Social media and SEO are both essential channels to support the customer journey, they can provide information to the customer as they are discovering, researching and considering various solutions to their problem. They are considered inbound marketing as they attract customers to our website, rather than us reaching out directly to the customer.
Inbound marketing is often preferred by brands and customers as it's not seen as being a pushy sales tactic. Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah (founders of Hubspot.com) sum it up perfectly “people did not want to be interrupted by marketers or harassed by salespeople. They wanted to be helped". SEO and social media tend to draw customers to our brand, rather than us to them, they are channels where we can educate and equip customers with all the information they need to solve a problem.
People use social media for entertainment, education, connecting with friends, business and building new connections. Social media is a more personal experience, where it’s easy to digest small snippets of information, it can be fun, serious, informative and it is usually updated more often than you would a website. We can use social media to stay top of mind and build a relationship with our audience.
When it comes to intent, social media is considered a low intent channel, this means that customers are on there for other reasons than making a purchase - they are there to be social!
However just because it’s a low intent channel, doesn't mean we won’t buy something if it catches our eye and meets one of our needs.
We are spending an inordinate amount of time on social channels, particularly over recent years. According to Statista ‘As of 2019 and 2020, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 145 minutes per day, up from 142 minutes in the previous year.’ So there’s an immense opportunity for brands to get in front of potential customers on social channels.
SEO or search engine optimization is all about getting more high quality traffic to a website. This channel is considered high intent because a search in Google is usually for something very specific. The person searching is looking for something to solve their problem. There are 4 main types of search intent:
Informational intent search, for example: ‘what is the capital of Poland?’
Transactional intent search, for example: ‘womens white trainers’
Navigational intent, this involves searching for a specific brand
Commercial investigation, this is all about planning for a future purchase
According to Hubspot ‘it’s estimated Google processes approximately 63,000 search queries every second, translating to 5.6 billion searches per day and approximately 2 trillion global searches per year’. Looking at the sheer volume of searches, you can see that investing time into SEO is very valuable. Brands can capitalize on a portion of this traffic and convert searches into sales.
Does Social Media Have an Effect on SEO?
Social media does not directly impact SEO, this is supported by a tweet back in August this year by John Mueller at Google.
However, social media could indirectly impact SEO as it can influence decision making and help market content to the right audiences.
Let’s take a couple of examples:
Let’s say I discover a brand on social media called ‘ABC Lawyers’. They share regular content about their business and provide valuable information through their social posts. I learned that they are located in a nearby suburb and that they have helped many other local customers who have wonderful things to say about them. Essentially they are building trust with me over time through their social media posts.
Later I am looking for a legal service that they provide and I search for that service on Google. Their brand appears in the search results and I instantly recognise the brand from social media and so I decide to click on that result, even though it's not in the top position.
This is a positive signal to Google that I clicked on ABC Lawyers website over the websites that appear higher in the rankings.
Let’s look at another example: ABC Lawyers creates a blog post and shares the link to the post on social media, the post is well received by their followers. The post attracts likes, comments and shares and is seen by people who decide to link to it from their own website (also known as a backlink). Backlinks have a significant impact on SEO and so ABC Lawyers get a boost in Google.
Both of these examples show that social media has positively influenced the customer and indirectly impacted ABC Lawyers SEO. Digital channels work best together, as they can support different stages of the customer journey and positively impact one another.
In turn SEO can impact social media, a brand may use SEO to attract visitors to their website, who can then click through to the brands social channels to connect with them there.
All of our online touchpoints are important as they can impact how a brand is perceived, Garry IIIyes at Pubcon 2017 said "the context in which you engage online, and how people talk about you online, actually can impact what you rank for."
How Social Media and SEO can work together:
Social media is a great way to promote content on your blog or get clicks to your sales pages (both organic and paid), you can also repurpose snippets of a blog post on your social media posts
Your social profiles can appear in a Google search and rank for keywords, this is particularly useful for new businesses who have yet to get a website
Having a social presence can help build trust and may provide more insights about you and your company and may positively influence clicks to your website
Posting regularly on socials shows you are an active business and potential customers can get a sense of business values and expertise before they make a decision to purchase
Social media can help attract visitors to your website straight away, so it’s a great channel to work on in parallel to your SEO
In summary, social media activity does not directly impact SEO, however social media can be used to build a relationship with the customer and can help the brand build authority and trust. Both channels can be used to send traffic to a website, so it’s certainly a good idea to invest time in both.
This blog post was kindly and thoughtfully written by Vicki Mace at Insight Digital Copy. Insight Digital Copy is your local SEO in the Sutherland Shire providing affordable monthly packages to get your business ranking on the first page of Google.