I recently started posting on the social media platform Quora. One question that keeps coming up is ‘which is more important for your website, SEO or Social Media?’ The only answer I can give is you need do both… And, ideally at the same time… Along with a few other things.
SEO or Social… OK, let’s start at the start
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a must but it relies on a few other things being in place in order for it to really have an effect. For starters, you’ll need to have a steady flow of content in order to have something to SEO. Otherwise you are just tweaking existing SEO on a static website.
You should build SEO into your content generation process. That way you have a fresh content, regular SEO and more pages for search engines to index.
Applying SEO your webpages is telling the search engines how you want them to be indexed and what type of search queries you want to get found for. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee top of the page ranking; that depends on a host of ranking factors.
So, don’t rely solely on search
Search is only accounts for about 5% of an internet user’s daily activity. If you think about it, you don’t wake up in the morning and start plugging in random search terms to Google before we get out of bed. You do, however, check your email, your Twitter feed, your Facebook wall amongst other thing.
If someone plugs a search term into Google, it is more than likely a response to a stimulus – an ad, a conversation, a knowledge gap, a social post, a moment of envy or a general wonderment. Regardless of the origin, when a user performs a search it’s to answer a question.
Rather than dismiss search, by building SEO into your content creation process and having a decent flow of relevant content you are giving your website the chance of be found during a search
Google has defined four key types of search as micro moments…
“Consumer behaviour has changed forever. Today’s battle for hearts, minds, and dollars is won (or lost) in micro-moments—intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey.
As mobile has become an indispensable part of our daily lives, we’re witnessing a fundamental change in the way people consume media. What used to be our predictable, daily sessions online have been replaced by many fragmented interactions that now occur instantaneously. There are hundreds of these moments every day—checking the time, texting a spouse, chatting with friends on social media.
But then there are the other moments—the I want-to-know moments, I want-to-go moments, I want-to-do moments, and I want-to-buy moments—that really matter. We call these “micro-moments,” and they’re game changers for both consumers and brands.”
To learn more about Google’s Micro Moments click HERE.
SEO is for the robots. Content is for your people.
Google ranks webpages not websites. There is no amount of SEO that will shoot a static website to the top of the SERP. Search rankings have evolved from being about quantity of keywords to being about helpfulness, relevance, security and trustworthiness.
Before you get concerned with you page rankings you should be asking yourself things like who are my audience? What are their pain points? How does my product/service provide a solution? How can I meet them when they search?
Remember, if searches are triggered by micro moments like I want-to-know, I want-to-go, I want-to-do and I want-to-buy your content needs to be the answer for these needs.
Position your product/service as a solution through your content and amplify through social media. Highlight the benefits as opposed to the features. Solve rather than sell.
Make sure you know who your audience is. This allows you target them more effectively if you understand their needs and their pain points you can position your product and service by pushing content out through social.
Creating powerful content is the best form of SEO
Here are four reasons why creating powerful content will help more than just SEO’ing your static pages.
- Powerful content will more than likely be evergreen. This means you can re-post it again in the future with only a few minor updates.
- Powerful content is easier to re-purpose. For example, if you’ve put the effort into creating an eBook, you could then use it to record a Blab (a live streaming video platform) hitting the main points. This will give you a video to upload to YouTube and share. Blab also provides an audio only version for download meaning you can create a podcast for directories like iTunes. You could also serialise the chapters of your eBook on your website blog. Not to mention all the social media posts for all the re-purposed content.
- Powerful content means you are marketing through your website 24/7/365. Communication over the internet is largely passive. People view your content and you only know they were there through your analytics. If you commit to producing powerful content, you never have to worry about where things turn up.
- Powerful content is more likely to be shared. They majority of people do tend to want to help others. If your content is a genuine solution people will try let other know about it.
Once you have a process for creating powerful content and applying SEO you can hit the social channels to amplify your messages.
Before you consider a social channel you need to focus on defining your audience and your content strategy.
If you fully understand who your target market/audience is you can then tailor your content to meet their needs. When you’ve established this you can start to produce your powerful content.
Depending on who your audience is, you then need to find the social channel they populate.
Facebook is a good starting point. There are more people on this social channel than any other by a multiple. Facebook ads also allows you target a very specific audience.
Personally, I think Twitter has a lot of value. I find it a fantastic resource for news but you can also create some valuable connections and conversations.
One social channel that is often overlooked is Google My Business. This is a must if you want to improve your rank. Google is placing more emphasis on location in SERP’s.
Once you’ve found your channel its crucial you turn up regularly.
A lot of the success on social is down to organisation and planning.
Though social channels are all different in some ways there are some best practises you should follow regardless of the channel.
- Start off by following the influencers or like-minded companies who might be willing to collaborate. That’s easy on Twitter. On Facebook your business Page can ‘like’ and monitor other Pages
- Engage with the influencers, for example on Twitter through replies, quote tweets and retweets
- Don’t forget the ‘social‘ aspect. Don’t fall into the habit of only posting about you and your product/service. Would you expect to make a sale if you walked into the middle of a coffee shop shouted your sales message and walked out? Conversations = Engagement. The more engaged you appear the more people are likely to engage with you.
- Follow/Connect/Like people who regularly engage with you
- Share powerful content, it doesn’t have to be yours all the time. Some say it should be 80 others :20 yours. Play around with the ratio yourself.
- Use images and video when you can. All data points to more engagement from visual posts.
- Use hashtags (Twitter, Facebook, Google+), especially if they are trending and relevant to your field
- Join Twitter chats, Facebook/LinkedIn groups or Google+ communities that reflect your interest or field of expertise. Get involved, the more engaged and helpful you are the more others will engage with you.
- Use native video or tools like Vine, Periscope and Google+ to spice up your feed.
- Vary your post type – Video, Image, Link, Text
- Schedule time in your day to dedicate to Twitter, the more you’re on the more you’ll engage with people
- Use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule posts.
- When you do share your own content post solutions as opposed to sales messages.
SEO is no longer the silver bullet to guaranteeing a top of the page ranking. While still very important it should be part of your content creation process. Once you have a steady flow of SEO’d, powerful content you need to amplify your messages through your social media channels. Its not about choosing between SEO or Social… You need both.
Do you have a content generation process? Do you want one? Do you use social media? Would you like to do it better?
Get in touch if you’d like to discuss any of the above for your business. All our details are HERE