimisation, you need to have a focus on organic, or natural, tactics. There’s little point in building a bevvy of manufactured backlinks because they won’t do you any good. Your focus – and this is where social media is so powerful – should be on acquiring links in a natural way, by publishing and sharing quality content that people want to pass on to their own friends and followers and networks.
- Pushing links to new content out to your social networks as soon as they are published using a plugin such as WordPress to Buffer.
- Schedule repeat updates with links to allow you to reach a different audience at different times of the day. That way, you can encourage social sharing even while you sleep.
- Set up a Google+ page. Some SEO experts suggest boosting your presence on this social network will give you more weight in organic search rankings. Given that Google, the granddaddy of search engines, owns Google+, it makes sense.
Increasing your social following and network is important for three reasons.
First, the number of followers you have across social platforms is assumed to increase your relevance and authority.
Second, the more genuine followers, friends and fans you have in your network, the more opportunities you’ll have for people to share your content.
Third, some social media watchdogs guesstimate that as the popularity of social networks continues to grow, people will rely less and less on search engines to find what they’re looking for online. That means they’ll need to be able to find you on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram instead.
It’s important to note that as far as search algorithms are concerned, although a large following is taken into account, it is far more beneficial to have a relevant, quality network of followers – that is, followers who are engaging with your content regularly, and relevant in terms of shared interests, as suggested by keywords. Be warned – paying for static and unengaged followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook is unlikely to do you any good in terms of SEO. Search engines are smarter than that – that’s why SEO is such big business.
- Including prominent social sharing buttons somewhere on each and every blog post and page of your website. People are time poor (and lazy). They’re far less likely to take the time to copy and paste a link to share something they like, than they are to hit a button at the bottom of a post. Make sharing your content as easy as possible for them. The more of your content that gets shared, the more people will see your content, the more people will follow you online.
- Engage, engage, engage. Don’t assume you’re going to increase your followers by acting as an island, no matter how great your content is. Ask questions, answer questions, join conversations, use hashtags, and thank people for sharing your content.
What tactics do you employ to enhance your SEO strategy with social media?