While social media is an important element of any digital marketing strategy, there can be a tendency to consider social media as an entirely separate “category” of digital marketing than your website SEO efforts. That is, aside from including links to your website in your social media posts, it might seem as though there is very little “interaction” between your organization’s social media presence and the digital marketing performance of your website.
Spoiler alert: this is not true! There are a variety of ways that you can use your social media platforms to directly benefit the SEO performance of your website.
In general, backlinks are one of the most effective ways to boost your website’s position in search results. Simply put, a “backlink” is a link to your website that appears anywhere on the internet. For example, if a local business directory includes a link to your website within your business listing, it would count as one backlink. A high volume of backlinks can send your website right to the top of search results, even if competing websites have more fully developed “on-page” SEO.
Why are backlinks so important? Well, remember that Google has a very clear goal in mind when it comes to determining where to rank websites in search results: whichever website Google deems most relevant to the user’s query is the website it will rank in the #1 position. If hundreds of websites from across the internet include a link to your website, it makes it abundantly clear to Google that the content you’re publishing is highly relevant to your target audience.
Note that Google not only considers the quantity of backlinks to your website, but also their quality. What determines the quality of a backlink? Well, a backlink’s quality has to do with the reputation of the site on which the backlink is published, as well as how clearly the content on the website relates to the site it is linking to. For example, if you owned a fishing supplies website, a dozen backlinks from different blogs about automobile maintenance might not do much for your SEO. On the other hand, just one or two backlinks from a nationally recognized, well-established fishing magazine website could provide a substantial boost to your website’s reputation.
So where does social media fit into all of this? Well, obviously, all of the major social media networks have extremely strong reputations, so Google is sure to take notice of backlinks from these websites. The secret is to ensure that you’re making the most of these platforms and utilizing all the possible ways to incorporate backlinks to your website. For example, you might already have a link to your website in sections such as your profile description and contact information sections…but you can also add backlinks in places such as your company history section, photo captions / descriptions, comment replies, and more.
Remember: while Google may penalize you for certain tactics such as “keyword flooding,” where the same target keyword is included far too frequently on a single page, there is no downside to establishing as many backlinks as possible, as long as those backlinks are published on a reputable website. So when it comes to your social media platforms, take advantage of every possible opportunity to include a link back to your website!