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In the world of digital marketing, success means landing on top of search results, drumming up awareness for your brand, getting a good amount of traffic for your website, and driving sales.
Ultimately, the objective of being successful in online marketing is meant to help one achieve a bigger goal—that of attaining overall success for the business itself. You wouldn’t start a business without the goal of making a sizeable profit in mind, would you?
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about what you need to do to achieve success in digital marketing. Of course, you’ll have to come up with an effective SEO and content marketing strategy. But what about social media? What role should it play in your online marketing efforts? Should it really play a role at all?
The quick answer is yes, social media definitely has a role to play in online marketing—an important role, in fact. And this article will explore why it is so important, particularly in your SEO strategy.
Sending Positive Signals to Google
SEO experts used to laud link building as the most effective way of sending positive signals to Google and other search engines, telling them that your website (and ergo your brand and business) is legit and has a lot of value to offer. This was why links were so important for gaining high search rankings.
Unfortunately, this focus on links also led to some unscrupulous practices by a good number of SEO practitioners in the past. They came up with one trick after another just to get as many websites to link to their client’s site. This worked well enough in the beginning. But then, Google wised up and started adjusting their algorithms and link building rules.
One by one, sites that were caught with links that were not gained via legitimate ways saw their search rankings suffer. And SEO professionals began to understand that the game has changed. Everything has to be done legitimately from now on—no more tricks.
The changes implemented by Google all pointed to high-quality content becoming a more important component for successful online marketing. It was no longer enough to take care of the technical aspects of SEO; you had to make sure your web pages had quality content as well.
Unscrupulous link building was out. Keyword stuffing was out. Thin content was out.
If you want to send positive signals to Google and other search engines, you now had to create a steady stream of relevant, interesting, informative, and useful content. You now have to create content not only for search engines, but for users as well. In fact, it has become essential to focus on creating content for the audience because the more the audience appreciates your content, the more value search engines will likely place on your pages.
This was when website content writing services began to gain recognition. Business owners started seeing value in getting professionals to create content for them. This was when content became king.
These days, it is no longer possible to succeed in SEO and digital marketing without taking content into account. SEO and content have to work together for a truly successful online marketing strategy. But the evolution of digital marketing does not end there…
The Age of Mobile and Social Media
Just when online marketers were getting comfortable with creating high-quality content and optimizing it for search, another change in the digital marketing landscape occurred. Well, two changes, actually. And those changes had to do with the rise of social media and mobile.
More and more people were spending their time on social networking sites, and an increasing number of individuals were using mobile gadgets to surf the Internet. Google soon took notice of the rising popularity of mobile search, which led to them making further adjustments that prompted business owners to develop a mobile optimized website.
These days, there is another thing you’ll likely notice when you conduct an online search on Google: Among the top results displayed are links to a page from such sites as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!
This can mean only one thing: SEO and social media marketing are no longer completely separate entities, nor are they two sides of one coin. The time has come when, just like SEO and content marketing, SEO and social media marketing have become practically co-dependent—one can no longer exist without the other.
Why Have Social Signals Become Important in Search?
When social networking sites were first developed and introduced online, they were solely used to keep in touch with family and friends, as that was their primary purpose. How, then, did social media become a powerful tool for digital marketing?
Just as the buying behavior of individuals has changed over the years (more people are now buying a lot of things online instead of going to the physical store location), their manner of getting information about brands and businesses has also changed. These days, it is common for people to not only check out a brand’s website or online reviews about certain products, but also to ask people within their social media circle what they think about a particular product or brand.
Social media is now increasingly used not just to keep in touch with loved ones, but also to share news, organize events, and yes, talk about brands and businesses.
Social media has become the modern version of word-of-mouth advertising. It has also become a venue for people to share honest reviews of products and/or services. Google was quick to recognize this and started giving due consideration to social signals. If you really want to make a mark in the online world, then you definitely should take social media into consideration as well.
When Google sees your content being liked and shared on social platforms, they take it as a sign of your credibility and an indication that people trust your brand. You then stand a much better chance of landing on top of search results.
Start Building Your Social Network!
Even if you don’t feel the need for a social media network right now, it is still advisable to start building one.
Consider this: When people started using mobile gadgets to browse the Internet, not all businesses adjusted their websites to become mobile-friendly. When Google started testing a new mobile-first index a few months ago, those who did not take the time to develop a mobile-friendly site before suddenly wish they did.
Avoid making the same mistake. Start building your social media network as soon as possible. And then put the network to good use. Here are a few tips on how you can harness the power of social media for SEO:
- Build links via social platforms
Using a hashtag tracking tool, learn what topics related to your niche and industry are currently trending. Start creating content related to these topics, post them on your website or blog, and then post teasers on your social pages, along with a link to the content.
Make sure the content you post is created such that your target audience won’t be able to resist sharing it with others. The more people share your content, the brighter your SEO prospects are.
- Post keyword-rich updates
Did you know that keywords can play a vital role in your social media marketing efforts as well? Yes, they’re not just advisable to use in your website content, blog posts, and Meta descriptions. You should use them in your social media updates as well.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to stuff your updates with one keyword after another. In the same way you use keywords strategically in your content, you should also use them strategically in your social media updates.
And remember, even if you use the same keywords across various social platforms, try to avoid posting a generic status. Bear in mind that your audience on Facebook may be different from your Twitter audience; they are likely to respond well to different types of messages.
- Post original and compelling social media content
Even if you’re talking about a topic everyone else is talking about (that’s why it’s called a trending topic, duh!), you should always strive to make your posts original. Approach the topic from a different angle or use a form of content no one has used for that particular topic.
It also pays to dig deeper into what your target audience is saying about that topic so can create the kind of content they will truly find compelling.
It doesn’t matter if you’re running a large company or a small business; it is still important not to take social media for granted when you’re getting your SEO strategy together. Ask your local SEO services provider, and they will most probably tell you that ignoring social media at this point is tantamount to killing your business outright.
Many businesses make the mistake of seeing SEO, content, and social media as three components isolated from each other. In order to achieve true digital marketing success, you need to see these components as one unit and develop your strategies accordingly.