Comprehensive Guide to Leveraging Social Media for SEO

Ultimate Guide to Leveraging Social Media for SEO

This guide is all about how you can utilise social media to boost your search engine optimisation performance. Social Media has become such a popular way to communicate directly and share and consume information that there is a goldmine of opportunities to leverage these networks for the research, relationship building and promotion needed to execute successful SEO campaigns.

We’ve separated the guide into four chapters which cover these four pillars of a white hat SEO strategy;

  • Content Research & Creation – Content is the reason that people visit websites and its an important part of all modern SEO strategies. You can utilise social media to generate and test ideas, research your target market and even crowd source the content itself.
  • Link Prospecting – Links are still the primary way that search engines determine which websites should rank where. Its not enough to simply ‘create great content,’ you need to be actively identifying your linking audiences and promoting your content to them. Social media profiles and discussions are great sources to identify the people and websites who might be interested in linking to your content.
  • Relationship Building – Relationship building is time intensive and difficult to scale but the potential benefits are clear. Solid relationships with content creators and influencers in your industry will make link requests more effective and produce other opportunities such as collaborative content projects. Social media is all about facilitating new and existing relationships so its obviously going to be a useful tool for building relationships.
  • Outreach & Promotion – To pull everything together and get results you need to promote your content and actually attract those links. Many people use social media as the primary channel for finding good content so it makes sense to promote your content on there. The ease of re-sharing on social media also means that your content can get passed from person to person and achieve a much wider distribution than your immediate network. Finally, social media can be used for outreach to specific, or a small group of, influencers to attract high powered shares and links.

Chapters

  1. Content Research & Creation
  2. Link Prospecting
  3. Relationship Building
  4. Outreach & Promotion

The Ultimate List of Resources to Help you Leverage Social Media for SEO

Rather than reinventing the wheel, we’ve looked far and wide to find the best resources that illustrate and teach each of the techniques you can use to leverage Social Media for SEO. We’ve classified those resources with the following labels;

  • [idea] – mentions or describes the technique
  • [example] – gives a short example of the technique in use
  • [case study] – gives a longer example of the technique being used and details on how
  • [how to] – gives step by step instructions for using the technique
  • [tool] – is a tool that makes using/performing the technique more efficient and effective

 

Content Research & CreationContent is a pillar of all modern SEO strategies. In this section you’ll learn how you can use social media to improve your content creation process including generating & testing ideas, research and creation.

Generating & Testing Ideas

Creating successful content these days usually requires a significant investment of time and resources. To avoid investing in content that ends up falling flat on its face, use these techniques to generate and test topics and gauge the response and impact before jumping on board completely.

Analyse social media posts to pick up on trending topics which you can then create content on in anticipation of a rise in search volume.

“The insight here is that subjects people are tweeting about are ultimately keywords that people are searching for. The added benefit of using social listening for keyword research is that you can also get a good sense of the searcher’s intent to better fulfill their needs.” – Mike King, iPullRank in Using Social Media to Get Ahead of Search Demand

Tweetable: Analyse social posts to identify trending topics for SEO content [Tweet This]

Discover what questions people are asking that are related to your products or services and create content around those topics.

“Someone, whom I have seen excel extraordinarily well at this is Dave Larson from @TweetSmarter. Dave gets asked dozens of questions about Twitter every day. To make answering them easier, he has a set of great posts to quickly help out people looking for answers. For example an answer to: How can I search through my old Tweets?” – Leo Widrich, Buffer in Twitter SEO Secrets

Post content on social media to test the interest and response before doing further development and tweaking.

“Tumblr (is) a great place to post a lot of content to find which pieces perform the best. Then you can take the most popular pieces and repost them to your other social media profiles such as Facebook. And all the content you produce on Tumblr has a chance of being discovered later, thanks to the use of hashtags.” – Takeshi Young in How to Use Tumblr for SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tweetable: Test content on social media, tweak based on response then finalise & publish [Tweet This]

Look at existing content related to your industry and see which topics get the most social shares. Use this as a guide for choosing your content topics.

“With a quick Topsy search, the most talked about thing in the garage doors industry is a recent story about the Navy reeking havoc on garage doors in Connecticut. Find interest – Who linked to that story? Who tweeted it? If there’s a lot of people doing both, then you’ve found a good deal of interest.” – Jon Cooper, PointBlankSEO in How I Use Content for Link Building

Tweetable: Identify popular content in your industry to help generate topic ideas [Tweet This]

Research

You can learn a lot about a person or group of people by stalking them on social media. Perhaps its a little creepy but its also a great opportunity to tailor your content to your audience and help you achieve your objectives.

Use social media features e.g. hashtags and external tools e.g. Storify to discover and curate resources for content research.

“Someone who understands this technique incredibly well is Jeff Bullas. He is always the first picking up on events and packaging it in a great blogpost. When he curated 6 of the best infographics about Facebook I found this to be a great way to source content from across the web and turn it into a post and story.” – Leo Widrich, Buffer in Twitter SEO Secrets

Tweetable: Curate resources for content research using hashtags and external tools [Tweet This]

Find out more about your target readers by looking at their social media profiles, posts and conversations.

“Okay, you’ve got your targets. Now it’s time to figure out what each one likes to talk about. To do this you’re going to have to analyze their tweets, blog, and any other social media content channels they’re on. You can do this manually by following them and reading the backlogs for a while, or you can use a tool like Tweet Archivist or Foller.me.” – Matthew Proctor in Creating Compelling Content Using Social Media: 4 Steps

Tweetable: Analyse your target audience’s conversations to better tailor your content [Tweet This]

Content Creation

Crowdsourcing your content is great way to get some fresh perspectives and unique data as well as get more people involved which will help with promotion down the track.

User Generated Content (UGC) - Ask followers and fans to submit their response to a particular question and create content using their answers.

“Tell us the most annoying pet peeve you have in the gym. We will be making an article with the top ten responses” – James Norquay, Prosperity Media in SMX Sydney 2014 – Using Social Media for SEO & Traffic Gain

Tweetable: Ask followers a question on social media and compile their answers in a blog post [Tweet This]

Link ProspectingWe need to remember that its not websites that give links, its people. Social media profiles, posts and conversations are great places to look to identify the people behind relevant websites that you might like to get a link on.

Search in social profiles to identify people who have websites and are relevant to the article or website for which you are prospecting.

“BuzzSumo provides a list of influential people with the term video games in their Twitter bios. Notice that some of these influential people also have websites. More often than not, these websites present wonderful link prospects. Typically, influential people also run influential websites, and those are the sites you should be looking for during link prospecting.” – Andrew Dennis, Page One Power in How Social Media Complements Link Building

“The vast majority of LinkedIn users have free accounts. While this offering works pretty well for job seekers and professional branding, the premium account unlocks important features that are practically essential in developing targeted lists.” – Derek Edmond in How To Use LinkedIn As A B2B Link Prospect Development Tool

Tweetable: Search in social profiles to identify relevant link prospects [Tweet This]

Search and analyse social media posts to identify relevant link prospects.

“(1) Start with people who have big circles or are explicitly listed in the “influencers” section at the bottom. These are the people to connect with immediately to start building a relationship.

(2) Visit an influencer’s Google+ page and see what content he/she is sharing. View the ripple of the content they shared and discover where the post came from initially. You’ll quickly learn who is influencing your influencers. Consider building relationships with these people and websites, too.

(3) (read on for tip 3)” – Amanda DiSilvestro in Using Google+ Ripples to Find Influencers

Tweetable: Search and analyse social media posts to identify relevant link prospects [Tweet This]

Qualify prospects (both people and websites) by looking at their social media profiles, posts, number of followers, engagement of followers, number of social shares of website etc.

“These are really important to answering the “what would be the best-case scenario” question. The best-case scenario would be that the website would cover your piece and not only give you a link, but also leverage its community to push your content viral. These types of sites are what I like to call “influencers” and they can really help scale your link building efforts by helping your content essentially generate its own links simply by being put in front of the right eyeballs.” – Adria Saracino in The Definitive Guide to Qualifying a Link Prospect [with Video]

“If you’ve identified a prospect, researching a website’s community and the conversations happening around existing content is important as social signals and sharing can greatly influence the visibility and reach of a post. Finding link partners with an established, active community should be a top consideration when prospecting and qualifying websites for guest post placement opportunities.” – Brian Jensen in The Essential Guide to Effective Link Building Outreach

Tweetable: Qualify prospects using their social media profiles, posts, # followers, engagement, shares [Tweet This]

Relationship BuildingWhile relationships are not essential for effective SEO, having strong relationships with others in your industry will make your link and share requests more effective and uncover other opportunities such as content collaboration projects.

Build a Community around your brand which can then be utilised for many business goals including content creation and promotion.

“LinkedIn is currently my number one source of social traffic. For every 5,000 members you have within your group, you can roughly generate 15,000 visitors.” – Neil Patel, Quicksprout in 7 Strategies That’ll Actually Drive You More Social Media Traffic

Tweetable: Build a Community around your brand to help content creation & promotion [Tweet This]

Start and build relationships by utilising social media to interact with other individuals via regular posting, private messaging, group postings etc.

“Another way that has helped me many times in order to start talking to people is to relate to something interesting you read in a person’s bio. If you are building a following based on your interests, this will be very helpful. Simply tweet a comment on something that you found interesting and usually a great discussion is under way” – Leo Widrich, Buffer in How To Kick Off More Conversations On Twitter

Tweetable: Use social posting, private messaging, group postings etc. to build relationships [Tweet This]

Outreach & PromotionOne of the biggest benefits of having a large social following, as far as SEO is concerned, is that you have a ready band of people to help promote your content and magnify your message. The wider your content gets shared, the more likely it will be seen by people who have the means and motivation to link to you.

Outreach

Outreach allows you to target specific websites and people to make your link building efforts more effective, because you can reach them on a personal communication channel (email) and tailor your approach to produce a higher conversion rate.

Look at your prospects' social media profiles to learn a bit more about them before making contact so you can tailor your approach.

“Pay attention the individual’s interests, group participation, experience, etc. Look for related connections and expertise that can help drive conversation.” – Derek Edmond in How To Use LinkedIn As A B2B Link Prospect Development Tool

Tweetable: Tailor your outreach by first researching your target’s social profiles [Tweet This]

Use social media to initiate/facilitate contact as an alternative to email.

Tweetable: Use social media to facilitate outreach as an alternative to email [Tweet This]

Promotion

The wider your content gets shared, the more likely it is to be seen by someone with the means and motivation to link to you. Beyond link building, content promotion can also lead to more customers and exposure to achieve other business goals.

Optimise your content for maximum social sharing.

“It was so successful that the post generated 17,452 visits from Twitter alone. You too can do this. You’ll find that you’ll get more social media traffic from this strategy than just adding a “tweet this” button at the bottom of your blog post.” – Neil Patel, Quicksprout in 7 Strategies That’ll Actually Drive You More Social Media Traffic

“The Google +1 button attributes include the page title, URL, image and recommendations. You can also select from advanced options, including how the +1 button loads, to better fit the needs of your website. For example, select Asynchronous JavaScript loading to improve page load time by allowing the browser to load the page and the +1 button code at the same time.” – Angie Pascale in How to Customize Your Social Share Buttons for Increased Traffic

Tweetable: Optimise your content for natural/passive social sharing [Tweet This]

Create content in a way that encourages social sharing e.g. group interviews.

“Entertain. No one wants to watch or share boring content. Get people to laugh or smile (like the clips you often see being passed around from the late-night talk shows or Saturday Night Live) and you’ll see your content spread more easily.” – Martin Lieberman in 6 Ways to Create Content Your Readers Will Share

“Leverage social sharing to nominees, members and/or winners (of competitions) – encourage participants to share their entry, as the more your content gets across their network and audience, the greater chances of getting second wave coverage/links from small and medium-sized blogs.” – Jason Acidre, Kaiser the Sage in 9 Tangible Linkable Asset Ideas and How to Build Links to Them

Tweetable: Create content that encourages social sharing [Tweet This]

Optimise your social media posts to maximise exposure, click through rates and resharing.

“Knowing when the majority of your followers and potential customers are online can increase the chance of your tweet being shared and/or re-tweeted. There are free as well as paid tools, which can help you determine the best time for you to tweet” – Lenka Istvanova in 18 Useful Social Media Tricks To Boost Your SEO Potential

“First things first. Unlike other social platforms, Google+ posts act more like mini blog posts, and every post needs a headline. Not only does adding a header help your post stand out, but Google uses the first words of your post in two different ways:

  1. They incorporates your headline into the title tag of the post
  2. The headline is typically what displays in Google search results

Adding the right headline can help your post stand out in search results, and can greatly influence the number of people who both notice and click through to your content. Use a headline, every time.” – Cyrus Shepard in 10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic

Tweetable: Optimise your social media posts to maximise exposure, CTRs & shares [Tweet This]

Leverage social media to build your email list which can then be utilised as an effective content promotion tool in the future.

“There’s no need for the user to enter their name or email address because that information is pulled from Facebook and pre-populated into the signup form. The user just click the “register” button and he’s opted in!” – John Chow in How To Add Facebook Email Opt-In Form To Your Blog

Tweetable: Leverage social media to build your email list then use it to promote content [Tweet This]

Utilise promoted posts and other social media advertising options to spread your content even further.

“Target writers, editors, editors in chief, correspondents, bloggers, etc. by job title. For example, when promoting an infographic about education in Texas for a local school, you could use Facebook In-Stream Ads to reach bloggers and journalists in the state” – Buzzstream in The Advanced Guide to Content Promotion

“You can put together a list of every specific person you want to reach out to, then have your content appear in their everyday Twitter stream.” – Patrick Hathaway, Url Profiler in How To Outreach Influencers Directly Using NEW Twitter Custom Audiences

Tweetable: Utilise social media advertising to spread your content to a wider audience [Tweet This]

A Quick List of All Techniques

Use the ‘tweet’ links below to vote for your favourite technique.

  1. Analyse social posts to identify trending topics for SEO content [Tweet This]
  2. Use social media to identify common customer questions and create content to answer them [Tweet This]
  3. Test content on social media, tweak based on response then finalise [Tweet This]
  4. Analyse popular content in your industry to help generate topic ideas [Tweet This]
  5. Curate resources for content research using hashtags and external tools [Tweet This]
  6. Analyse your target audiences conversations to better tailor your content [Tweet This]
  7. Ask followers a question on social media and compile their answers in a blog post [Tweet This]
  8. Search in social profiles to identify relevant link prospects [Tweet This]
  9. Search and analyse social media posts to identify relevant link prospects [Tweet This]
  10. Qualify prospects using their social media profiles, posts, no. followers, engagement, shares [Tweet This]
  11. Build a Community around your brand to help content creation, promotion [Tweet This]
  12. Use social posting, private messaging, group postings etc. to build relationships [Tweet This]
  13. Tailor your outreach by first researching your targets social profiles [Tweet This]
  14. Use social media to facilitate outreach as an alternative to email [Tweet This]
  15. Optimise your content for natural/passive social sharing [Tweet This]
  16. Create content that encourages social sharing [Tweet This]
  17. Optimise your social media posts to maximise exposure, CTRs and shares [Tweet This]
  18. Leverage social media to build your email list then use it to promote content [Tweet This]
  19. Utilise social media advertising to spread your content to a wider audience [Tweet This]

Summary

Ultimate Guide to Utilising Social Media for SEOWe know there’s a lot to read here and that many of you are in a hurry, so here’s a short summary.

Social media can be utilised for SEO in three key ways;

  • Data mining
    • Generating & Testing Content Ideas
    • Customer & Content Research
    • Link Prospecting & Qualifying
  • Direct Communication
    • Creating Crowdsourced Content
    • Building Relationships with Influencers, Communities and Other Potential Linkers
    • Outreach to Potential Linkers
  • Promotion
    • Broadcasting Content
    • Facilitating the Viral Spread of Content
    • Facilitating the Natural/Passive Spread of Content

We’ve done our best to make this guide as comprehensive as possible but if we’ve missed a technique you know, suggest it in the comments below.

  • Andrew Dennis

    Great post Nick!

    I just wanted to stop by and say thanks for featuring my article in the post, I appreciate the inclusion.

    • http://nickmorris.me Nick Morris

      No problems Andrew, thanks for stopping by :)

  • Rubin Pfeifer

    Great Post!! do you have any recourses regarding this topic in german? For our Business: http://www.mediabros.ch
    We also have some recourses in german: http://blog.mediabros.ch/

  • http://www.nativemedia.be/ nativemedia

    Great post.Thanks for the tip about Buzzsumo!

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