Why Social Media is Good for SEO
When building a website, you want to do everything you can to help it show up in search results. That's where SEO comes in. There are many ways to help your website SEO, such as by optimizing for faster load times or by adding more helpful content to the pages. Another way to help improve your website's visibility online is actually not on the website at all. Here, we'll break down backlinks and "linkless mentions" and explain how you can rely on social media to boost your hotel's brand awareness and website search ranking.
How Does SEO Work?
Google presents results to search queries in the order they think is best. When you search for something, Google provides what it thinks is the most relevant result first. The algorithm Google uses to determine who ranks on top is both very complicated and extremely secretive. As the way that people use search changes, so does Google's algorithm to give searchers the best results.
Top SEO Ranking Factors
While it's hard to say how much weight different factors have, there are a some that are universally accepted as having an impact on your ranking. Here are five of the top SEO ranking factors in 2018:
- Keywords: The phrases on your website match the phrases that people are searching for
- Meta descriptions: An excerpt that explains what a particular webpage is about
- Page speed: How quickly your website loads on every device
- Credibility: The content is trustworthy and answers the questions that searchers are looking for
- Mentions: How much other people on the internet are discussing and linking to your website
The last two factors, credibility and mentions, are where social media can have a real impact. Google wants to be sure that the results they're serving to searchers are legitimate, so the more than your website and brand are talked about online, the more Google feels they can trust you. Word of mouth online generally takes the form of either "backlinks" or "linkless mentions."
How Backlinks Build Trust
Backlinks are simply when another reputable website links to your website. Backlinks can take the form of your the link on your Google Business and Yelp listings or from someone writing a blog and linking to your website. If a website has a lot of traffic or has been around a long time, it is well-trusted; a link from a well-trusted website to you indicates that they are endorsing you, and you are also trustworthy.
Some ways that you receive backlinks from social media include:
- Linking to your website from your social media profiles
- Linking to your website in social media posts
- When a social media user shares your hotel website in a post or comment
- When a social media user shares a post you created with a link to your website
Increase Linkless Mentions with Social Media
Before, a link was the only way for Google to recognize that text on a website was referring to another website. However, Google now also has the capability to recognize "implied links," also known as linkless mentions. This means when someone talks about your brand online by typing your business name, Google recognizes that and attributes it to your website. All mentions of your business online, not just links, build credibility for your website.
You can increase the number of linkless mentions to your website by:
- Building brand awareness with consistent social media posting
- Asking for more online reviews and respond to both negative and positive feedback online
- Encouraging guests to share photos and comments about their stay on social media
- Engaging with social user-generated content, like Instagram and Facebook posts
To take a deeper dive into how SEO and social media are intertwined, you can download our free white paper: Social is the New SEO. In this guide, we explain how social media influences traveler search behavior and provide actionable steps to claim and optimize your social media profiles.