Social media vs. SEO, which one do you think is better?* If you are a solopreneur or are running a small, or even medium-sized business, your marketing time and dollar are precious. It’s important to ask: With limited resources, what’s more important—SEO or social media?
The answer, of course, is: Both!
Let’s look at a few aspects of social media and SEO and how they work together and, unfortunately, sometimes against each other. That way, you can make smart choices with your investments in time, money, and effort.
This guest post was written by writer and digital strategist Anna Colibri.
SEO or Social Media Optimizing Your Headlines
Headlines are important, both for social media and search engine optimization. But how do you choose which one to prioritize? On the one hand, you want something catchy that will draw people in on Facebook, but on the other, you want your headline to contain keywords so that it will show up in search engines. Which route do you take?
The answer is, again, both. While optimizing your headline simultaneously for social media and search engines is not ideal, it certainly forces you to get creative. And if you’re really feeling stuck, you can always make your headline a listicle. Yes, there’s a reason why so many businesses are using them other than it just being a trend!
Fake Accounts and Spammers
The business world can unfortunately get pretty ugly. And for a fee, there is never a shortage of people who are willing to fight dirty for you. What does this mean for your SEO? The time and money you’ve put into boosting your website’s search engine results may have been all for naught if your competitor is sabotaging your SEO behind your back.
One of the ways these “negative SEOers” attack is with social media. They create fake social media accounts representing your business and troll your blog posts with numerous comments, getting you flagged as spam. Because social media platforms have so much page authority, they are likely to represent you on the first page of your search engine results (SERP).
This happened recently with the fake Hillary Clinton Pinterest account created by Republican Presidential candidate Rand Paul and his team. Pinterest took down the fake account almost instantly, but the for most of us, it’s not that easy. We don’t have large staffs that are constantly on the look out for this kind of problem.
Do regular searches of your business both through search engines and social media platforms. If you find an account claiming to represent your business, report it immediately. Facebook is particularly strict about enforcing it’s “no fake accounts” policy, so do be sure to take action. Be sure to monitor the comments on your blog posts, as well. If you don’t have time to monitor the comments, you shouldn’t have that function on your site to begin with. While not ideal, disabling comments is much safer than being classified as a spam site.
Social Media Search Engines Trumping Traditional Search Engines
Considering so many people are using their phones these days instead of their computers, there are many instances when your SEO won’t count for anything–unless you have a local search strategy.
People also search for things within Facebook, they click on hashtags in Twitter and Instagram, and they look for videos using YouTube’s built-in search engine. Which means that if you’re not optimized for both search engines and social media, your site is not going to pop up.
Another threat are the very large sites, like Thumbtack, that have a lot of page authority, that take up space in the SERPs. For example, if you search for Kalamazoo painters, you will see Thumbtack’s top 10. This trend will continue to grow, I’m sure.
Get social! Businesses do not have to be on every social media platform in order to be optimized for social media. In fact a strategy like that would be redundant, time consuming, and costly. That said, you need to be conscious about the SERPs, look at what your competition is doing, and consider creating profiles on every competitor site.
Do a little research about your target audiences. Where are they most likely to search for your business? For example, if you’re doing a lot of B2B, then LinkedIn is an obvious choice. Figure out where your audiences are searching for the products you offer, and get on those social media platforms asap.
An Increased Workload
Your company’s social media sites will show up in the results when someone searches for your business. It is not enough to simply be on social media—you have to make your social media sites look as good as your website. This means that you have to put time and money both into SEO and social media management, which can add up pretty fast! If you don’t, your company is not going to look credible, especially to new customers or partners.
Integrate your social media with your website. Post key content from your website and your strategic partners. Use the same color schemes, logos, images, etc. This will save you time and money and will also make your business streamlined and professional. And for heaven’s sake, get the image sizes correct for each social media site. A logo that is not sized properly is cringe-worthy. Your Facebook page may be the first site a new customer clicks on, so make a good first impression and hopefully the next click they make is to your website.
Creating Shareable Content
Ideally, a company creates smart, witty, enticing content that continuously goes viral on social media. But the reality is that making your content SEO often stifles these opportunities. You have all these keywords and phrases to plug in, and the repetition of it all can make a reader tune out.
Split your content down the middle. Any blog post or article on your website that goes viral is going to increase your web traffic, which will bump your Google ranking, thus increasing your SEO. At the same time, it can be hard to tell when a post will go viral, so you also need posts that that focus on SEO. The holy grail, of course, is finding a writer who can do both at the same time. This may cost you a little money, but you’ll get a great return on your investment.
Having read all of that, what do you think? Is SEO better than social media? Of course not. Despite the workload, businesses that are serious about digital presence need to create a great brand, deliver awesome user experience, and incorporate (among other digital marketing strategies) both SEO and social media into their marketing mix.
Need help? Why not reach out? I take the overwhelm out of digital marketing by creating tailored marketing approaches for small, local, and mission-driven businesses that make best use of your marketing dollar by leveraging both SEO and social media.
This guest post was written by writer and digital strategist Anna Colibri. Anna lives and works in San Francisco, California, with her two children. When she’s not working, she’s momming, meditating, or meandering the streets of San Francisco. You can find her @annacolibri on Twitter.