When you read or hear the term “Online Marketing”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Is it Social Media or is it Google search results i.e Search Engine Optimization?
Well, both are the wheels of Digital Marketing without which the journey of a business’s online success cannot be imagined.
There have been a lot of contemplations about which of the two is the better strategy for online success, but until now we don’t have an answer to that.
However what we know is that if you combine both the marketing channels - SEO & Social Media Marketing, your brand can thrive online. So, without further ado, let’s understand what these marketing channels initially are, and how these two marketing strategies work together.
SEO & Social Media Marketing - The Duo You Need to Succeed
Introduction to SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO in simpler terms is a fundamental part of digital marketing that encompasses a group of activities aiming to increase the visibility of a business’s website on search engines when people enquire about products or services related to your niche.
On-page SEO involves activities that are done by marketers within a website aiming to improve the ranking of the brand’s content or website in the search results. On-page SEO primarily focuses on leveraging the most searched words i.e. keywords in between the content on the web pages as keywords are the reason, why search engines identify and index web pages, leading them to become one of the best-suited results for the search words in the customer’s query.
On-page SEO activities include:
- Meta Title: A web page’s name tag is known as the Meta Title. These name tags are keyword-based and are recognized and indexed by search engine robots to be visible to users searching the web.
- Meta Description: It is the keyword-rich summary of an individual web page that is displayed under the Meta Title on the results page.
- Headings: Headings are intended to offer a gist for the content of the web page. This gist of the webpage primarily helps a visitor scan through the content easily.
- Alt-Text: Every visual element of a website is assigned an alternative text that is supposedly added to read the visual as text and is often rendered when the visuals cannot be displayed.
- Internal Linking: In any business’s website there’s relevant content that somehow or the other connects or relates to each other, now to form a flow of the content on various pages of the website marketers often link these pages suitably intending to help search engines connect the dots between relevant content within a website. The process of linking content and pages within a single website is known as Internal Linking.
Off-page SEO encompasses all the activities that are done outside of your website with the potential to affect search engine rankings. Optimizing a business’s website for off-page SEO refers to improving the way both visitors and search engines see your site in terms of credibility, authority, popularity, and relevance.
Off-page SEO includes:
- Backlinks: Opposite to internal linking, the process of linking a business’s website content to an external source of content or website is termed backlinking. Adding quality backlinks to credible sources of content majorly supports getting visibility on search engines.
- Social Bookmarking: One of the most important off-page activities is Social Bookmarking. To gain awareness for a website's content, marketers often add links to online classifiers and webpages that allow online bookmarks like Reddit, and Scoop. it, and Digg. This activity of adding bookmarks to the web content helps in building a larger audience for your business.
- Review Websites: Creating a presence on review websites like Yelp, and Google My Business, helps businesses build brand presence while increasing their search engine visibility and brand authority.
Introduction to Social Media Marketing
Social Media as a whole includes a group of social networking platforms where businesses connect with their target audience to spread brand awareness, build brand credibility, increase sales, and drive traffic to the business’s website.
This process of implementing strategies and activities that marketers and brands use to connect with their target audience on Social Media platforms is termed Social Media Marketing. One can use several Social Media management tools to make things easier.
Types of Social Media Sites
- Social networks: Online platforms to engage and grow their target audience network.
Examples: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter
- Media sharing networks: online platforms specifically developed to share only media, photos, videos, and other visual content to attract and engage the target audience.
Examples: Instagram, Snapchat
- Discussion forums: online platforms for market research, sharing news, ideas, and building brand presence.
Example: Quorra, Reddit
- Bookmarking and content curation networks: online platforms to discover, save, and share new content.
- Consumer review networks: Online platforms for finding and reviewing businesses are immensely helpful in building brand credibility.
Examples: Yelp, Tripadvisor
- Blogging and publishing networks: content publishing sites that help build more brand authority and reach new readers.
Example: Medium, WordPress
Now that you have a fair understanding of Social Media & SEO, moving forward let’s look at how both these marketing channels work together to benefit businesses.
How SEO & Social Media Work Together?
With 5.6 billion searches every day on Google and 4.48 billion active social media users, both offer an immense amount of opportunities for businesses to leverage and pave their way toward online recognition.
As a marketer or a business striving to thrive online, your primary goal is to build a brand presence and improve ROI for your business. But to do so, what's important is to stop considering social media marketing and SEO as two separate marketing strategies.
It's a known fact that neither Social Media influences the efficiency of SEO nor does SEO influence a business’s Social Media growth. But what we know is that they indirectly benefit each other despite having different techniques and different primary goals. And how does that happen, let’s explore -
Social media Helps in Understanding Target Market & Audience
One of the unparalleled benefits of social media is that it helps businesses identify their target audience and the market better than anything else. Right from understanding the target market, competitors, and their social footprints to identifying target audiences, their behaviors, and the trends, all of this can be easily done with the help of social media.
With advanced social media curation tools, it has become extremely easy to curate content based on the current genre of the content, audience preferences, and industry. Further, as you gather information from social media and search engines to develop buyer personas and analyze which content type is of interest to your audience, you can plan better for social media and create content that is of high value to your audience focusing on boosting engagement, deriving conversions, and increasing business’s social ROI.
Increased Brand Recognition -
Social media is the one-stop platform to get discovered by your target audience. People spend most of their time online scrolling through content and enquiring about various brands, products, and services. How a business leverages social media is what matters in the end.
For example - When a new blog post or any other content piece is published on a business’s website, the best way to gain traction with a larger share of the audience is by sharing the content on Social Media with links back to your site. Although these links do not influence the ranking of the website but indirectly can influence important SEO metrics, such as click-through rates in the SERPs, bounce rates, time on page, and time on site, all of which search engines use to rank content.
The key to leveraging social and search is by sharing high-quality content on both platforms aiming to boost engagement on your social media accounts and help establish an authoritative perception of your brand.
Social Gets Content Indexed Quicker
When a query is entered on a search engine, the search engine crawlers crawl through the indexed content library from across the internet and give out the best-suited results. And this indexing of the content can be supported seamlessly by social media.
This is one of the best opportunities that often renowned brands and businesses leverage by sharing new content on your social media accounts as soon as it is published on their website. When the webpage is shared on social media, it ultimately sends signals to the search engine that there is a new page that needs to be crawled and thereby helping the content in getting indexed and ready to be visible in the relevant search results more quickly.
Increased Website Traffic -
Social media drives more traffic to your search-optimized web pages, improving both your social media visibility and your engagement.
It’s not news that the primary aim of a social media marketing strategy is to boost brand awareness for a business. And when your target audience notice authoritative content that they can resonate with, people over time become familiar with the brand value and offerings, this is when results start showing as the audience starts interacting with the content, thus leading to increased brand awareness and direct traffic to the website while supporting the business’s website rankings in search engine results.
You can increase your website traffic further by funneling the traffic from social media to a free valuable resource you give in exchange for an email address. For instance, if you use webinar software to run informational webinars, you can lead your social media traffic to a page where they can join the next webinar you have scheduled.
From there, you can use email marketing to continually deliver value via email and build a relationship with your email subscribers, which inevitably leads to more traffic coming back to your website.
With that said, you might have noticed that SEO and Social Media are intertwined in numerous ways. But success in both start with Content.
The more you strategize and plan your content focusing on your target audience, the more your content is likely to gain engagement, and as the engagement grows it will automatically drive traffic to your website and increase the ROI of your digital marketing initiatives.
Written by: Mahendra Raulo
Mahendra Raulo, is the Managing Director at Aarav Infotech India Pvt. Ltd., a leading Web Design and Digital Marketing Company, Experienced in Marketing & Sales with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Strategic Planning, International Business, Business Development, and Customer Relationship Management.