“If Social media and SEO fit together like peanut butter and jelly, then content is the bread that holds them together.”
Using content to enhance search engine optimization (SEO) is about creating “stuff” — on your website, blog, and on social media platforms — in such a way that the content (and thus your website or Facebook Page) appear higher in search rankings. Statistics from analytics company Searchmetrics show that seven of the 10 most important factors in SEO ranking currently come from social media: Googlenutella+, Facebook Shares, Facebook Total, Facebook Comments, Facebook Likes, Pinterest and Tweets. According to this same report, Facebook shares are as influential as the number of backlinks.
Here are 8 tips for creating social-media friendly content that ranks:
1. Create a content strategy
What niche do you want be known for: real estate sales, cosmetic dentistry, hand-crafted coffee drinks, Facebook strategy, etc.? Ask yourself: What are my customers’ challenges? How can I help them? What kinds of content do they like? And what kind of content are they likely to share: videos vs. articles vs. podcasts vs. Facebook promotions? What results do you expect? Have at least a vague idea of the answers to these questions before you create and share anything.
Do some homework to figure out where you customers and future customers are and what kinds of content are most appropriate for those platforms. Don’t feel like you have to have a presence on every social network. Instead, focus on one or two until you have some momentum and know which kinds of content your users respond to. It’s better to be engaged on one or two platforms rather than have a presence on many networks but ignore them. Once you have content that’s ready to share, craft unique status updates that are appropriate for each platform. Remember: When content is shared, Google tracks the mentions and recognizes your content as high quality.
3. Research Keywords
Use Google’s Keyword tool to determine the keywords to feature in your content titles and test them. The words should realistically identify and describe your site. Keep a list of keywords that are relevant to your business, including long-tail keyword phrases, and use them in your content when it makes sense. By the way, there is difference between keyword stuffing and “responsible” keyword optimization. Creating content that humans want to read and see and is relevant to their searches is the best way to avoid the former.
4. Determine Social Keywords
There’s not (yet) a Google tool to help with this, but free tools such as Social Mention let you search keywords found in blogs, microblogs, videos, etc. Once you determine the relevant keywords used on social platforms, add them to your keyword glossary.
5. Create relevant content
One compelling reason to focus on relevancy: 60 percent of people are inspired to check out a product after reading content about it.
- Ask your customers/users what they want to read/see.
- Leverage any data you have collected, i.e., what has been popular in the past? Do more of it!
- Look for trending topics in your industry. Alexa Hot Topics and Google Trends can help.
Blogs are an especially important source of content for B2B marketers: 59 percent of them consider blogs the most valuable channel. Companies with blogs produce 67 percent more leads per month than companies without blogs. Add social share buttons to your blog’s homepage and, ideally, to the end of every post.
7. Send email Newsletters
Opt for a text-focused email layout to make content more searchable and to boost SEO in your email archives. Use words from your keyword glossary to increase email open and click-through rates. And don’t forget to include links to all your social media channels so email recipients can follow your company.
Search engines favor high value content; social media sites like sharable, linkable content. Combine the two and you will have competitive advantage for attracting customers, whether people search on Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Some stats to consider:
- 70 percent of people would rather learn about a company through an article than advertising.
- 68 percent of internet users spend time reading content about brands that interest them.
- 80 percent of U.S. internet users interact with social media sites and blogs.
What about you? Do you have any tips about SEO and social media? Let us know!