This digital sphere is a difficult one to navigate, with new and innovative technologies being developed constantly. The platform as a whole is ever changing, but as a business owner in today’s digital world, it’s essential to keep up with the latest developments so that you know which channels to devote your time to in order to maximise ROI.
When it comes to digital channels, Search Engine Optimisation and Social Media are two of the most prominent, and are often interlinked. In fact research by GroupM  found that when consumers were exposed to both Search and Social Media of the same brand, the overall Search click through rate increased by 94%.
There are a number of ways in which Social Media can positively impact SEO.
How Does Social Media Affect SEO?
Social Media has greatly impacted the way content is discovered and shared online, but it hasn’t completely taken over the way in which we look for information. Search Engines remain the primary source of all traffic to websites, with an average of 47% of website visits attributed to Search compared to just 2% of traffic coming through Social Media [Search Engine Watch, 2014].
It’s important to remember that although Social Media only gets credit for 2% of website visits, it has become a major influencing factor taken into account by Search Engines when indexing content across the web.
Social Link Building
One of the main factors that Search Engines use to consider your website rank is the number of external websites that link to your site. These backlinks give Search Engines and indication of the number and types of users who are viewing the information on your page. The more relevant links, the better quality the page appears to be to the Search Engine, which results in higher rankings.
Developing quality content for pages on your website is key to generating backlinks. By sharing this content across Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, it’s more likely to be noticed by other sites who may then link to it. Furthermore, links to your content within social networking site also help the search engines understand which websites are credible and should be ranked higher.
Boost Relevant Keywords
The keywords used throughout your Social Media pages are a factor in where the content will rank in Search Engines. Business keywords should be used in the content being posted from the company’s Social Media account, as well as on the profile of each social account.
In order to fully optimise your social channels for SEO, make sure you fill them with relevant information about your business, while naturally incorporating the your most important keywords. Pay particular attention to the name, URL, and bio on the Social site to get the most out of these channels. Targeting longer tail keywords in the content that you post can improve your Search Engine ranking for pages other than your homepage and drive traffic to your supplementary products or services.
Local search is extremely important for businesses with a physical location, especially small businesses that find it impossible to compete with the big brands in their field for top Search Engine rankings.
Mobile search has taken over from desktop with the majority of local searches for business being carried out on the go [comScore, 2015]. It’s important to be active where users are searching for your business or service offerings, which in most cases, will be Google. By using GoogleMyBusiness, your customers can find you immediately, anywhere, on any device, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+. Creating a Google My Business account makes it more likely that you will come up for relevant searches in your area.
Increase in Domain Rank
Each piece of content shared publicly on social media will increases the authority of your domain as a whole, which in the long term, will drive traffic and increase the credibility of your business.
Simply put, the more content you can write and share through your social sites, the better. Just as Google appreciates when a website is updated constantly with fresh and relevant content, the same can also be said for your social media accounts. So keep the social media sites related to your business active with frequent, quality updates in order to continuously remind to Search Engines that your business is authentic, engaged, and valuable to readers.
No-one in SEO is there for a quick win. It’s a long-term strategy for your business that, in time will deliver relevant traffic and leads. If you do go down the route of SEO remember that there are countless factors which can improve your ranking, and Social Media is just one – albeit an important one.