Social Media and SEO share an unusual but intertwined relationship. Small business owners often come to us asking for help on how to drive more leads to their website. They often say something like "We post on social media a lot but its not making much of a difference for our ranking and its not bringing us more leads."
Since we have a lot of experience in optimizing websites for search, business owners ask us to build them stronger SEO. While there are no shortcuts to the SEO process there are quite a few acitivities that can help streamline your efforts and give your business a better chance to get results a bit sooner. Recently we were able to get an 8 location law fim to show up in local seach in all 8 of their markets within 2 months time.
With any SEO campaign, we always start with similar activity. We perform a needs analysis to understand why the client is not ranking. To start we focus on usual tried-and-true SEO tactics like shortening or lenghthening URL's, fixing meta tags, and also see the load time of speed of any website we work with. Once we know we are set up for success there we next turn to social media. Which is where a lot of businesses miss the mark, even if they are posting regularly. As we have discovered over the last several years, social media and SEO have a tricky but very important relationship.
Here's Your History Lesson
In a video back in 2014, Matt Cutts who was the head of Google's Web Spam team, said very clearly that there's a relationship between social media and organic search. Keep in mind Facebook and Twitter are treated like web pages, which means Google does not index every single social media post.
Its important for all marketers to know that Google made a deal with Twitter that allowed Google to see every single tweet without needing to index all of them for search. Because of the sheer volume of tweets, Google indexes 3-4% percent of all tweets. Matt Cutts was clear than seach engines don't factor Facebook liks or Twitter into web search rankings. Here's the murky part, we know that Google does correlate SEO ranking with a strong social media presence, but really know one knows how it actually happens. Google remains secretive in its decisions around social media and its hard to exactly pinpoint the impact of social. Brands continue to pour money into social media efforts, however its harder to correlate the two compared to PPC. Recently we have found out some loose connections between the two.
How Social Helps Legitimize Your Business
We find when sites aren't showing up in Google results and your SEO tactics are correct, its often because search engines still don't know your brand exists. When there are no social media profiles to prove your business is legitimite, Google can't validate that. What we recommend as a best practice with all our businesses is set up social media profiles on each platform: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google My Business Listings, and these profiles when properly filled out will help search engines understand how to show your business when people are searching for services you offer.
Social Networks as Search Engines
View your social media profiles as a well to help people and search engines find your business until your website holds a stronger ranking. We have find that the companies that we work with that are on top of their main search results, they also believe in the power of social media to impact that ranking. They are putting time and investment into regular profile updates on each platform. In most cases social profiles will give your businesss a chance to compete on Google. This lesson on social media can really help your SEO be more effective and be found easier by customers looking for your services. As we often say around here, there are no shortcuts in marketing, just like there are no shortcuts in diet and exercise. If you want to hold a strong ranking for the long term, social media as an indirect, yet non-negotiable, must have in your small business marketing toolkit if you want to grow.
Sam Casey is the Managing Partner at Banyan Creative based in Matthews, NC. He is passionate about the helping business find creative ways to show up in front of their customers on the web all across the Charlotte Metro region.
Sam Casey is the Chief Creative Officer and Managing Partner at Banyan Creative.