The search engines have made it known that social media is increasingly being used to influence their rankings – a fact that we’ve been expecting for some time.
So with this knowledge in hand, what are the best ways to use social media to influence your SEO strategies?
1. Social Media Profile and Account Linking
This is the obvious first step in terms of using social media for SEO. There are plenty of link opportunities in setting up your various social media accounts and profiles. Whether it’s your Facebook page, a twitter account or your company page on Linkedin, these are all easy link building opportunities.
That said, they’re also probably the least valuable of the SEO opportunities from social media. There’s often not much “link value” provided from social profile links, but nonetheless – take advantage of every opportunity.
2. Leveraging Content
Content is the basis of all the best linking strategies. Quality content attracts links of the highest quality naturally and social media allows you to attract those links more easily than ever. It’s social media’s distribution possibilities that make it such an important asset to your SEO strategies.
There are numerous ways to leverage social media for distributing your content. Here’s just some of the primary ways:
- Post it on your Facebook wall
- Promote it on twitter
- Announce it via your Linkedin account
- Link to it from your various social media streams (posterous, tumblr, etc)
- Blog about it on your blog
- Share it with other bloggers and get them to discuss it on their blogs
3. Engaging in Conversations
Social Media as the name suggests is about being social. And therein is the 3rd way to leverage social media for your SEO strategies.
By engaging in relevant online conversations “naturally” you’ll gather valuable ranking indicators through your efforts. The key is to do this “naturally”, which means in a none contrived or spammy way. Here’s just some of the ways to start or engage in conversations:
- Get involved in an industry discussion on Linkedin
- Answer some questions on Yahoo! Answers
- Share some news via an industry Facebook page
- Comment on your favourite blog posts every week
- Retweet news you read on twitter and add in your opinion
- Write an opinion piece on your blog about something that happened in your industry
It’s important to realise that engaging in the conversations is not just about trying to sneak in a link everywhere possible. The participation in the discussions will deliver more SEO value than you realise by just being knowledgeable and authentic.
There are plenty of other ways to engage in social media to boost your SEO efforts, but these are the main ways.
And remember, social media isn’t just about the links. Google says they use social media “signals” in some ranking situations. The signals that will matter in social media wont always be the links – so don’t always rely on the obvious techniques.