Search Engine Watch has noted that, as far as Google has revealed, social media metrics don't factor into the company's search algorithm. That means Facebook likes, Twitter retweets and other indicators of social interest do little to increase a website's SEO rank, at least not in any direct way. But social media does play a significant role in a brand's content marketing strategy — not only in terms of how content is created, but also in how that content reaches its audience.
Although it's not directly factored in, social media activity does affect a brand's search engine ranking and thus, its visibility through search queries. This means that brands can elevate their search rank through smarter use of social media as a tool for dispensing and promoting their content. Here are three basic guidelines to help you use social media for content promotion.
1. Choose Headlines and Images With Social in Mind
How an audience responds to content has a lot to do with the first impression. What carries the most weight with Facebook, Twitter and other social media followers are compelling images that create visual appeal combined with headlines that offer intrigue or pose relevant questions. Social media's value is all about reaching a new audience and making an impression, and headlines and images are the first ways this happens. Marketing Land points out that 60 percent of the time, people will read only your headline, but a compelling headline can drive audience members to click the link and read more.
2. Hone In on Audience Interests
As Marketing Land notes, it's important to stay on top of social trends and keywords that your target audience is interested in so that your content can best serve their interests. But ultimately, it's most important to make sure that while you're focusing on their interests, you're also producing quality content that is relevant and helpful to the reader. These rules apply beyond social media, meaning that attractive, quality content will thrive through search just as it does through social. Not only are quality and relevance the cornerstones of a great content marketing strategy, but they're also top priorities for both social platforms and search engine rankings. Remember, the goal of social strategy is to bring your brand to new audiences and to connect with them quickly, so precise audience targeting is critical.
3. Make Heavy Use of Google+
Google may not factor all social media metrics into its algorithm, but according to Social Media Examiner, its own social platform has a hand in search rankings. For SEO purposes alone, Google+ is a valuable platform for building connections, and Marketing Land notes the importance that linking to content, sharing within established circles and building connections with other professionals and organizations can have on your own credibility. The ability to share content successfully through Google+ could directly improve your search ranking — and those gains come in addition to the secondary benefits of encouraging links and traffic by increasing the channels of website exposure. Link building is an underrated benefit of using Google+, and because it's such a business-centric platform, it's a natural tool for SEO.
The relationship among social media, content and search rankings doesn't always feature the clearest lines of influence. But through constant refinements to each individual channel and a heavier emphasis on integration, a brand can use each of these approaches to elevate its marketing campaign to new heights.