The Role of Social Media in SEO and Digital Marketing. Why Are These Techniques Critical for Business Success?

In  Marketing

We live in a world that is dominated by technology and digital interaction. With the ever-increasing online competition, businesses face various challenges to stand out from the crowd and reach their target audiences effectively. As the online landscape continuously evolves, social media’s role in search engine optimisation (SEO) and digital marketing has become paramount. Social media platforms have shaped how people interact, communicate, and consume information, making them valuable and indispensable tools for online businesses to engage with their target audience and build their online presence.   

In this article, we will examine the multifaceted role of social media, SEO and digital marketing by delving into how social media impacts search engine rankings, boosts website visibility and drives relevant traffic. We will also discuss the best strategies for leveraging social media platforms to optimise your SEO efforts and reach your target audience more effectively.  

The Importance of Digital Marketing, SEO and Social Media in Today’s Business Landscape

Digital marketing strategies encompass various online efforts and have emerged as vital to businesses success. Its main objective is to reach online users and engage with potential customers, build brand awareness, improve online visibility and drive conversions. According to a survey from Gartner, 72% of the total marketing budget goes to digital marketing efforts. 

SEO, on the other hand, acts as the backbone of digital marketing. Its role is to optimise your website and content to rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP) and attract relevant, organic traffic. 68% of online customer journeys begin with a search engine, and 53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search. 

Social media has revolutionised the way brands and people interact online. This dynamic ecosystem fosters user engagement, facilitates content sharing, and heightens brand visibility. Because of the popularity of social channels, the integration of social media into digital marketing and SEO strategies has proven to be a game-changer for businesses that seek to boost their online presence and be fierce competitors in the industry. Almost 26% of global social media users aged 16 to 64 are using social networks to find products to purchase, while 21.5% want to see the content published by their favourite brands. 

Understanding the symbiotic relationship between social media, digital marketing, and SEO is crucial for businesses to unlock new ways for growth, expand their audience reach, and cultivate a loyal customer base.   

Understanding SEO and Its Objectives

Search engine optimisation, or SEO, refers to optimising a website and the content to improve online visibility and grow organic (non-paid) ranking in the search engine results page. SEO involves a set of techniques, strategies, and best practices that aim to enhance the website’s relevance, authority, and performance in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others.  

SEO objectives are centred around increasing organic visibility, driving relevant and targeted traffic, and offering a seamless user experience on desktop and mobile devices. Let’s discuss the goals and objectives of SEO efforts: 

  • Enhance search engine rankings. SEO activities aim to optimise the elements of a website, such as a website’s architecture/structure, content, meta titles, meta descriptions, and HTML code, to support search engines in easily crawling, understanding, and indexing the site. By using relevant keywords based on the user intent and implementing off-page and on-page SEO strategies, you increase the possibility of your website’s ranking position getting better. 
  • Boost organic traffic. SEO efforts strive to attract relevant and qualified organic traffic to your website. We recommend using relevant keywords and creating optimised and high-quality content to increase your site’s visibility in the SERP and attract the right users actively searching for products, services, and information related to your niche or industry. 
  • Improve user experience. SEO also aims to improve your website’s user experience (UX). Factors such as page speed, mobile-friendliness, website navigation and usability contribute to a positive and smooth user experience. This way, you can retain website visitors and also tell search engines that your website provides value and relevance to users. You can check out our actions and results on how we optimised site speed for better SEO for Flowmatters.
  • Increase website authority. Using an internal link-building strategy and earning quality backlinks from reputable websites in your niche or industry can contribute to a better ranking. The backlinks mean “votes of confidence”, which sends positive ranking signals to search engines and increases your website’s authority and credibility. Moreover, we recommend using the E-A-T principle in your SEO strategy to significantly impact search engine rankings and organic visibility.   
  • Take advantage of global and local searches. SEO tactics can be tailored to target specific geographical locations, helping businesses that operate locally or have a global presence have a better impact on their target audience. You can grow your business with local SEO to appear prominently in local search results for location-specific queries. We recommend starting by creating a Google Business profile.    
  • Have a deeper understanding of your result. SEO heavily relies on data analysis and key performance indicators (KPI) measurements to track the effectiveness of optimisation efforts. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console offer businesses valuable insights into web performance, traffic sources, user behaviour, conversion metrics, keyword efficiency, etc. This data helps you identify gaps, areas for improvement and help you make data-driven decisions for future SEO strategies.  

Understanding Digital Marketing and Its Objectives

Digital marketing involves using techniques, strategies and tools to promote products, services, or brands using various digital channels. Email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, search engine marketing (SEM), display advertising, influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, mobile marketing, etc., are all tools and techniques that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing. Its objectives vary based on specific business goals. However, businesses use digital marketing for the following objectives: 

  • Increase brand awareness among the target audience by leveraging digital channels such as social media, search engines, email marketing and display advertising. 
  • Generate website traffic by using SEO techniques, running paid search campaigns, leverage content marketing.
  • Generate leads and customer acquisition through tactics such as email marketing, social media advertising, landing page optimisation, and lead magnets.
  • Increase sales and revenue by driving conversions through online sales, lead nurturing, upselling and cross-selling.
  • Increase customer engagement and build loyalty through channels such as social media, email marketing, amazing content creation and personalised communication.
  • Improve customer experience by leveraging data, user feedback and optimisation techniques to enhance digital touchpoints, offer seamless user journeys and provide positive experiences to customers. 
  • Be competitive and establish a strong online presence by keeping up with industry trends, outperforming competitors, and rapidly adapting to customer behaviours and preferences. 

Regardless of the ultimate business goals, digital marketing is crucial in reaching the target audiences. Traditional marketing techniques evolved, but digital marketing is more efficient and relevant in today’s interconnected world. Let’s explore together the key reasons why digital marketing is mandatory for connecting businesses with their desired customer base:  

  • Reach a broader audience globally or locally, based on your target market. 5.16 billion people use the internet worldwide. Using digital marketing techniques guarantees to reach and connect with your target customers regardless of geographical boundaries. 
  • Precise targeting through advanced targeting capabilities. Customer profiling and segmentation based on demographics, interests, behaviours, and other specific criteria allow businesses to send tailored marketing messages that resonate with the intended audience. This way, you increase the chances of capturing users’ attention and driving conversions. 
  • Personalised and customised communication with the target customer base. By using various methods such as email marketing, social media interactions and offering a personalised website experience, your business can deliver valuable content based on user’s preferences and interests. This personal approach enhances user experience and creates stronger brand and audience connections. 
  • Multi-channel engagement because digital marketing offers a wide range of channels and platforms to engage your audiences. From social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook to SEM, content marketing and email campaigns, you can leverage multiple channels at the same time to reach your audience at different touchpoints. The multi-channel approach increases brand visibility and awareness and improves the chances of attracting and connecting with potential customers. 
  • Interactive and engaging content delivery because digital marketing channels and platforms support multiple content formats to captivate users. From videos, infographics, images, and quizzes to live streams and user-generated content, your company can leverage every piece of content and various formats to attract, educate, entertain and inspire people online. Interactive content encourages participation and fosters a sense of community. Therefore, you will drive deeper engagement and brand loyalty. 
  • Real-time communication and feedback between brands and customers through social media platforms, AI-powered chatbots and messaging apps. Addressing customer enquiries, providing immediate support, and gathering feedback promptly will build trust, strengthen customer relationships and enhance the overall customer experience. 
  • Data-driven insights and decisions because every digital marketing channel offers analytic tools and deep insights that help you understand your customers better. Tracking and analysing metrics like website traffic, click-through rate, bounce rate, engagement levels, conversion rates, buying behaviours, and patterns will provide valuable insights into the audience’s preferences and approach to your brand. A deep understanding and valuable insights will help you make informed decisions and optimise your marketing strategies to reach your target audience more effectively.  

Understanding Social Media Channels and Their Audiences

Social media plays a huge role in our daily lives, offering diverse ways to share content and connect with brands and people. We would like to offer you an overview of popular social media platforms and their user base that can help you easily identify which platforms are best suited for your needs. 

Facebook has over 2.85 billion monthly active users. It is the largest social media platform worldwide and caters to a broad demographic, making it a versatile platform for brands and organisations. Businesses can share posts, videos, and photos, building a community by creating a group and communicating with customers through the messenger app.     

YouTube is a video-sharing platform with over 2 billion monthly active users. Businesses can use this platform to upload videos and engage with the community through comments. YouTube attracts users of all ages and interests, and this platform is a great way to educate the public and promote your products or services.    

Instagram is focused on visual content and has more than 1 billion monthly active users. The platform mainly revolves around sharing photos, videos, stories, reels and IGTV, which attracts predominantly younger audiences. We recommend Instagram to brands that are focused on visually appealing posts.  

Twitter is known for its concise and real-time updates and has 396.5 million users. People and brands engage and share tweets (short messages). This platform is prevalent among businesses, journalists, and celebrities for sharing news and opinions and engaging in public conversations. If your business is catered towards a more professional audience, Twitter is an excellent choice.

LinkedIn is a professional networking platform with over 930 million members from 200 countries and regions worldwide. Its primary target is professionals and businesses that showcase their work experience, access and share industry-related content and connect with colleagues. LinkedIn fits you if you run a B2B business or are in recruitment. 

Pinterest is a visual discovery platform with 445 million monthly active users that can discover and save ideas, inspirations, and visuals and create personalised boards. We recommend this platform for businesses in the lifestyle, fashion, interior design, etc industries.   

TikTok is a short-form video platform with 1 billion monthly active users that allows individuals and businesses to create and share 15 to 60-second videos set to music or audio clips. TikTok is very popular for its virality, creative content and has a young user base. 

These are just a few examples of popular social media platforms with unique features, different target audiences and purposes.

How Social Media Can Impact SEO

Social media sites significantly influence SEO because they can influence the impact of a website’s visibility and SEO rankings in various ways. Let’s discover together the key ways in which social media influences SEO: 

  • Increase Website Visibility as social media platforms allow businesses to share and promote their website content. When a website’s content is shared on social media, it increases its visibility to a wider audience. This social media exposure can lead to more inbound links, mentions, and social signals, positively impacting SEO rankings. 
  • Social signals and search engine rankings. Likes, shares, comments and social media engagement are social signals because Google considers them to be indicators of content quality and relevance. Moreover, Google takes social signals into account when determining the authority and popularity of a website in the search rankings. The more social signals a piece of content has, the higher the chances of ranking well in the SERP. 
  • Link-building opportunities because social media networks provide a valuable channel for link-building. When a website’s content is shared on social media, and users consider it relevant content for their interests, the likelihood of other websites and individuals linking to that content increases. High-quality backlinks from reputable sources are a ranking factor in SEO, and social media can catalyse earning credible backlinks.  
  • Earning brand authority and building trust. Active social media engagement helps build brand authority and credibility. When you have an active social media presence, share valuable original content, interact with your audience and establish a robust online presence, your reputation is enhanced, and your business becomes more relevant. Search engines consider brand authority and trustworthiness as ranking factors. 
  • Social media profiles in search results. Google and other search engines often display social media profiles in their regular search results for branded searches. We strongly recommend business owners check if they have a well-optimised and active social media presence to enhance their chances of appearing in the SERP and provide additional visibility for their brand. Moreover, the brand will drive more organic search traffic to both the website and social media profiles. 
  • Social media content indexing. Search engine crawlers can index social media content, making it available for a relevant keyword search. A social media post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., can rank in search results, increasing your brand’s visibility and driving traffic to your social media profile. 
  • Local SEO and geotargeting because social platforms often provide location-based features and allow businesses to target specific geographical areas. This is incredibly useful for local SEO, and businesses can engage with local audiences, promote local events and offers and improve their visibility in local search results.

How Social Signals Influence Search Engine Rankings

The metrics and interactions generated through social media activity, such as likes, social media shares, comments and engagement, are considered social signals. There is an ongoing debate about the direct impact on search engine rankings, and social media signals play a role in influencing organic visibility and SEO.

The social signals themselves may not be a direct ranking factor, but they can indirectly influence search engine rankings. Search engines aim to provide the best possible user experience by displaying the most relevant search results for specific search queries. As social signals convey that the content is valuable, relevant and helpful to users, they indicate that your content is qualitative and popular. When a piece of content receives significant social engagement, it attracts more organic links, references and citations, which are important ranking factors.   

Because of the increased content exposure and the potential of your content to go viral, social media platforms serve as valuable channels for directing traffic to your website. This referral traffic from social channels contributes to the overall website traffic, leading to more visibility, brand awareness and generating organic backlinks. However, it is essential to know that Google prioritises quality over quantity of backlinks. The more reputable and relevant the sources, the better the signal for organic ranking.   

Social media engagement often leads to user-generated content like online reviews, testimonials and user-created posts. Positive user-generated content enhances brand reputation and credibility, attracting more users to your website and potentially converting more users into customers. When search engines see that you are a trustworthy company with positive reviews and engagement, your website and social profiles will get better search visibility in the SERP. 

We highly recommend leveraging social media engagement by creating high-quality, authoritative content, sharing it across all your social media profiles, engaging with your audience and collaborating with industry experts. By effectively utilising social media engagement strategies, you attract more visitors to your website, expand your brand’s online visibility and boost sales. Social signals contribute to your SEO efforts but do not directly impact search rankings. They influence organic visibility, brand exposure, link-building opportunities and brand trustworthiness. 

The Challenges of Social Media-Driven SEO 

Social media-driven SEO brings numerous benefits to an online business but faces specific challenges. As a business owner, you should be aware of the bottlenecks in a social media strategy, so you can consult with your social media team and find the best way to overcome these challenges and adapt fast to the changes. 

  • Algorithm Changes. Social media platforms constantly update and change their algorithms, which affects how content is displayed and prioritised. These changes will have an impact on the reach and visibility of your social media content. We recommend staying updated on the platform changes and adapting your social strategy accordingly to keep maximum exposure.
  • Organic Reach Limitations. Unfortunately, many social media platforms have algorithms that reach the organic reach of business content. Even if you have a large number of followers, not all of them may see your posts. The only solution to overcome this challenge is to incorporate paid advertising or boost your posts to expand your reach.  
  • Ongoing and Increasing Competition. Social media continues to grow, and the competition for an audience’s attention and engagement becomes more fierce. Because of this, it becomes more challenging to capture the user’s attention. Therefore, the only way to stand out from the crowd and get the audience’s interest is to create high-quality, engaging, unique, branded content. 
  • Short Content Lifespan and Content Overload. Social media feeds are flooded with a tremendous amount of content, contributing to the challenge of grabbing users’ attention. The lifespan of a social media post is relatively short, as new content pushes older posts down in the feed. Because of this, businesses must create and share content constantly and timely to maintain visibility and user engagement.  
  • Content Relevancy and Audience Targeting. Your social media efforts must be aligned with your target audience’s interests and preferences. We recommend tailoring your content, tone, voice and messaging to resonate with your audience. Generic and irrelevant content will lead to low engagement and limits the impact on SEO.
  • Building and Maintaining Relationships. For a more significant impact of social media-driven SEO, online businesses must develop and nurture relationships with their audience, influencers, industry experts and other companies. This action takes time and effort, and it involves actively engaging with your community through responding to comments and messages and collaborating with influencers, industry experts, and other businesses.  

We strongly recommend you develop a comprehensive social media strategy that aligns with your overall SEO and digital marketing objectives. Be informed about social platform changes, monitor and analyse social posts’ performance, and adapt your strategies when needed. Furthermore, prioritise value and create engaging posts to drive meaningful traffic and relevant audiences to your profiles and website. 

Our Advice – How to Leverage Social Media for SEO and Digital Marketing

To gain a competitive edge in your industry, we strongly advise you to leverage social media for your SEO and digital marketing efforts. We want to share with you the key actions you can incorporate into your social media strategy:

  • First and foremost, we recommend you choose the right platforms that align with your target audience and business objectives. 
  • Second, tailor your content promotion strategy to the characteristics and preferences of your audience on each platform. We recommend using a mix of text-based posts, images, videos, infographics, and interactive content such as pools, ask a question, etc. Feel free to experiment with different content types and aim to keep your audience engaged. 
  • Moreover, you should find the peak activity times of your audience and schedule your posts accordingly. Remember that consistency is key; be mindful to avoid overwhelming your audience with excessive content. 
  • Use hashtags and keywords with your social media posts to enhance discoverability. Use popular and industry-specific hashtags, and you can also incorporate branded hashtags. 
  • Include paid social advertising into your strategy to amplify the reach of your content. Paid ads and boosted posts will help you increase brand awareness, drive traffic and improve your online presence. 
  • Collaborate with influencers and industry experts to build trust among your customers. Identify which influencers share your business’s values and work ethic and collaborate with them to promote your content.   
  • Encourage social sharing and user-generated content to increase engagement, provide authentic social proof, expand your organic reach and increase followers. 
  • Engage with your community by replying to comments, messages and mentions. We recommend having a social media community manager responsible for keeping the community engaged and communicating promptly and thoughtfully. 
  • Remember to optimise your social media profiles by using relevant keywords in your descriptions, headlines and hashtags. Include links to your website and other digital profiles to drive traffic and improve online visibility. It is crucial to be consistent in branding across different social media platforms and your website. This will help enhance recognition and credibility. 
  • Listen to your audience and their insights as you can learn plenty about how your products or services serve your customers and their preferences, interests and behaviours. Monitor and analyse conversions, trends, mentions, and engagement related to your brand, industry and competitors. You will gain insights that can inform your SEO and social media strategies like content creation, targeting, messaging, voice and tone.

Our greater advice is to know your target audience and the stronger points of your products or services. When leveraging social media for SEO and digital marketing, it is essential to have a well-defined strategy, set measurable goals, and track KPIs that are relevant to your strategies and business objectives. We advise you to analyse data regularly and refine your approach based on your findings. This way, you ensure that your online efforts reach and engage your online community and customers. Integrating social media effectively into your overall marketing efforts can enhance brand visibility, drive targeted traffic, and improve your SEO rankings.

If you need help figuring out where to start with your SEO and digital marketing strategy and how to integrate social media for SEO purposes, we are here to help you. You can contact us today, and let’s work together to build a solid online presence and a trusted and authoritative brand. Here is our Clutch profile, and you can also check out the case study of our online marketing actions and results for a fashion eCommerce brand. Furthermore, if you want to learn more valuable information about the importance of online presence, you can check out our marketing blog section.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key roles of social media?

Social media enables communication, content sharing, brand building, customer engagement, marketing, collaboration and market research.

Does social media affect your SEO?

Social media does not directly impact SEO and search engine rankings. However, social signals can influence the rankings of a website.

What is more important SEO or social media?

SEO is more important than social media. It is more important for search engines such as Google and Bing to generate organic traffic to your website than social media platforms.

What is Social SEO?

Social SEO is optimising your social media profiles and posts (in captions, alt-text, subtitles, and closed captions) by including relevant keywords and information.