Let’s play a word association game. When I say sky, you might think blue. When I say drink, you might say coffee (or cocktail, if it’s getting close to Happy Hour). And when I say social media, you should think of SEO. Ok, maybe that last one isn’t so intuitive. Especially if you’re not immersed in marketing every day. But here at Savy, we’ve learned a thing or two about leveraging social media to help your website (and business) rank higher on Google.
You might be asking yourself, Does my business even need to rank higher on Google?
This is a question we hear with surprising frequency. Of course, most business owners know that brand visibility is essential to brand success. After all, nobody can buy your product or service if they’ve never heard about it. But most don’t realize how competitive the digital landscape has become in recent years. These days, there are millions of competitors all trying to rank for the same high-value keywords.
So, does your business need to rank higher on Google? The short answer is yes. The more complicated answer is, Only if you want people to find your website.
Every second of every day, there are an estimated 63,000 search queries plugged into Google. And according to a recent study by Ahrefs, the top three websites on a search engine results page (SERP) pull in 83% of the search traffic. A cheeky article by Digital Synopsis goes so far as to claim that “the best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google search results,” since page 1 results account for a whopping 95% of all search traffic.
Factors that affect your website ranking
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex and amorphous system of moving parts. Of course, it doesn’t help that Google’s algorithms are regularly updated, making it a changing playing field. But, in general, your website’s ability to rank will boil down to two key factors: relevancy and authority.
Relevancy is all about using the right keywords in your website content. That means finding headlines, subheadings, and anchor text that matches what people are searching for. To determine relevance, search engines use algorithms. And these algorithms have gone through many changes over the years to improve the quality of search results.
On the other hand, authority is more about the strength of your website as a whole. It refers to the importance or weight given to a page relative to a given search query. You can also think of it as your page’s credibility. And one metric that Google uses to determine whether or not your page is credible is the total number and types of inbound links.
Building your website’s authority is where social media comes into play.
Wait, isn’t social media all about memes and sharing pictures of your cat?
If you came up in the FarmVille era of Facebook or spent hours agonizing over your MySpace Top 8, it can be hard to grasp how social media translates to business results.
And it’s true that the primary purpose of most social media platforms is to connect and entertain (the word social is in the name, after all). But in the last decade, social media has undergone an incredible transformation. According to a 2021 Pew study, nearly one-third of Americans regularly get their news from Facebook. About one-in-five Americans say they regularly get news on YouTube.
Today’s consumers turn to Instagram and TikTok for community product reviews and influencer endorsements. And according to Hubspot, “42% of people used social media channels for product research” as of 2020.
Many of today’s savvy shoppers are even leveraging targeted marketing to do the heavy lifting. All it takes is searching a hashtag like #bestrunningshoes, and the average social media user can expect ads from athletic companies to bombard their feeds, each with a shoe to recommend.
So, how can your business use social media to rank higher on Google?
#1: Increase total website traffic with click-worthy content
There are two donut shops on your block. One always has a line wrapped around the corner, and the other seems pretty dead most days. Which one are you going to think is the better donut shop? We often gauge a business’s quality by the number of people who shop there. They trust it, so we can too.
Search engines also look at overall traffic to determine your website’s quality and trustworthiness. More traffic shows more relevance and higher quality content. Plus, more visitors to your website means more potential sales or inquiries. It’s more eyes on your content, learning about your brand, and what makes it tick. While total website traffic isn’t the end-all-be-all of search engine ranking, it’s a significant contributor. And social media can help drive that traffic. According to Social Media Examiner, almost nine in ten marketers say increasing website traffic is a primary benefit of social media marketing.
#2: Build backlinks to support site authority
Consider this. You’re a savvy business owner who knows a thing or two about SEO. And you know that you need fresh content to keep search engines happy and your site relevant. So you write a blog that you know your customers (and potential customers) will find helpful. Then you put that blog on your website. For many pieces of content, that’s the end of the process. Anyone who discovers that blog has searched for a keyword related to your content.
But you don’t have to leave your content’s visibility up to chance.
By taking it one step further and sharing that same blog on social media, you increase the odds that somebody will scroll past it. And that increased visibility means other content creators might see it—think bloggers, journalists, or authors. If a creator links to your blog, it creates a backlink, making your page more likely to rank.
#3: Treat your social media profiles as extra opportunities to rank
When you type your brand’s name into a search engine (AKA conduct a branded search), your website appears first on the search engine results page. And, if you’ve optimized your social media profiles, they’ll help round out the results, edging your competitors off the first page. According to SEO expert and business growth expert Neil Patel, “A few active social channels can make the experience of getting to know your brand online more fun, engaging, and personal. As such, it pays to have profiles with up-to-date info and engaging content.”
Ready to rank higher on Google?
While social media and SEO might not be directly tied to each other, both play a crucial role in any modern business’s marketing strategy. You can extend your content’s reach and relevance to drive more website traffic by leveraging social media. Plus, social media platforms give your branded terms more opportunities to rank in Google.
Keep in mind that social media won’t be an overnight SEO fix. Increasing overall traffic and building backlinks still require high-quality content that’s regularly updated and shared. But, if you have a content marketing strategy in place already, social media is a great tool to build relevance and authority and help you rank higher on Google.
If that sounds like a lot of moving pieces, Savy can help. As a full-service digital marketing agency, we can handle everything from SEO content creation and optimization to social media sharing and community management.
Get in touch to see if Savy is the right fit to help your brand grow.