How to Use Social Media in SEO Strategies

Social media and SEO are often thought of as two separate entities within a marketing plan, with social media being where a brand comes to life and SEO the more rote tactic that does all its work behind the scenes. 

Turns out, they’re more interconnected than you may think. Social media actually directly influences SEO: a robust social media strategy informs Google and tells you you’re a legit company. It’s a form of validation for Google’s rankings, second only to websites, and will only become a more important factor as people increasingly use social media to search for and learn about brands, topics and news. There’s a good chance today that someone looking for a new lasagna recipe will start their search on TikTok rather than Google. 

That means brands today need to think about two things: their SEO on social platforms, and how their social strategies impact organic search optimizations

A dual-pronged strategy

The right SEO strategy combines social media and organic search best practices into one cohesive playbook, with each piggybacking off the other. Keywords should span both social and organic search, for instance, as a starting point for both. The way people search on social media platforms versus Google will differ, so keywords should be tweaked accordingly, but both strategies are rooted in the same understanding of the role a business is fulfilling for a customer and what they’re looking for when they’re doing research online. 

Think of it this way: commonly asked questions would both live in a highlight reel on Instagram, and the site’s FAQ page. The website might go more into depth than a series of saved Instagram Stories, but you’re getting similar information – and keywords – into both spaces. This strategy and mindset applies even for brands that are new or not super active on social media – don’t let a lack of prior presence stop you from investing in posting and bookmarking information on your social platforms that can reinforce what’s also on Google. 

An unlikely hero? LinkedIn

Does Google favor any particular social platforms when it comes to SEO? It’s hard to know for sure the inner workings of Google’s algorithms, but LinkedIn is a power horse for SEO strategy. 

LinkedIn is less likely than other platforms to share and spread misinformation, and its long-form text posts contain a goldmine of info and keywords that Google will pick up on. A Linkedin blog strategy can be a great complement to the more social and viral Instagram and TikTok. 

Best practice

So what does an SEO-social media crossover strategy look like in practice? Think about your customer and what type of questions they’re asking, or the type of content they’re engaging with.

A brand promoting its coffee might post images of specific drinks with a recipe attached. At the same time, it would publish a blog post with the same recipe, but with more information and context, making it the comprehensive version to the social media’s abridged version.

This strategy can help brands with brick-and-mortar locations boost their local presence by linking their social media profiles to their Google Business Profiles. Google values content that is new or refreshed, indicating that the business is actively engaging with its audience - potentially better serving the needs of the searcher than a Google Business Profile that has been set up and forgotten about. This will give Google a better pulse on the local business when it comes to serving map pack results to a user/searcher., making social SEO a key part of getting discovered online.

Don’t be a ghost

Brands that don’t use social media in tandem with their organic search SEO strategy are missing out on a beneficial collaboration in visibility and relevance in search results. Failing to properly link to your homepage or missing a synergy opportunity between local SEO and social media by not linking your social accounts to your Google Business Profile pages can negatively impact your local presence on the SERP (search engine results page). It may become more challenging for users to find your local listings and then once they do, a lack of a fleshed-out and up-to-date GBP may give them pause on the accuracy of your business information. Where’s the authority? Is this company a ghost? Don’t leave it open ended or up to chance.

Janine Albrecht is the senior manager of SEO at Acadia.

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Janine Albrecht