Google’s last few updates forced digital marketers to toe their SEO strategies in line with social media optimization efforts. From the alignment of the two, a fusion called social SEO originated.
Social SEO is a bit different from mainstream keyword-based SEO. The two have more similarities than differences. One of the similarities is they both bank on content marketing. Social SEO requires an evolved form of content marketing.
Significance of social SEO
While describing social SEO in his blog, Mark Walter wrote “You can get good rankings by paying no attention at all to social SEO, but you can’t rank your business’s website through social SEO alone.”
This sounds counter-intuitive. If social SEO is a mere subset of normal SEO, then why does it require a special form of content marketing?
The truth is Walter was right. One can rank a website without social SEO, but when it’s thrown into the mix, ranking becomes easier. Besides, many business sites get impressive ranking on Google but fail to convert it to sale.
Social SEO and engagement
Social SEO heavily relies on social content, on profile and content optimization, setting up Google+ local listing, content curation, etc. None of these is possible unless content marketing best practices touch base granular engagement segments.
Long-form content is not effective for this. Human attention span keeps reducing and a large number of users access social media on the go. Take a look at the infographic below to get a sense of optimal content length on social media:
Short-length content fares better on social media. For Social SEO, the content must be short-length yet effective. Brands can employ the following strategies:
Use plenty of visuals
Visual content has advantages that non-visual content lacks. A product photograph or cinematograph or GIF file is entertaining, and it can set off the engagement alarm.
Infotainment or information packed entertainment works like a charm for engagement. A number of brands are incorporating it into their campaigns. Reliance on visuals is its trademark characteristic. See the infographic below:
The campaign’s audiences were young women who desperately want a model-like figure There are two elements in the above infographic that can attract young women. One is color pink, which is associated with femininity. The other is the picture of the curvy woman, which can inspire them. On social media, such visuals can receive an overwhelmingly positive response and follow-up inquiries.
Another campaign, one that was way simpler is below:
In the above visual, we see few lines of text, which beautifully explain the need for good grammar. Grammarly is the brand, but there was no mention about it. They relied on audience discretion and left it for them to connect Grammarly with good grammar.
A campaign can prioritize visual content without dismissing text content. The campaigns referenced above did that and increased the effectiveness of the text content.
Understand intent behind keywords
Social SEO crosses paths with intent marketing. Intent marketing deals with the intent behind using keywords. Social SEO enables marketers to comb through their audiences on social media to understand their intent. Search marketing is totally keyword-centric and audiences respond to homogenous content.
Take a look at the ranking chart below:
As you can see, No.1 ranking fetched corresponding pages more than 50% CTR. 0 ranking, achieved by featured snippet can bring even better CTR. While getting a featured snippet requires understanding a searcher’s intent, the pages that get featured snippets uniformly have text content; many are FAQ pages.
But social content for intent marketing is often heterogenous. On Pinterest, marketers upload extremely vertical images because such images occupy more space in the feed and compel users to notice them. Pinterest ad insights instruct marketers to include the purchasing request and soft CTA elements in the image. The purpose here is not to sell, but to know people’s intent.
On Twitter, 10% of the total number of followers make up the approachable lot. Their priorities are:
- Advice on purchase
- Brand identity
- Connecting to customer service
For content marketing to work on Twitter, brands need to share links to content that center around the said priorities.
Clearly, social media gives a better idea about intent and requires a new breed of content.
Social filter approved content
Almost all social channels show results based on the location a user is from. Those channels also remember a user’s past responses to purchasing requests and PPC ads. How many times a user turned down brand’s requests? If he did it quite a few times, then he’d probably do the same in the future.
Whether it’s visual, multimedia or text content, it needs to be created keeping these social filters in mind. The content developers need to know how search algorithms of the leading social platforms work, so as to make their content visible to searchers.
Digging into big data is essential to develop the perfect content. Social insights, especially when interpreted by automation tools can be give an idea of user behaviors. Understanding the behavior of social media users help marketers create content that can make a lasting impact on them.
The promotion part is important too. Luckily there tools like Hello Bar that integrates with platforms like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc and promotes the content. Though there are plenty other tools, I singled out Hello Bar because
- It understands social filters.
- It creates non-sticky, scrolling unaffected bars and CTA elements on landing pages, making the journey from social media to landing pages smooth.
Social media features content that they deem useful for users. So brands need to connect to users first and use the ensuing interaction guidelines for content development.
Social SEO demands both a new form of content as well as new form of content marketing. Brands need to create content following the tips shared here and package that content so it reaches to end users. Or else, their experiments with social SEO will result in failure.