Effective SEO activity
This activity carries a fairly strong weighting in Search Engine Optimization. It may need to be carried out alongside other tasks in order to be fully effective. Read the text carefully for further details on how to do social media for SEO for maximum impact
Social media has no direct affect on your rankings. You can be mentioned, and linked to, a million times and search engines will just shrug their shoulders at it all!
Why? Because search engines still haven't figured out a reliable way to say "That mention and link is from a popular and reliable [insert social media platform of your choice here - like Facebook] profile while this mention and link is from a spammy fake profile." This, of course, may all change at some point but for the moment a raging social media presence won't be helping your website rankings ... so why do it?
Using social media effectively can bring you a serious amount of the right traffic. Target that traffic correctly and in among those visitors will be people who will create links to your site that will affect your rankings.
This type of activity is called indirect SEO. The activity itself has no ranking benefit but it causes reactions that should improve the authority of your page (i.e. links that count) and so increase your position in the search results.
I underlined two key words above - effective and right traffic. They have to go hand in hand. Pictures of cute cats commenting on the woes of the world can be very effective but it won't bring you the right traffic.
Before we get to the how to bit its worth thinking about whether or not this is a good use of your time and resource. Many people struggle to build social media profiles because they never thought it through to start with.
Yes, lots of SEOers jump around saying you need to be on Social Media and Tweeting and whatnot. They're also the same people who tend to think you will never rank unless you have a blog.
But a poor social media profile can do you more harm than good. A low amount of followers and once-ina-blue-moon posts about nothing particularly interesting can undermine the confidence of the very people you are trying to impress.
Only do off-Page SEO activities that you have the time, resource or budget to do properly.
I have many a client with no social media presence because it doesn't suit their business model or because they focus their resources on other direct and indirect SEO activities.
In short, think carefully about this before you jump in and when you do, choose which platforms are best for you. Those in the creative fields, for example, do much better on Instagram than Twitter.
There are no easy street options here. If you want to get 1,000 Facebook fans or Instagram followers or people in your G+ circles of course there are spammy offers out there to make that happen but those spammy profiles can disappear over night and they are not people who are actually going to actively engage in your posts.
Posting on social media will need to become part of your routine and to start with you may have to accept you are posting to no one (except the family and friends you persuaded to sign up!). But no one likes an empty profile so the more captivating posts you have, the more confidence people will feel in adding you to their like/follow lists.
Most social platforms include an option to pay for your posts to go further or to be advertised. These can be very effective in the early days of your profile in reaching out to people you don't know, but types of people you can define (age groups, geographical locations, areas of interest, marital status, etc.).
Social media profiles build up gradually unless you are lucky enough to have something go viral so see it has long term work that needs stamina but which will ultimately give you a very valuable resource that you can tap into.
I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimisation and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.
If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.