It’s no secret that social media has been a major player in the content marketing game for the last few years. Nowadays, social media and content marketing go hand-in-hand. Major platforms like Facebook and Twitter are absolutely vital for content promotion, lead nurturing, engaging with potential customers, you name it – but social media is also a vital tool for search engine optimization, and improving a brand’s search rankings. 

There’s more than just Facebook and Twitter 

Even though Facebook and Twitter are arguably the most popular of the social networks, diversification is a huge trend in this modern marketing landscape.  Depending on the audience you're targeting, being active on a single network is simply not enough. According to The Content Marketing Institute, the most successful B2B marketers are active on an average of 7 networks. Companies and content marketers need to start taking social media seriously, and become active in the various social networks related to the audience in their industry.

Major search engines (in this case, Bing and Google) are taking notice of all the user engagement and quality content that is shared through these social networks. In order to boost their rankings in the SERPs and improve their current content marketing strategy, brands must not only adopt multiple social media channels, but use them as a valuable content marketing and SEO tool.  Here are 5 quick rules for quality social media SEO: 

1. Publish High-Quality Content and Promote it

From a content marketing perspective, this is Rule #1 – “Content is king”, right? Producing great content is the first step toward effective social media SEO. Generate some great content ideas and start creating articles, videos, free guides, resource pages etc.  Promote it through various social media channels that relate to the audience you are trying to reach. 

Google has continued to push a quality-over-quantity approach to drive search traffic to a website that is known for creating awesome content. The more you share your content, the more Google will recognize your website as a valuable source of information.  If people continue to share or link to your content via social media, Google will crawl this information and improve that content's ranking in the SERPs.

2. Make Social Sharing Easy

Even if you are producing that sweet content, it won’t get very far if you make it difficult to share. Allowing people to easily share your content on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and other social networks connects your brand to the broadest audience possible, boosting search and social traffic, leads, and potentially, overall sales. 

Be sure to add social-sharing buttons at the bottom of each content piece you create, and include a call to action that will entice or provide an incentive for readers to share and help promote your content.   Call to actions are a great way to get readers to engage with your content and give your brand the opportunity to establish itself as a trusted leader in the industry.

3. Optimize for Mobile 

2014 is almost over, and if you haven’t started to optimize your content for mobile devices, you are being left behind. Every day, more people are accessing the web through smartphones and tablets, and websites that regularly publish content that functions well on mobile devices will be ranked higher - especially if the site has an established, dedicated mobile version.

Of course, this will vary depending on the type of content you are publishing.  Mobile is a huge part of SEO and content marketing, and Google understands that users do not want to read a 2,000 word article on their mobile device. However, a short video, audio, or image content piece can gather excellent results if it’s optimized for mobile.  Users tend to share content more frequently if it is easily formatted for their smart phone, tablet, or mobile device. 

4. Don’t forget about YouTube 

People tend to forget that YouTube is the World’s second largest search engine (#1 is Google). Now, I know what you are thinking – and yes - Google bought YouTube in 2006. But YouTube is still its own entity, with an entirely separate site and search algorithm.

There is an enormous amount of content that is indexed on the site. In fact, 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute on YouTube, with 6 billion hours of video viewed every month – it’s a content marketer’s dream! 

YouTube brings in over 1 billion unique monthly visitors – that’s a lot of traffic. 

If you are creating any type of video content, it’s absolutely crucial that you optimize and distribute it through YouTube. Ensure that you have the description optimized with targeted keyword phrases, and a link to a related content page to your site. YouTube’s format allows for users to easily share, comment, like or even embed your videos on their own site, helping promote your brand and boost that great content in the search rankings. 

5. Measure Social Media Performance 

The most important rule for good social media SEO is measuring performance. Measuring and analyzing your successes or failures is essential for any successful strategy. When you can accurately measure what’s working, you can fine tune your SEO or content marketing strategy and reach your set goals.

When measuring and reporting social SEO metrics, be sure to observe where that social traffic is coming from. This will give great insight on where the majority of your visitors are coming from, allowing you to focus on specific social channels that might provide a larger audience. 

What is your biggest rule for great social media SEO?

Brad Kuenn is a Content Writer, Editor and Strategist living in Nashville, Tennessee, and he provides research, content topics, writing, editing, and content development expertise to clients. He has a passion for writing as well as art, which shines through in his work. His creativity and attention to detail makes him a valuable asset for a wide range of clients. During his time off he enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and his two dogs Brutus and Kane. 
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