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Getting SEO and Social Media To Work for Your Business

If you’re working on an SEO strategy that doesn’t leverage social media, you’re missing out on an important component of search engine ranking. Due to the ever-growing popularity of social networks, organic search results are now affected by online social activity. Social media is more than a branding tool; when used correctly, it can be a highly effective form of link building.

Social Media Signals

Social media signals are the mechanisms that social networks use to share content. Tweets, likes, comments and +1’s are examples of social media signals. Google has confirmed that signals from social media websites like Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn play a role in determining how pages are ranked in search engine results.

You can increase the number of social media signals related to your website or blog by posting content that’s guaranteed to be popular with readers and providing social media buttons that make it easy for users to share links to your site. Search engine ranking will be additionally enhanced when your content is relevant to your industry and employs SEO strategies related to keywords, tags and the correct balance of text and images.

Personalized Search

Personalized search refers to the influence of geographic location and social media relationships on search results. You’ve probably noticed that search engine results often target your local community. Major search engines like Google and Bing are extending this concept to social media. When you’re signed into Google+ or Facebook, search engine results will take into account signals and recommendations from your friends. Because people trust suggestions that come from their social media circles, this area has a huge potential for influencing website traffic.

If you have any lingering doubts about the importance of social media in any SEO strategy, consider the fact that Google has added a social media report to Google Analytics. The tool allows marketers to monitor and measure their social media reach with data about the amount of traffic coming from social networking sites. You can also use Google Analytics to determine which pieces of content are generating the most social media buzz. Business owners and marketers who question the value of time spent on social media outreach can now monitor the results of their efforts and fine tune their focus.

Incorporating Social Media and SEO

Here are ten tips that will help you incorporate social media into your SEO strategy:

1. Create profiles for your brand on major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.).

2. Focus your energy on social networks that are the best fit for your product or services (e.g. Pinterest for a silk-screening business).

3. Encourage visitors to your website to share your content by prominently displaying social media sharing buttons.

4. Keep your blog and website content fresh and relevant.

5. Produce or purchase high-quality content and promote it on your target social networks.

6. Invite guest contributors and encourage them to share their content. Author guest posts on other sites and share those too.

7. Form social media relationships by become involved in the community that’s related to your industry.

8. Observe social media etiquette by keeping your comments positive and avoiding excessive self-promotion.

9. Build a following by sharing content from other websites that are relevant to your social media community.

10. Make social media sharing a daily activity.

Melissa Woodson is the community manager for at WashULaw, a Master of Laws offered through Washington University in St. Louis. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and making half-baked attempts at training her dog.

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