Digital marketing is a pretty broad field in and of itself. And, with its continuous evolution, it may be difficult for small business owners to decide which strategies they should implement.
Case in point: social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) — the two strategies that should sit at the core of almost any business’s marketing efforts.
Social media helps you engage with your target audience, increase brand awareness, and ultimately build a loyal follower base.
However, without a website, your online presence is incomplete. It helps you engage your prospects while optimizing your website for search engines. It also helps you funnel them into your website while they’re looking for knowledge and services in your area of expertise.
But, the question still remains unanswered:
Should you focus more on social media marketing or SEO?
To answer this question, let’s see how these two strategies differ, as well as complement each other.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO is the process of optimizing your website to be more accessible. It is to make better the search engine crawlers and to rank higher in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
How do search engines rank websites, or rather, web pages?
Search engine bots crawl through your website’s nooks and crannies, from code to content, and judge its positioning based on various ranking factors.
That said, SEO is divided into two categories: on-page and off-page SEO.
As the name suggests, on-page SEO is about the SEO activities that take place on your website.
This includes creating quality content that provides value to your audience, integrating keywords naturally in your content, headings, meta-tags, and meta descriptions.
Another crucial element of on-page SEO — or more specifically, technical SEO — is ensuring that your website is fast and optimized for mobile devices.
That’s because Google prioritizes page speed and mobile-friendliness as ranking factors.
Given that smartphones now generate 54.8% of all web traffic and that 53% of mobile users will abandon a web page if it doesn’t load within the first three seconds, a poorly optimized website will have much to lose.
Experts from a NY web design company suggest going for a responsive or mobile-first design to avoid this from happening. It’s easy to implement and offers a consistent user experience across devices.
Another important component of on-page SEO is interlinking. This is a process that ensures your web pages link to one another, guiding traffic and search engine crawlers through the website.
This way, search engine bots will have an easier time crawling and indexing your website, while you’ll encourage users to check out more content as well.
Keep in mind to provide links to pages relevant to visitors. Otherwise, you might increase the said pages’ bounce rates and thus lower their rankings.
Off-page SEO involves all SEO activities that do not take place directly on your website, like link building, for example.
Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to you. The more backlinks you have, the more credible your website will appear in Google’s eyes.
However, keep in mind that the quality of websites that link back to you also matters. Otherwise, your rankings might take a hit.
In terms of local businesses, other off-page SEO tactics include optimizing your Google My Business listing and gathering as many reviews as possible.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the process of using social media platforms to promote a business’s services or products, increase brand awareness and recognition, and drive more traffic to a website.
Unlike other digital marketing strategies, social media allows for a two-way conversation between businesses and their follower base; in other words, you interact with your audience through posts, while your followers respond by leaving comments, likes, shares, etc.
To encourage engagement and grow brand awareness via social media, start by setting up accounts on platforms your audience is most likely active on.
For example, there’s no point in posting on LinkedIn if your target audience is made up of teenagers or young adults. In this case, you’re better off focusing on platforms like Instagram or TikTok.
People’s feeds are often flooded with hundreds of other posts, so posting a full-fledged blog article will likely not attract your followers’ attention, let alone get them to read the posts in their entirety.
Instead, share captivating snippets of your article and provide a link to your website, so you can direct traffic into your web conversion funnel.
Also, focus more on visual content like videos, images, and infographics. Videos and images are an excellent opportunity to show off your products, as they’re absorbable and attention-grabbing.
Polls have also been effective in driving engagement. Not only are polls good at encouraging interactions between your brand and target audiences, but they can also provide you with valuable psychographic and behavioral information you can leverage in other marketing efforts.
Now that we’ve covered the definiens and some of the best practices for each strategy, let’s return to our question:
Which marketing strategy should you focus on?
The simplest answer: you should concentrate on both!
Although they seem like two different strategies that have nothing to do with one another, social media marketing and SEO can inform each other’s success.
Let’s see how?
How Social Media Affects SEO
SEO isn’t the only way to drive traffic to your website. Social media can be a powerful channel to leverage for more traffic, both via organic and via paid campaigns.
Search engine crawlers can detect sudden surges in traffic to specific pages and possibly take these queues into consideration as ranking factors.
2. Natural Backlinks
Social media helps you place your content in front of broader, more diverse audiences.
Followers tend to engage with high-quality content which helps you tap into their networks via home feeds.
More eyes on your quality content = more opportunities for gaining natural backlinks for your web pages.
As we said, backlinks are very important in building a website’s authority and ranking higher in the SERP.
To summarize, social media does not have a direct impact on SEO. However, it does facilitate the SEO process by driving more traffic and increasing backlinking opportunities for your website.
That said, let’s see how you can use social media to step up your SEO game.
Social Media SEO Tips
1. Make Your Content Easy to Share
Although the quality of your content matters, how it’s distributed is just as important. Therefore, it’s important to make your content easy to share.
The simplest way to do this is by implementing social sharing buttons on your website. This will encourage your visitors to distribute your content for you. And, also by sharing it on their social media channels in a single click.
Furthermore, make sure that your blog posts contain attention-grabbing images, graphics, or quotes that complement your content but still manage to make sense on their own.
Given that the social media environment is more fast-paced, paragraphs upon paragraphs of text might not do so well in terms of engagement. By enabling users to take a specific quote or graphic from your blog post and share it on their social accounts, you’ll further encourage them to place your content in front of their audiences.
Not all your website visitors are aware or followers of your social media accounts and, by the same token, not all your followers know about or visit your website.
To optimize your content’s reach, promote it across your channels, from your website to your social media, simultaneously.
Start by placing the link to your website in your social media bios.
Then, be sure to add link posts to your content calendar. Link posts are those that lead to the specific pages of your website and load previews of it in lieu of media such as images and videos.
Similarly, encourage your website visitors to follow your social media pages.
Again, you can do this by adding social sharing buttons to your blog posts. Another trick is to embed statuses and social media posts within your website.
3. Build Partnerships
Social media partnerships, from user-generated content to influencers, can help you grow reach and traffic significantly.
Investing in brand advocacy among your loyal customers and/or followers can also help you promote your brand at no extra cost.
Influencers can be just as powerful, if not more so. They tend to have a loyal fan base and are generally viewed as experts within their niche. This could not only mean more traffic, backlinks, and better SEO but also more revenue.
To make the most of influencer marketing, make sure to pick influencers who attract the right audience, show high levels of audience engagement, and align with your core brand values.
All in all, SEO and Social Media Marketing are two vastly different strategies, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t work together.
Quite the contrary!
An effective social media strategy can improve your website metrics across the board, helping your SEO along the way.