In the past, search engine optimization was a pretty straightforward practice. Ranking a piece of content typically came down to stuffing it with keywords and text that would please search engines. In recent years, however, search engines have become much smarter. Now search engines give priority to websites with higher quality content.

Social media now has a direct impact on your SEO. More and more, search engines are incorporating social context into their search rankings. As well as a wide number of on-site ranking signals, robots are looking to social media for new signals like links, brand mentions, and sharing.

Linked Content. Social media gives businesses the opportunity to build inbound links to their website. The more links a piece of content has, the more credible it will appear to Google.

Social media activity can significantly increase awareness of a brand. This increased familiarity can lead to links. Publishing your content to the entirety of the Internet introduces the possibility for it to be linked to users’ own websites or blogs. These links contribute to the overall link profile, thus increasing the SEO impact.

Search Volume. Social media is a great tool to increase awareness of your brand. Getting your name out there can lead to more people searching for your brand in search engines. Google will see increases in searches for your brand, perceive your brand as more credible and popular, and rank your brand higher in search rankings.

Local SEO. Local SEO can give small and medium sized businesses a huge boost in rankings. Location-based networks such as Foursquare, Google+, and Yelp play a huge role in helping businesses boost their local SEO and become visible to customers in their area. Local SEO is now greatly influenced by the citations your business receives and by the number and tone of reviews it gets from local customers. Having a presence on networks like Yelp and Google+ will give you credibility in the eyes of both consumers search engines.

Engagement. Consumers’ engaging with social media posts let search engines know what information is relevant. Likes, shares, and retweets signal new and interesting content. And in theory, the more a post is engaged with, the more relevant it is considered. Bots look at content that is being shared, the frequency of shares and the authority of those doing the engaging. Engagement can also lead to increased traffic to your website which is a key factor in search engine rankings.

In summary, quality content needs to come first. Consumers will only engage with content that is relevant and valuable to them. If you’re creating fresh and interesting content that appeals to your consumers, the benefits of SEO will follow.

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