Why Keywords Matter for Social Media

Still wondering if social media can help your content rank higher in Google? Or if keywords can help you get more shares and traffic from social media?

Absofreakinlutely. Here's how social media and SEO are interrelated, and why we need to keep SEO strategies (and keyword research in particular) top of mind with our social media posts.

First, let's look at the impact of effective social media on SEO:

Social media triggers branded searches.

As you build a following on social media, people will start to recognize your brand and your content. They may even Google your brand name plus a keyword phrase, and that means more traffic to your website.

In fact, Brian Dean from Backlinko recommends branding a specific process or technique so that people remember it and search for it by name. He gets thousands of visits each month for his branded Skyscraper Technique.

I’ve experienced something similar with my time blocking template. Little did I know how popular time management tips would be on social media. Because my time blocking template has been shared so many times on social media, I see a handful of searches for “Conversion Minded time blocking” in Google Analytics. Not a ton but growing, and it shows you how popular social media content can trigger branded searches.

Not only that, I’m now ranking on page #1 for the keyword “time blocking template”. And I’m pretty sure that branded searches ("conversion minded time blocking") have helped me rank higher for the unbranded keyword ("time blocking template").

Brand recognition leads to more clicks.

What I love about social media is that you can build your own traffic engine and become an influencer simply by posting high-quality content.

And the more value you provide, the more people see you as having their solution and start trusting your brand as an authority.

While band recognition may not increase your page rankings, it will likely increase your website traffic.

People tend to gravitate to brands that they know. When they see your name appear for search queries, they’ll be more likely to click through to your website rather than someone they don’t know.

More shares = more link opportunities.

Even though social media shares don’t count as links, according to Google, it makes sense that a high number of shares means more people seeing your content – and more opportunities to link to it.

Are you starting to see how powerful social media can be? If you can create content that people love to share on social media, more people will mention it and include links to your content, which does affect your ranking. This is why It’s so important to think beyond the number of shares a post has on Facebook.

Think about the links that can come as people share your post with their followers and their followers share with their followers. As your post becomes more popular and your following grows, it may get the attention of influencers and journalists who will link back to it.

Now that you see how social media has an indirect impact on SEO and Google rankings, let's look at how SEO and keyword research impact social media.

People find your social media posts through searches.

You may not realize this, but there are billions of search queries each month on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

In fact, my husband prefers YouTube to Google when he searches for how to fix a toilet, do tai chi, repair a hard drive, and so on. And he's not alone. Tons of people prefer videos to written posts and get their information from YouTube rather than Google.

Looking at it this way, you could say that social media is SEO. So when we think about SEO, we need to think beyond Google and include the searches that people are performing on social media (aka: social search engines).

Keywords can help your content show up in social media.

Keywords are a big deal, whether you’re optimizing content for Google or social media.

One of the last things I do before publishing a new blog post is to add keywords to my pin image. The reason is that pins with keywords in the description – and now hashtags – have a better chance of getting found on Pinterest.

The same is true with Twitter and Instagram. When you use popular hashtags in a tweet or caption, you expose your social media post to everyone discussing and searching for the topic.

On YouTube, It goes without saying that keywords matter. If you add the right keywords to video titles, descriptions, and tags, you can get them ranked on YouTube and Google.

Since most people learn visually and will click on a how-to video before they’ll click on a how-to blog, it pays to spend time upfront researching keywords so you can see the rewards of increased traffic.

What I really want you to get from this is that keyword research should be part of your regular social media workflow. Make sure you add keywords + hashtags to your blog posts, videos, podcasts, tags, post descriptions, images, and more.