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How to Use Social Media to Improve Your Website’s Ranking

It is a bit of a stretch to claim that social media marketing and SEO are two sides of the same coin. Nevertheless, these are two intrinsically linked strategies which can significantly improve your website’s visibility when used together in a manner that neither can by itself.  These days, most online marketers use social media tools in addition to SEO optimization techniques. In fact, Econsultancy’s 2013 report on Search Marketing stated that 74% of companies and 82% of agencies included in the survey had integrated social media into their overarching SEO strategies. Moreover, having an active presence on social media indicates to search engines that your brand or business is legitimate and reliable.

So, without further ado, following are four ways to effectively use social media platforms to help boost your website’s ranking -

The most obvious benefit of using social media is growing your follower base which is very important for brand recognition. Admittedly, increasing your follower count is a slow and often frustrating process. It requires months, if not years of regular updates and posts before you can build up a sizeable follower base. Start by identifying niche online communities and forums who might be interested in your business’s product or service. Post relevant well written articles that people will find useful. Open up topics for discussion and start engaging with the community. Reply to comments, criticisms and suggestions as much as possible. This is particularly important as it will humanize your brand and help people identify with it. The free publicity is an added bonus.

This is essentially an extension of the previous point. When businesses engage and communicate with their followers on social media, they begin to develop strong relationships with their existing customers. This perceived bond between the customer and the brand is what ensures customer loyalty. In addition to retaining your existing customers, this relationship building exercise provides a much greater return on investment by bringing in new customers through referrals from your existing ones. Indeed, word of mouth can have a significant impact on the number of visitors coming to your website thereby increasing its ranking on search engines.

Third, social media sharing can improve your website’s ranking much in the same way that high quality backlinks do. While SEO is useful for attracting visitors from search engines, posting content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus lets you connect with a much wider audience. Apart from posting on niche online groups, approaching Facebook pages or Twitter accounts with large follower numbers can be very rewarding if they are willing to link to your website. It goes without saying that having high-quality original content is an essential pre-requisite for this. If you play your cards right, you will be rewarded with a massive influx of new visitors.

Finally, remember that social media platforms share many of the same features of search engines like Google or Bing. Much like search engines, people use social media to find content that they are looking for. There are several notable clothing and apparel brands that have successfully used photo sharing apps like Instagram and Pinterest to gain a substantial follower base. Many online personalities have monetized their Instagram accounts by endorsing a range of varied items from jewellery to smart-phones. YouTube is another great way to reach out to the online community especially if you have good video content.

This is particularly useful for technology centric brands. Samsung, LG, and Intel all have official YouTube channels displaying their latest products. If your company or business has a strong presence on social media, there is a pretty good chance that several users might accidentally come across your content on these platforms which will re-direct them to your website. Additionally, many users look for social media profiles of companies to assess their credibility.

According to some recent studies, Google’s search algorithm does not respond very well to social media signals. Even if this is true, this should not be used as an excuse to downplay the value of social media with respect to SEO. As mentioned earlier, people discover businesses and brands in diverse ways using a combination of social media platforms and search engines. Furthermore, Microsoft’s Bing, the world’s most widely used search engine after Google, places a great deal of weight on the “social authority” of a user.

For the sake of argument, even if a strong social media presence might not directly move up your ranking on search engines, it definitely increases the volume of traffic to your website which ultimately has the same impact. Similarly, having your brand’s social media profile displayed in the first page of search results will help new users discover your website. At the end of the day, both SEO and social media marketing work hand in hand to help improve your website’s ranking. Google’s underlying search algorithm is far too complex for an ordinary layman to decipher and understand. Nevertheless, you can definitely improve your website’s ranking with the practices described above.