Comparing different marketing channels can sometimes seem like comparing apples to oranges. A popular discussion in the online marketing field recently has been about the relationship between social media and SEO—should they be separate? Are they the same thing? Can you pick one over the other?
By understanding the purposes of both social and SEO, you can understand the foundation of a good strategy for each. Once you have this, you can ensure that your SEO and social media outputs work well together to maximize your results—that could be likes, shares, visits, leads, sales, and more.
Let’s break down each effort and then see how they can fit well together—kind of like a fruit salad that has both apples AND oranges.
Purpose of SEO
When you optimize your online presence for search engines, your goal is to rank well on Google and Bing and to then get traffic to your website from those search results. To rank well organically, you must establish and promote your company as THE authority for what you do, in the markets you do it.
Ranking well for search engines requires three things:
Your website must be coded in a way that makes it easy for the search engines’ software to find, crawl, and categorize your website.
You must create web page after web page of unique, relevant, and remarkable content based on keywords and phrases that your customers are searching for online.
You must promote your site to other relevant and authoritative websites and get them to link to, reference, and cite you as an authority.
With all those tactics in place, you can begin to optimize your web presence to first rank well, second get organic traffic from those search results pages, and then convert to sales within your website (because “visits without leads SUCKS,” right, Ben?).
Purpose of Social Media
One thing that people often get wrong is the verb they associate with social media. “But what are you saying, Hannah? Alanna gives the best advice about grammar in Blue Corona blogs; I want to learn about social media not verb usage!” Don’t worry, I still recognize Alanna as our queen quality assurance editor and I will also still talk about social media.
Many business owners will direct their marketing managers to “do social media for the company.” But, let’s break down that phrase: social + media. Media is the plural of medium, meaning a channel or system of communication or information. So you wouldn’t “do a channel,” but you can use social media to help your company. Thus, having branded social media profiles simply isn’t enough for your social media marketing efforts. Like SEO, social media is about the content that you push, so share those valuable FAQs, blog posts, and infographics you’ve created with your SEO efforts.
While some may think the purpose of social media is to produce and share viral wins like dunking in the dark or about a baby getting emotional over his mother singing, for businesses it can provide so much more. Social media platforms can help a company build an online community—helping businesses build stronger relationships with their current customers and allowing them to work those networks to find new leads as they build a stronger brand visibility and maintain top-of-mind customer awareness.
Do You Need Both SEO and Social Media?
This is not a “this or that” choice—we (and very few online marketers) would recommend putting all your eggs in either social media or SEO. To create both successful strategies for SEO and social media will take time, money, and resources, but the ROI can be aggressive.
So thus far, we understand the social media and SEO serve different purposes when it comes to your online marketing and therefore, you should invest in both, not one or the other. But just like having too many chefs in the kitchen, incongruent strategies for your SEO and social media can result in the online version of a tough steak with a too-salty marinade and a side of bland mashed potatoes—yuck.
How Social Media Affects SEO
Many times, when we’re working with a new client, they will ask us if we will “do their social media within our SEO work,” but that’s not necessarily the case.
As a content marketing strategist for Blue Corona, when I’m focusing on a client’s SEO work for the month, it’s most likely optimizing their service pages, writing new FAQs that will drive more informational-focused traffic to the site, creating geo-targeted pages and blog posts, etc. By prioritizing on-site webpages, I can use data to make decisions and use our proven strategies that can lead to better rankings on search engines.
But clients should not forget social media. Social media can impact SEO by:
Contributing toward off-site presence – remember #3 above about promoting your site and creating backlinks? While many social media networks use “no-follow” links, they can still help build your brand authority.
Building trust for local search – the online marketing industry has recently been a-buzz discussing how social media can contribute toward higher levels of trust when it comes to local search optimization.
Maximizing branded online search results – if someone searches your company name, your website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, Google+ page, YouTube channel, Pinterest boards, and LinkedIn account can all be different listings. If ranked well, those could take up seven out of 10 of the first page results—meaning you can control your brand, content, image, and message for 70 percent of what clients find about your business in their branded searches.
Sharing your high quality content – while your company might not have the means or resources to make the next “What Does the Fox Say” video, you can still earn links (again with #3 on that list) by sharing your blog posts, research, white papers, etc. on your social channels. If it truly is remarkable and valuable, people will share it, link it, and post it.
Providing insight for future client – what links on your Facebook page are getting the most likes? What blog posts are retweeted most on Twitter? If you track the levels of engagement for certain topics or services, you can find out what your networks most want to engage with. Participating and noting the conversations can also give you ideas for future FAQs or blog topics.
Ready to dive in and get more leads while optimizing and maximizing your online presence?Contact us to discuss your SEO and social media marketing goals. In the meantime, read what some of our Coronita & Coronito experts have to say in our recent blog posts on SEO and also social media.
About The Author: Hannah is the SEO Team Lead at Blue Corona. If she's not busy daydreaming about the training session for her team, you can find her improving client conversion rates and planning her next trip.
View more blogs by Hannah Nelson
“Our phones are ringing more and our guys are busier ever since we signed up with Blue Corona to handle our marketing. We look forward to our monthly updates and are excited to see the numbers each month of how we are doing. It is especially nice to see now when we are experiencing a lot of pressure from our competitors to try and take our customers. It’s nice to take these amazing numbers to our manager and show him that the money we have been spending is paying off. ”