How to Use Social Signals to Get More Free Traffic (11 Simple Tactics)
Social signals are one of the ranking factors that contribute to your websites spot on the Google search results.
But how much do social signals affect your rank?
And are they worth focusing on?
How do you use social media channels to improve your organic search traffic?
In this article, we'll answer all of that in more.
But first, let's get everyone up to speed on just what social signals are.
What are Social Signals in SEO?
In a nutshell, social signals are the mentions, shares, likes, and other metrics across social media that link to your website.
If you put out a blog post that gets spread like wildfire across LinkedIn, Google will notice that tons of people find your post valuable.
Google's algorithm considers these social signals when determining which results to display in the search results.
Each positive social signal serves as a small vote of confidence that your article is worth showing to users across the web.
It works much in the same way that each backlink from a high-authority website directly contributes to your rank.
How much each of those social signals are worth? Well, let's explore that now.
How do Social Signals Affect Search Engine Optimization?
Here's what we know:
Social signals affect SEO.
Here's what we don't know:
How significantly those social signals affect SEO.
Unlike backlinks or high-quality content, Google hasn't confirmed just how important social signals are for SEO.
But that doesn't mean that social media platforms shouldn't be considered in your SEO strategy.
Actually, the opposite is true.
So, How Essential are Social Signals and Backlinks for SEO?
The short and sweet of it is that both backlinks and social signals are a critical part of any well-rounded SEO strategy.
And that's not just because of the direct effect on your sites Google ranking.
While they're both ranking factors, that contribution isn't the only one.
Backlinks and social signals help to spread awareness of your content. That increased awareness leads to more brand awareness and referral visits.
And those visits, in turn, are ranking factors that increase your website traffic too.
Which is to say, a social media presence can do tremendous good for your SEO efforts, but you'll need to use a solid plan to get there.
👉 Suggested Reading: Want to learn how to increase free organic traffic for Shopify stores? Check out our Shopify SEO Checklist here.
Social Signals: How to Use Social Media to Hypercharge Your Rank on Search Engines
Ok, so you know that social signals are important. Now, let's look at 11 ways you can start generating them and get more free traffic to your website.
#1: Focus on Posting High-Value & Relevant Content
The first step towards any SEO tactic is the quality and relevance of the content you put out. Without high-quality content, even the best strategy won't increase your traffic.
You'll also need to make sure the content you're posting is useful for your audience.
Sure, you can post a well-written article on baking cookies, but it's only helpful if that's what your audience is interested in.
Here's a great example of a post that combine the two:
Here Adidas is posting a video on one of their new shoes from a partnership with Allbirds.
Anyone who follows Adidas on social media will find this type of content ultra-relevant, and it does a great job of advertising the product too.
In your own social media channels, post actionable, informative, and relevant content first and foremost before you implement the other tactics on this post.
#2: Occasionally create "Share-Bait" Content to Rapidly Increase Brand Awareness & Social Signals
"Share-bait" content are posts made specifically to be super shareable for your audience.
There are plenty of ways you can create share-bait content, so let's look at a few examples:
a) Nike: Infographics
Infographics are prime examples of content that's specifically designed to spread awareness.
Instead of relying on the algorithm, they're specifically designed to be shared across social media and other sites.
Here's a great example of an infographic by Nike that got traction:
To get the most out of your infographic, make sure they're embedded on your site with simple share buttons for the most common social media platforms.
The best brand infographics hit a few checkboxes:
- They're eye-catching: Whether that's due to the interesting graphics, color scheme, or both.
- They're value-filled: Without providing some sort of value, people won't have much reason to share it.
- They fit your audience: If you're a lighthearted brand, an infographic full of heavy industry statistics might not be the most shareable among your ideal customers and vice versa.
b) Innocent Drinks: Emotion-Based Posts
While the majority of your content should be high-quality, an occasional tangent post made to spread brand awareness is fine too.
That's exactly the tactic Innocent Drinks uses to rake in the shares. In a break from the usual posts, they shared this picture:
It's hard not to share a picture as cute as this, which is why it's a great way to use emotion-based posts for higher visibility.
Think about similar ways you can get creative with posts that use humor or emotional value to increase their shareability.
#3: Post on a Regular Schedule
Whether it's on your blog, your social media, or another content channel, Google loves to see consistency in your posting schedule.
A week missed occasionally might not cause significant harm to your strategy, but it's best to keep posts from becoming a rare occurrence.
Schedule a specific day (or days) each week that your posts go live and stick to it for the best results.
#4: Repurpose Blog & Video Content Across Social Media Channels
One great way to get more bank from your buck on social media is by repurposing content from other channels.
But what does that mean exactly?
Let's look at an example from Ahrefs.
Here's a recent piece they did on video marketing:
It's a great content piece that's high-quality and super actionable, but it doesn't stop there.
Instead of using the information in this post just once, they've repurposed it across various posts and channels, like on this YouTube video, for example:
After all, if the information is helpful, then it shouldn't just be tossed after the first post. Ahrefs uses this strategy to get 2 or more content pieces from each blog post.
We've put this strategy to good use for the ReConvert blog as well. Blog posts, videos, and other content makes for great snippets to share across platforms like Reddit. Here's how we reused some of the info from our blog post on upselling tactics to kill two birds with one stone.
For just a tiny bit of extra effort we were able to reach a whopping 150 upvotes. (and many more views in total)
You can achieve similar results by using snippets of each content piece across all of your content channels. Here are a few ideas:
- Take a short snippet from a blog post to share on Twitter or Reddit
- Repurpose a video script to be used as the basis for a blog post
- Post a short blog excerpt that links to your site on LinkedIn
- Take a long-form blog post that covers a wide topic and break it into smaller pieces for "branch" posts
#5: Cross-Promote Your Marketing Channels
In a similar vein to the last tip, each of your marketing channels also provides an excellent opportunity to cross-promote.
Take email marketing for example, if your list is too small, it might be the perfect time to create a free lead magnet on your blog in exchange for email signups.
Or, you could use your email newsletter to promote your brand's social media channels.
👉 Bonus Tip: Email marketing should generate about 30% of your business's revenue, on average. If your email marketing brings in less than that, it might be time to revamp your strategy.
#6: Interact with Your Audience & Encourage Community Engagement
The best brands on social media don't sit back and watch from the sidelines, they actively participate on various platforms.
Directly interacting with your audience is one of the best ways to form widespread connections across your brand- And it's great for showing that you pay attention to customers as well.
Wendy's uses their Twitter to help distraught customers and make amends if they're unhappy with an experience.
If you check out their page, you'll find plenty of responses every day to customers just like this:
But that's not all they use Twitter for. They're also just as likely to directly take part in conversations and threads, usually with a comedic tone.
Both of these are great tactics for forming positive attention around a brand, which their social media team knows very well.
Here are a few ways you can emulate that for your own business:
- Respond to comments on your posts daily
- Search for brand mentions on popular platforms to find opportunities to respond
- Keep a human tone in your interactions, customers connect best with humans, not robots
#7: Use Sharing Buttons to Increase Social Signals
Adding social media sharing widgets to your site is a low effort way to increase brand awareness.
One easy way to do that is to make all of your blog pages shareable with one-click buttons.
Or, you could add social sharing buttons to your product pages and reviews. Here's how Alo Yoga creates a triple threat by making it easy to share their product reviews right from the site:
Lastly, you could even use an app like ReConvert to add easy sharing options to your thank you pages.
That way customers who've just purchased products can flaunt them for all of their following to see.
#8: Pinpoint Where Your Customers Spend Time Online
The best way to market to your audience on social media is to figure out which platforms they're commonly using.
To find this out, it might be helpful to use an app like ReConvert to integrate surveys into your sales flow.
Using post-purchase surveys, you can ask customers where they heard about your brand or which platforms they use the most frequently.
Then, you can use that information to find the best social media platforms to focus your efforts on.
But now that you know where to post, it's time to talk about when to post; which leads us to our next point.
#9: Post Content During High-Traffic Timeslots
For the highest number of shares, likes, and comments on social media- You'll want to post during the timeslots where users are most active on the platform.
How are you supposed to know when users are most active?
Luckily, Hootsuite has a guide that tells us exactly when those times are:
Try to time your posts to align with these times on their respective platforms for the best results.
Wrapping Up: How Increasing Social Signals can Transform Your Online Presence
Marketing your business on search engines and social media channels aren't two separate beasts, they're connected ranking factors. To get the best results on both, your marketing plan should aim to link your efforts wherever possible to get the most bang for your buck.
To sum up what we've talked about today, here's what you should do to increase social signals and free organic traffic for your brand.
- Regularly post on social media channels that your audience frequently uses.
- Interact with your community and regularly engage on the platform.
- Cross-promote and repurpose content to multiply your output.
- Give customers an incentive to share your products across social media
- And the golden rule: The only content worthy of search engines and social media is relevant & high-quality content, so make sure yours meets that bar.
Hopefully, you found this guide helpful. If you did, make sure to share and comment below to let us know. We'd love to hear from you!