Welcome to advanced social SEO 101: a quick course on how to get more SEO value out of damn near ALL of your social media efforts thanks to some good SEO theory.
And let me tell you upfront: the whole purpose of this article is to make you think about social media in ways you have not thought of it before. I’m theorizing here, so not giving proof of how the Google algorithm works this way but explaining how it probably works.
Why? Because no one knows for sure how Google exactly works. No, not even correlation studies, because just because effects are related doesn’t mean they cause one another. Just because a man walks in front of a bus while a bird poops on the bus doesn’t mean the man died because of the bird, know what I mean?
Anyways, are you ready for some social SEO theory my friend? Because here goes nothing:
Lesson 1: Social SEO and Link Banking
First off: let’s think of social SEO as being the same as “normal SEO”. This has a LOT of interesting consequences for your social media profile…
Because if your social media profile would be a site within a site like Facebook (call it a subdomain or a folder, whatever), then it means that how much SEO value you’ll pass to the pages on your site you’re sharing via your social media profile is determined by how valuable your social media profile itself is.
This concept is known as link banking in the “normal SEO” world. Link banking, simply said, is increasing the value of a page that’s linking to you by getting it more links so the value it passes to your site increases as well.
How does this “link banking” work with social SEO you ask? Here’s probably how:
- Make your social media profile more valuable and ALL the pages you share through it will gain more value than they would have before
- You can make a profile more valuable by linking to it from other social profiles
- Even better: you can make a profile even more valuable by linking to it from your site
- The best way: linking to your profile from a page on your site that becomes more valuable as your website scales… and that means linking to it from a page that’s in the header, sidebar or footer of your site because it means EVERY freaking new page that will ever be put on your site links to it and thus your social media profile because more valuable the bigger your site gets
What we’ve done here at Motriz Marketing to increase the value of our own social media SEO efforts is creating a social page that links to the social media profiles of our team members and then linking to it from our contact page:
And we’ve also put buttons linking to the company’s social profiles in the sidebar of the site:
But the rabbit hole of advanced social SEO goes much, much deeper than that, because we haven’t even covered how internal links work in the social world…
Lesson 2: Social Media SEO and Internal Links
Quick recap: if the social version of SEO would be the same as the “normal” version of SEO, then your social media profile would be a subdomain or folder of a social network (a site within a site). And guess what?
That means we have to talk about internal links here. Let’s take Facebook as an example here:
When someone Friends you on Facebook, you will be displayed either directly on their profile or on the “more friends” page in case they have many friends. That means that there will be an internal link pointing to your social media profile thanks to every new Friend you get, meaning the number of Friends you have changes how valuable your profile is and thus how much value the links you share on it get.
In other words: with social media SEO, your friends are your internal links. At this point I can almost hear you think:
“So all those people who buy 5,000 Facebook friends or Twitter followers or whatever are some pretty damn smart people?”
No. Nothing could be further from the truth even.
You see, the value of external links is influenced by a whole range of quality factors with “normal SEO” and with social SEO this is true for internal links. With social search engine optimization there are probably THREE different versions of links though:
1) Broad match links: least valuable in terms of social media SEO. Friends, Followers, being Circled and Likes, +1’s, Pins, and Retweets fall under this category because they all take a low amount of effort (compared to the other actions below).
2) Phrase match links: pretty valuable. Commenting via Google Plus, Facebook, and Pinterest or replying via Twitter cost more effort and are thus more valuable than broad match links.
3) Exact match links: really valuable. Shares via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus cost even more effort and are thus even more valuable.
So guess what Friend spammers? Every comment probably counts for 5 Friends or Likes and every Share probably counts for 10 Friends or Likes, so I can beat you in the social SEO game by going for quality instead of quantity.
And this is where things get really interesting if you want to do social media SEO because there are tons of other quality factors that probably come into play just like they do with “normal” links…
- Relevancy: is the person who Friends, Likes, Comments or Shares talking about the same topics as you are?
- Freshness: when did people last Friend, Like, Comment or Share your profile or stuff?
- Frequency: with external links (normal SEO) the value gained per additional link you get from a site decreases, but I’m thinking that with social SEO it works in an aggregated fashion.
My best bet is that search engines deem profiles with not so many Friends who actively Like, Comment or Share to be much more valuable than profiles with many Friends who don’t actively Like, Comment or Share. Why? Because it prevents friend spam and because social media is all about engagement.
Even though you’ve now thought a hell of a lot more about social media SEO than most people will probably ever do, there’s still one more lesson to go… a lesson about on-page optimization in the social world…
Lesson 3: Social SEO and On-Page Optimization
Comments on your social shares could be more valuable than Shares of your social shares because of on-page optimization.
Think about it: what does a search engine do when it needs to assess what a broad match link text (a link text with no keyword in it like “click here”) is about? It looks at the surrounding text. But guess what happens with social media marketing?
Links get shortened and thus completely altered, so search engines are practically FORCED to look at surrounding text to make any sense of what the link is about. That has two consequences for social SEO:
1) Mentioning the keyword a social share is about will increase the value passed to that social share via your social media profile, just like an exact match link text is more valuable than a broad match link text.
2) The more comments you get on any given social share, the more information search engines have to work with to determine what that link in your social share is all about. In other words: get people talking about the topic in the comments and reply to those comments (and try to stick the keyword in there) and the result will be much more value. It’ll be much more value passed to the link through on-page optimization AND through the comments (because they count as phrase match links).
Final Thoughts on Social Media SEO
The results of our social SEO theory experiment today are interesting to say the least, because they point out a TON of “social ranking factors” that you can optimize to increase the SEO value of your social media efforts.
That’s one of those often made IM mistakes by the way: not looking at ways individual marketing channels can help boost each other’s performance. Not looking at how social can help SEO, how SEO can help email marketing, and so on and so forth.
Anyways, the aforementioned social ranking factors allow you to come up with ways to scale your social media SEO efforts so both your social media profiles and your site become more valuable in the eyes of search engines as time progresses.
I hope you liked my thoughts on social SEO. Stay tuned to the Motriz Marketing blog for more advanced SEO concepts and social media SEO techniques. And that leaves me with only one thing left to say:
To More Traffic, More Conversions, And More Business!
- Dennis MiedemaFounder/owner of Motriz MarketingDennis Miedema started his first ecommerce site in 2008 with no funding, no knowledge, and no skills. He grew it into a successful business, sold it for lots of money, and went on to do consulting for ecommerce companies from all over the world and in many different industries: fashion, nanotechnology, consumer electronics, digital content, software & more.
Likes: dogs, movies, coffee, video games, self-improvement, and the occasional rant
Dislikes: flying, thunderstorms, haters, and people who can't/shouldn't drive