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Special Guest Post: How Social Media Helps Search Engine Optimization

Are you a business owner confused about how to drive traffic back to your website? Do you need guidance on growing your audience and increasing online conversions including telephone calls, form submissions, online orders, etc.? Understanding the distinction between social media and search engine optimization (SEO) is a helpful starting point for achieving your business goals.


Hello! My name is Alexander Milzer, and I own Mile High Content — a Denver-based digital marketing agency specializing in local SEO. We’ve helped businesses across dozens of verticals expand their digital footprint and increase sales to their target audience. Digital marketing is an expansive ecosystem with countless winning formulas. However, if there is one lesson we’ve learned over the years, it’s this:


Whether you are a guppy or a whale, integrating social media into your SEO strategy is a winning formula for increasing exposure and achieving high-earning keywords on SERPs. 


Read on for an in-depth guide on how social media impacts search engine optimization and contributes to organic growth, brand recognition, and top-ranking keywords. If you have questions about social media or SEO, don’t hesitate to reach out to Mile High Content or WideFoc.us for answers. We hope this article helps you take your digital marketing to the next level! 



What Is The Difference Between Social Media and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?


Social media is a form of internet-based communication that allows people to share content and connect with others. At its core, social media platforms serve as virtual gathering spaces that have revolutionized how we stay connected. On the other hand, search engine optimization is the art and science of optimizing your website and content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher your website ranks on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, the more likely it is that your brand will reach its target audience. 


At Mile High Content, we’ve always considered SEO to be the gatekeeper of online visibility while social media acts as the powerhouse of engagement. The key is a harmonious blend! The ability to connect with customers on a personal level through social media while simultaneously ranking organically for relevant terms is an undeniable recipe for online success. 


Does Social Media Count In Google’s Algorithm?


A frequently-asked question by our clients at Mile High Content is whether social media counts in Google’s algorithm on SERPs. Although Google does not publicly publish its ranking algorithm, numerous studies suggest that social media only accounts for three to five percent, regardless of traditional SEO or local search. 


For the sake of conversion, let’s say your business prioritizes SEO above all other digital strategies. In that case, you should ask yourself a serious question:


If social media accounts for such a low algorithm percentage, why should my business focus on social media if SEO aligns more with my business goals? 


The short answer is that the difference between ranking on the first page of Google instead of the second page lies in the details. Every percentage point counts, so you should do everything possible to optimize your SEO — including social media. Your competitors certainly are!


The second reason you should focus on social media to boost SEO has to do with “the Skeleton Dance.” Do you remember the skeleton dance from childhood? 


The hip bone is connected to the backbone; the backbone is connected to the neck bone. 


I can see you scratching your head and asking, “where is this going, Alex?”



Digital marketing is similar to the human body: Everything is connected. Social media is linked to and influences organic results in ways beyond the ranking algorithm. So if you think about your digital marketing as a complex system of moving parts, you mustn’t neglect any traffic channel and do your best to optimize all parts of the whole.


Social Media Creates Opportunities to Gain Natural Backlinks


Google may be the digital king — but just like any kingdom, it can’t do it alone. That means Google takes signals from other places to understand your website's authority. Sounds confusing, right? 


Think of these signals like a popularity contest or an election: The more people talk about you positively, the more likely you are to win their votes. The same concept is true in digital marketing. The more other websites mention you in comments or links, the more likely Google considers you an authority — especially if these mentions come from industry-specific or local sites in your area. Here is a helpful article discussing link-building by Semrush, one of the world's most significant SEO software platforms.



Building relationships is paramount in the link-building world, and social media provides a unique opportunity to connect with industry influencers, thought leaders, and potential linking partners. By actively engaging your audience and industry leaders, you can establish meaningful relationships leading to valuable backlink opportunities — thus improving SEO rankings. 


Google Business Now Automatically Shares Social Content


As of October 2023, Google introduced social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, X, etc., into Google Business listings. Google's incorporation of social media is a game-changer because it automatically reshares social media posts on your business listing, maximizing visibility across multiple channels. 


Why would Google suddenly make this unexpected update? What does Google’s incorporation of social media on business listings tell us about the relationship between SEO and social media? Google Business is a central hub for your company’s information, making it easier for potential customers to find you and — equally important — trust you. Cross-promoting social channels on your Google Business profile indicates that social consideration plays a part in trust building and reputation. 


Social Media Helps Identify Commonly-Asked Questions For Your SEO Content


When I was a kid, my parents bought me a dog — Winston — for whom I was solely responsible. Search engine optimization is like a pet: You must feed, water, walk, and give it attention to thrive. Google rewards websites that update content regularly by adding new pages and refreshing existing posts. However, finding new topics can often be challenging — even with advanced keyword research tools such as Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, etc. 


At Mile High Content, we can’t overstate the power of social listening — which allows you to observe common audience questions. For example, if you own a new plumbing business you should consider comments about emergency services, faucets, drains, sewers, etc. What questions do your customers have about these topics? Where do the confusions lie? Paying attention to your audience on social media uncovers a wealth of relevant topics and emerging keyword trends that you can incorporate into your website to improve SEO and user experience. 


Conclusion


In the ever-evolving digital landscape, businesses must make critical decisions about how to best use their marketing budgets. By understanding the relationship between social media and SEO, you can maximize your online presence and stay ahead of the competition. A well-rounded digital marketing strategy that leverages the strengths of both is the key to achieving online success and the attention of your desired audience. 


About the Author


As owner and CEO of Mile High Content, a Denver-based digital marketing agency, Alexander Milzer has nearly two decades of SEO experience. Local businesses require a local strategy, and Mile High Content specializes in helping companies reach their target audience through Google Maps optimization, search engine marketing, reputation management, and content creation.  



Thank you for your wisdom, Alexander!

Eric and the WideFoc.us Team


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