Using Social Listening to Help Your SEO
As search engine algorithms become more precise and advanced, the keys to having a high ranking website change. Think about ten years ago, when all it took to have a high ranking website was smart keyword usage and an ethical, yet robust link building strategy. A few years later, quality content was king and algorithms began factoring in technical features in how they ranked a site, including mobile optimization and site speed. Today, all of these are still a high priority to website ranking, but as Google continues to strive to provide relevant, consumer-focused results, they are now employing social listening methods to find the best returns to queries. In order to improve your visibility to a qualified, engaged audience, TheeDigital, a digital marketing agency, is sharing five ways that social listening can improve your SEO.
What Is Social Media Listening?
Before we dive into a list of “to-dos,” you need to know exactly what we’re talking about as well as how the way you would use social listening to improve your brand differs from how a search engine algorithm would use it to rank your brand.
Also called social media monitoring, you can use this to track your mentions on social media, whether it’s someone tweeting about your product, or someone making a post on Facebook about your poor customer service. You can track your brand name to see where it’s popping up across social media and what the sentiments are so you can do damage control if need be or improve connections with possible brand ambassadors and influencers who have made positive statements. You may even track competitors to see where you can find opportunities or improve your operations. However, if that’s all you do, you’re missing some great optimization opportunities to boost your ranking.
How Search Engines Use Social Media Listening
It’s important to note that search engines don’t use social media directly into their ranking algorithms, in that having a Facebook page or a Twitter account won’t boost your rankings. However, there are ways they use social media indirectly, and social media monitoring is a prime example.
Google uses sentiment analysis as a key part of search engine rankings, and this includes crawling social media to learn the overall sentiment people have over a brand or product. Think of when a brand has an amazing commercial that’s funny or inspiring, and it becomes a trending topic on Twitter and has thousands of comments on Facebook. The analysis would see significant positive sentiment for this brand and use it as a ranking factor. Similarly, if a brand is having a PR crisis, and comments across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms are negative, the brand’s rank could drop significantly because Google sees them as less desirable to the consumer.
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Using Social Media Monitoring to Boost Your SEO
Now that you know what social media listening is and how Google and other engines are using it, here are some tips on how to leverage it to improve your placement on search engine result pages (SERPs).
1. Use a Social Monitoring Platform
First, use a platform that allows you to quickly and easily monitor your brand name so you can not only find where the conversations are taking place, but also, what’s being said. This will not only allow you to fix problems, it will help you learn who is discussing your brand and how they talk about it.
This allows you to better understand your niche and gain insight into it so you can offer more tailored solutions and products. Additionally, you can turn the language that is being used in conversation into informed keywords. For example, if you discover that your computer repair shop is positively discussed as a “woman owned computer repair shop,” you’ve just discovered a long-tail keyword that will allow you to more effectively reach a target audience.
2. Create a Content Strategy
As you learn more about what is being said about your brand and how it’s being spoken about, you can use these online conversations to build a dynamic content strategy that will increase your rankings in your newly targeted keywords. Let’s go back to the “woman owned computer repair shop,” you can create a series of blog articles highlighting related topics. Think about how “Women Trailblazers in Computer Science” or “Tips for Women Looking to Begin a Career in Computer Repair,” could help you not only build an online following and stand out in your brand but it will also boost your rankings in related keywords to drive more traffic to your website. You can even turn these into guest-blogging opportunities.
3. Find Influencers in Your Industry
We briefly touched on this above, but influencers are a key opportunity to increase your brand’s visibility online. As you search for relevant keywords in your social media monitoring platform, you’ll also discover people who are considered influencers in that niche. An endorsement or a product review from a popular social media influencer not only attracts people to your brand, it offers a few opportunities to improve your SEO including an ethical link-building opportunity and positive social sentiment.
4. Build Links from Your Mentions
When your social media listening tool finds your brand on a blog, online forum, or even a news or lifestyle website, you can feel confident that Google algorithms are crawling that site, too. If your brand is mentioned, reach out to the site owner or the author of the article and see if they would add a link to your website. This is a highly effective way to create inbound links and traffic to your site, both of which will increase your ranking score.
5. Build Your Linkless Mentions
Link building is another key aspect of a solid SEO strategy, but it is starting to lose a bit of its weight. Google is recognizing that going viral and creating a splash on social media is going to pull more weight than links for the consumer, and it was clear how true this is in 2017 when Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes made a keynote speech at Brighton SEO and said, “If you publish high-quality content that is highly cited on the internet — and I’m not talking about just links, but also mentions on social networks and people talking about your branding, crap like that. Then you are doing great.”
This, coupled with Google’s Panda algorithm patent which includes a section on “implied links,” referring to it as a “reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource.” It’s safe to say this refers to brand mentions!
Start Using Social Listening to Help Your SEO
While you may be overwhelmed at the idea of adding one more thing to your marketing agenda, creating a social listening strategy can be an excellent way to not only increase your search engine ranking results, it can help you learn more about your customers, your niche, and influencers who can build your brand. Because this is still under the radar for most businesses, by getting out in front, you can have an advantage over your competitors and see an incredible improvement in traffic and rankings.