Matt Cutts has repeatedly stated that direct social media metrics don’t help your ranking in Google. That is, the number of likes, shares, retweets and favorites, etc. doesn’t factor into Google’s search algorithm.
That doesn’t mean, though, that having an active social media presence doesn’t help your ranking in Google. Depending on the market you’re trying to reach, it can help tremendously. You just have to make sure you’re using the right strategy. This article will teach you that strategy.
The SEO Goal For Social Media
Google rewards great content that gets lots of links, so if you’re using social media for SEO those two things should be your goal.
The first part, great content, cannot be emphasized enough. Nobody is going to share mediocre content. You need content that really hits home with the intended audience. If you want people to link to you, you have to give them something worth linking to. There’s no getting around it.
Although Google’s algorithm doesn’t include social metrics like likes and shares, it certainly does count links on social pages. If somebody retweets your article, that link gets crawled and indexed by Google. If somebody shares your post on Facebook, that link gets Google’s attention, too.
In traditional SEO it doesn’t help much to get more than one link from each separate domain. That’s not necessarily true with the big social media sites, though. If you get a number of shares on popular Facebook pages, there’s reason to believe that Google sees each Facebook page as it’s own entity and will count each link individually.
The Tiered Approach To Growing Popularity
If you’re creating great content already, the next step is to establish a relationship with people on social media who have an interest in your target market. To do this I suggest taking a tiered approach.
What I mean by the tiered approach is that you initially want to connect with people who don’t have a huge following. That’s because you don’t have a huge following yet either, so those people who do aren’t likely to pay a lot of attention to you.
You ultimately want to get your content shared by the big dogs, and that means working your way up by networking with the little dogs first. You have 100 followers, they have 200 — more than you but not so much more that they will ignore you. After networking with a bunch of those folks, you may grow to 250 followers. At that point you start approaching people with 500, and so on.
Pretty soon you’ll have the attention of people with large followings, in addition to your own tweets and posts going out to a large number of your followers. When the big dogs share or retweet your content, the results can be fantastic not only in terms of SEO but for traffic in general.
Adapting to Social Media
Ecommerce-only sites aren’t very well suited to social media, while content-driven sites are. If your site is ecommerce-only, you’ll need to adapt.
For instance, if you’re running an affiliate site that sells plumbing supplies, chances are you’re not going to build up much of a following for that end of your business. You can, however, begin building a following if you post a series of how-to articles for do-it-yourself plumbing projects.
The advantage of taking the content-to-social media approach is that it gives people something worth sharing. Those shares result in visitors and often result in links, which have a direct bearing on your ranking in Google. In the articles, you would naturally be linking to the supplies needed for the projects from your own catalog, which generates revenue.
Copywriting Still Counts
If you want people to read your tweets or Facebook posts, you have got to create them in a way that draws attention. That means you need to polish your copywriting skills.
Use headlines that make people to take notice. Make it irresistible for them to click-through and see what follows.
The image you attach to a tweet or post makes all the difference in the world. Make sure you use bright, noticeable images. Funny images or images with beautiful people in them draw the eye.
There’s a reason used car dealerships still put big inflatable gorillas outside their stores even though they’re unrelated to the product–people turn their head to look. You want to turn heads with your tweets and posts, and follow that up with great copywriting that pulls them to your page. Your page, in turn, should also be great, something that gets people to share it or link to it.
Social Media And SEO, Hand-In-Hand
Getting your content to go viral naturally results in a large number of links that also result in your content ranking well in Google, but you really shouldn’t just use social media for link-building. The traffic that you can generate from social media sites alone often dwarfs the amount of traffic you’ll receive by ranking for low to mid-level competition in Google anyway.
Play your cards right and the rankings you generate in Google by properly using social media will be just a side-benefit. The real score will come from the traffic you generate and the repeat business you get from the people who follow you.