How can you get SEO and social work together in perfect harmony? I recently spoke to Jo Turnbull, blogger extraordinaire and organizer of Search London, to get some inter-disciplinary collaboration wisdom.
How can social media and SEO work together?
"I really think it's really important for social media and SEO work together, because basically they both help build your brand. For example, looking at SEO, you need to make sure that your website is built in the best possible way so that you can have the highest visibility as possible, you don't have any technical errors wrong with your website. And then also you have social media to help sort of boost that, boost the awareness. You can run, if you want, social campaigns through that. Some are paid, some are just promoting a blog post on your actual website. And when I say promoting, you don't have to always pay for that. If you have big enough community, you can be just posting that on your Page.
So there's quite a few different ways that they can work together. I think really with social media, you have ROI. It's a very clear return on investment. You can see how often a piece of content has been shared. You can see how many people have seen it. You can also, if you were to be running an ad on social media, promoting a piece of content, you would actually be able to see how much interactions that had. So it's quite refreshing and quite good to be able to see, how has my ad actually been seen and you can also see, obviously, by whom, which market that was, who was the demographic as well."
How can social facilitate the content creation process?
"That's another way that social media and SEO can work together. I would actually use social media to engage with customers and then also, you can write about what they're looking for, obviously, how-to guides, checklists, helpful resource articles. You can then share this on your social media channels. Google, rewards sites with quality content, the big monopoly rewards sites when there was interaction, when people are clicking through to a site, when they're clicking through on a piece of content. And you would then appear higher in the rankings if you have more interactions on a piece of content than, obviously, someone who doesn't.
I believe that content is important, has always been important for SEO. And obviously, social media has become very key to the growth of that platform. It's just that I think, in the past, Google has already said, "We want to have good content," but I don't think they were able to. They said themselves they weren't able to actually implement that. So people would cheat their way into ranking higher, buying links, maybe doing keyword stuffing, making big sites where each page actually doesn't have a lot of content. So, it's always been important but Google now penalizes sites that don't have it."
What social signals does Google look at?
"Google changed things quite a lot. I mean, I think their biggest one is around mobile. The fact that, if your site is not mobile-friendly, then you have an error message, "This site is not mobile-friendly," in the search results. In terms of social media, I think maybe they're a bit frustrated with, if you just take for example Facebook, how that works. I've heard different things, whether they do or they do not take into account social signals. But what they do do is that if there's more interaction with a piece of content or a website and people are clicking through, then that's what they take into account. And if people have a good user experience, they come back - obviously that's another factor. If you have a fast-loading page or a website, they take that into account. Obviously, if you have mobile version of your site, they may also take that into account. So there's quite a few different factors and they're always refining that."