Everyone knows having a million Instagram followers or 200,000 Facebook fans is a “good thing.” But beyond a general joy about being a popular kid, how exactly can your social media following help boost your website’s customized SEO plan? In other words, how does popularity lead to real, business value.

One important way is through content.

How does content help SEO?

If you have a space where you have a large audience of people interested and engaged in a conversation, you can:

  • Generate traffic to content on your website. If your audience on social media trusts you to point them to relevant information, they’ll follow the links in your posts to your content—whether it is a blog, landing page, podcast, or video. This can start the momentum of traffic to your website. It’s kind of like getting a push on a sled at the top of a snowy hill. When this traffic starts moving and engaging with content on your website, this provides a positive SEO signal to search engines.
  • Catch the attention of people who will link back to content on your website. Say you’re a local baby/toddler clothes and toys store, and you post a link on social media to a blog about toys that stimulate critical thinking. If some of your followers have lifestyle blogs or are interested in companies that work for positive social impact, they may link back to your website. These back links to relevant content provide link equity to your pages and boost your SEO!
  • Build your brand identity around certain topics. Although having a certain identity on social media doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically shoot to the top of search engine results, it can help search engines realize that your business’s content is relevant to certain questions or topics. For example, a business called, “Hill and Associates,” can make it clear from content on social media that they are an OBGYN practice (instead of, for instance, a law firm or cardiology practice). This will help search engines know that your blog will likely have information on women’s health directly from a health care provider. That is a helpful thing to have a search engine know (think: credibility, authority, and relevance) for SEO purposes!
  • Give your fans a space to advocate for you. If you have a great product or service, you will have fans—whether they are normal people who are thankful for your product/service’s help in their lives or influencers who are looking to advocate for valuable products/services. Their honest sharing about the value of your business, whether it’s through online reviews, promotions, shares, shouts, or more, indirectly (but not insignificantly) affects SEO.

Social media gives these people a space to advocate for you (get people to like your page; share your posts; try your product; visit your website). And if the proof is in the pudding, the pudding, in this case, is content. So social is a place that your fans can advocate for your value by using content.

How doesn’t content on social media help SEO?

Before I go further, it’s important to know how social media in general and content on social media do NOT help SEO:

  • Search engines do not factor the size or engagement of social media audiences directly into SEO rankings. In other words, you are not going to jump to the top of search engine results page rankings only because you have a large and/or active social media audience.
  • You do not get link equity from links that you or others make to your website from social media spaces. There are a lot of reasons for this, including the time and energy it would take to monitor the authority of all these link backs. But the moral of the story is that these links on social—although valuable in generating traffic—are not valuable from a link equity perspective.

So how do I start using content on social to boost my website’s SEO?

So now that you know why content and social are such a great combination for SEO, what are some things you can start doing about it?

  • Create content. You can only start leveraging content on social media when you have it to leverage. So find a way—whether it’s a blog or series of infographics—to create content to leverage on social media.
  • Make sure your content is relevant and high quality. It doesn’t take much to lose an audience’s trust. If you have content that doesn’t answer the questions the title promises to answer, or if it’s disorganized and unhelpful, you might as well not create the content. It’s worth the investment to create relevant, high-quality content, because that’s what will allow you to reap the benefits of synergy with social media.
  • Post your content on social. Test to figure out how to create maximum engagement with this content.
  • Promote the content on social to give yourself some extra momentum. Different social platforms respond differently to paid promotion and organic traffic, but if you have content that you want to get off to a running start, you may want to consider paying to promote it on your social media platform of choice.
  • Promote content to relevant audiences. The beauty of social media is that you can target your promotion to the most relevant audiences. Use that ability to target to get the most engagement with your content (so you can get the most shares, backlinks, and traffic).

So, for example, pretend you are that baby store referenced earlier. You might target a blog about, “Best Toys to Give Your Grandkids” to people over the age of 55, while you target a blog about, “Best Toys for a Car Trip,” to people ages 25-45. By not promoting to a random audience, you’re most likely to get the value from your promotion and the content.

Although SEO, content, and social media are often thought of as separate disciplines, using these tools together can provide significant value to your business’s bottom line. As you look forward to the future of your business’s online strategy, it’s worth helping these teams work together to generate the most value for your business.

If you’re interested in a personalized, in-depth analysis of your website’s SEO strategy, contact me for a free consultation.

Valerie DiCarlo

Valerie DiCarlo

Valerie is principal and owner of SEO Web Consulting successfully serving clients since 2005 with ethical, holistic, most up-to-date, best practice SEO and online marketing solutions. As a respected boutique SEO consulting firm, our mission is to demystify SEO and provide measured results. All services are customized to meet your specific business need.