» Social SEO in 5 Minutes a Day: Part 2

Pro to Pro Insights

Kathy DalPra, Bride AppealThis post was written by Kathy DalPra. Kathy is the owner of Bride Appeal. She takes the overwhelm out of SEO, sales and website conversion so wedding businesses can turn more curious visitors into high paying clients. Kathy’s strategies began to develop during her time as bridalpreneur when she took a struggling website to the top of Google; gaining targeted traffic, press mentions and celebrity customers along the way. Today Kathy shares her methods with other event professionals at brideappeal.com.

Welcome to the second installment of my tips for boosting your rankings and getting your brand in front of more prospects by investing just 5 minutes a day on social media. If you’re just joining us, start with Part 1 and continue on below!

4. Link Love

If you’re new to SEO, let’s get you up to speed on a critical ranking factor: links to your website. Also known as “backlinks.”

When quality websites link to your website, it’s kind of like receiving a vote for the value or authority of your website. It sends a signal to search engines that other online resources and real people feel your website content is valuable and worth sharing.

In other words, getting backlinks helps your website rank higher.

And based on recent comments from Google and Bing, it sounds like social sharing may affect your website authority, and subsequently your ranking, in a similar way.

While Google doesn’t come right out and confirm that having your webpage links shared across social media can help your webpages rank higher, they certainly hint strongly at it:

“Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index, and so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it then we can return that in our search results.”

In the same interview, Google also said that a link does carry more weight depending on the person who shares it on Twitter or Facebook.

And Bing echoed Google’s statements with this:

“We take into consideration how often a link has been tweeted or retweeted, as well as the authority of the Twitter users that shared the link.“

These statements suggest two things:

  1. If one of your webpages or blog posts is shared on Twitter (and likely other social platforms as well), Google and Bing can see this and possibly list it in their search results or, at the very least, recognize that your page is gaining in value because it is being shared on social media.
  2. When your website pages or posts are shared often and by influential users on Twitter, it increases the weight, or perceived importance, of your website page, giving it a ranking boost. The more these activities, or signals, add up, the more chances your page has to rank higher.

This means that if a major industry influencer on Twitter retweets your website link, it could give your domain and that specific page a little SEO boost, helping it to rank higher over time.

Once Google and Bing see that a page has been shared, they will look at who has tweeted and retweeted that webpage and how frequently it was shared so that it can add those statistics to other ranking factors to determine whether to rank it in searches related to the topic of that page.

The next most obvious question the is: how can you get a little link love and inspire others to share your website links on social media?

For one, you can break the ice by being the first to sharing something valuable from your website, like Wed Our Way did with their helpful blog tips on creating a fabulous bachelorette weekend.

Social SEO in 5 Minutes a Day - Sharing good content

For another, you can tag friends, peers, customers and influencers in certain posts that directly apply to them. BridalTweet offers an example of what it looks like to tag someone in Twitter:

Social SEO in 5 Minutes a Day - tagging influencers

Ready for implementation? Let’s explore an actionable plan for getting link love from social media to add to the overall SEO power for your webpages and posts.

ACTION: Post Your Shareable Website Content

1 minute daily three days per week, as part of your ongoing weekly routine

On social media, it’s a turnoff to overly self-promote, so you want to make sure you select “shareable” website content to post on social media.

“Shareable” means that it’s interesting, fun, educational, inspirational or entertaining enough that others will want to re-post. If it’s just a sales pitch of your product or service, few will be inclined to share it, so be mindful of this.

  • Publish your weekly blog posts, articles, inspirational galleries and other shareable content to all your social networks; mixed in with at least 60-80% other non-self-promotional content.
  • When sharing your own content, occasionally tag another peer or influencer in your network if it’s something you think they’ll appreciate or if it directly involves or mentions them. This will increase the likelihood of getting your content shared by them, which may add more SEO power to your link.

5. Social Networks Are Search Engines, Too

With SEO, it’s common to only think of traditional “search engines”, like Google, Yahoo and Bing as places where people search online.

But the new category of search is social.

According to Alexa, Facebook and YouTube are the 2nd and 3rd most visited websites on the Internet, with Google remaining at the #1 spot.

Every day hundreds of thousands of social media users log in and “search” for something…friends, inspiration, products, leaders, tips, resources etc.

These searches look something like this typical how-to style of query on YouTube:

Social SEO in 5 Minutes a Day - YouTube search

While traditional search engines are definitely critical to getting your business found at the right time, social media platforms can put you in front of buyers at the right moment too.

Research from Millward Brown found that:

  • 96% have used Pinterest to research and gather information
  • 93% have used Pinterest to plan for purchases
  • 87% have purchased something because of Pinterest

Just like search engines, prospects use social media to locate information and resources using every day keywords and socially-driven hashtags.

A “hashtag” is the use of one or more keywords after a pound symbol, without spaces. In a social media post, it might look like this:

Social SEO in 5 Minutes a Day - Twitter hashtag in post

Which social networks support hashtags? Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube, to name a few.

Hashtags behave a lot like keywords, in that they are searchable. The key difference is that hashtags are sometimes clickable, often indicate trends, are frequently associated with timely events or happenings and are a deliberate social media tool.

Using a hashtag allows your posts to show up in search results within the social media sites themselves when folks search for that hashtag or keywords contained in your hashtag.

For instance, notice in the triple screenshot below how Ainahua Florals uses the hashtag #hawaiiwedding in their behind-the-scenes post on Instagram. Because of this, anyone searching for #hawaiiwedding on Instagram, will find their photo, along with any other photos that mention that hashtag in the body of the post.

Social SEO in 5 Minutes a Day - Instagram hashtags

Imagine how easy you could make it for couples to find you if they never had to leave Facebook to do it:

	Social SEO in 5 Minutes a Day - Facebook search

Or if they never had to leave Pinterest:

Social SEO in 5 Minutes a Day - Pinterest hashtags

The key to making sure your business and your content get found in social media sites is to make sure your content is optimized with the words a prospect would enter into the search bar to find it.

So, for instance, if you want couples to see your social profile when they are searching for Rhode Island wedding inspiration, then you may want to incorporate hashtags that might be used for that type of search, such as #riweddings, #rhodeislandweddings etc.

Not sure which is best? Use Instagram for hashtag research.

By searching for these hashtags in Instagram, you can instantly see how popular each one is because the number of grams posted using that hashtag is listed right next to the hashtag name:

Social SEO in 5 Minutes a Day - Instagram hashtag search

Now it’s time to put it into action by adding this strategy to your weekly routines.

ACTION: Incorporate Hashtags

5 minutes one day per week, as part of your ongoing weekly routine

Researching which hashtags are viable and worthwhile to use is pretty simple. As I’ve already shown you, Instagram reveals the number of grams that use a given hashtag over time. You can get a quick read by comparing these numbers.

Another trick is to examine the hashtag results in Instagram and/or Twitter to see how frequently and how recently certain hashtags are used. This is very helpful in making sure that the hashtag isn’t dead or to ensure it’s not being used for a live event…unless, of course, you’re participating in the live event!

Tip: Because this is an ongoing activity in which you’ll be brainstorming and tracking hashtags weekly, you’ll want to have a safe place to keep your list of Hashtags to Research and Hashtags to Use. Evernote is a great tool for this because you can use it both on your desktop and phone and the data syncs up. If you prefer old school, just use a mini notebook.

  • In two minutes, brainstorm as many hashtags as you can think of and write them down under your Hashtags to Research list
  • In the remaining three minutes, research as many hashtags as you can from your Research list to find out which ones are viable, based on their popularity and frequency of use. Any hashtags that are worthy of use, add to your Hashtags to Use list. You’ll reference this list every day that you post content to social media and choose the ones that make sense for your post.

Putting It All Together

Naturally, there is a lot more you could be doing on social media. Some marketers invest hours on social networks every day.

However, from what I’ve seen, if you want to leverage social media specifically for its search engine benefits, the action steps I’ve provided are enough to start tipping the ranking scales in your favor.

We covered a lot, so let’s recap with a simple sum-up. You can leverage the power of social media to increase your rankings and gain social search visibility by:

  • Dominating Google’s front page with all of your branded social media profiles when users search by your company name
  • Showing up in personalized Google search results when prospects are logged into their Google account by being modestly active on Google+
  • Increasing how high your social profiles rank in Google by connecting with key influencers and industry leaders on social media
  • Boost the ranking power of individual webpages and blog posts by consistently posting shareable content to social networks and, occasionally, tagging those who might be happy to share
  • Utilizing hashtags to make your content easier to discover within each social network; leading to more visibility, followers and traffic

Here’s an overview of your 5 Minute Social SEO Plan

Weeks 1-2

5 minutes daily until complete

  • Enhance your social profile for each network on which you are active. Add your website address, correct your contact information, ensure your location is listed and updated your bio with the keywords you’re targeting for your profession.
  • Create a Google+ profile, using the same guidelines provided for your other social accounts.

Ongoing Weekly Routing

5 minutes daily

1 day per week:

  • Identify 2-5 clients, colleagues, industry leaders, associations and/or media (wedding magazines & blogs) whose association may further enhance your circle of influence and overall authority. Consider organizations and publications that you donate to, have been featured in, advertise with, are a member of, have worked alongside or exhibit with.
  • Connect with each of them on all your social networks in one sitting to be more efficient and save time.
  • Each time you add someone to your network, share and/or comment on one of their recent posts.

1 day per week:

  • Research new, trending hashtags to add to your growing list.

3 days per week:

  • Share and/or comment on the posts of 1-3 folks you have followed in the past on all the networks in which you’re connected with them to continue to stay front of mind with them.
  • Publish your weekly blog posts, articles, inspirational galleries and other shareable content to all your social networks; mixed in with at least 60-80% other non-self-promotional content.
  • When sharing your own content, occasionally tag another peer or influencer in your network if it’s something you think they’ll appreciate or if it directly involves or mentions them. This will increase the likelihood of getting your content shared by them, which may add more SEO power to your link.
  • When sharing your own content, include hashtags from your Hashtags to Use list when appropriate.

Stick to this five minute per day routine with 100% commitment and, in time, the search engines will begin to recognize your brand and domain becoming a bigger part of the conversation. As your authority grows, your rankings will, too!