Social media is a noisy place, competition is fierce and getting your brand to cut through that noise can be a challenge. One sure-fire way to improve the discoverability of your page is by borrowing a few tactics from SEO and applying these to your social media strategy.
Most marketers are familiar with SEO, but we’ll bring you up to speed just in case. Put simply, SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of tailoring your online content to increase your visibility to relevant search audiences. Essentially, if you are making the effort to put content online, you may as well use SEO to make sure it’s seen!
“What place does SEO have in social media? Social platforms are search engines too! And are increasingly becoming a port-of-call that people turn to gather information.”
A carefully optimised social profile allows you to be picked out of a crowd, and will ultimately draw more quality traffic to your social channels.
On top of being search engines in their own right, parts of your social profile and content are indexed by Google. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see social accounts amongst the highest ranking in the SERPS. So, let’s treat our social media as we would our websites, and consider keywords in the copy.
Bear in mind the fact that not everything on your profile can be crawled, so there’s no need to plant keywords everywhere. Here we’re going to share which elements of your profile can be optimised for SEO, so you can improve your SERP rankings.
It’s worth noting that for Instagram business accounts, two-thirds of traffic come from people who don’t follow the account, making it even more important that your profile is optimised for visibility.
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone reading this that Instagram is an image-focused platform, making it a little tricker to optimise than it’s more wordy counterparts. But the main hurdle with optimising Instagram for SEO is that even amongst the text heavy sections, most are not searchable within the platform. This includes the obvious spots like the bio, the caption (bar hashtags), or any of the comments on the page, so you have to be selective to use SEO effectively on this platform.
Note, this is the name, not to be confused with the username. You only have 30 characters to play here, so use them wisely! Sneak in a keyword or two you can do so without it sounding clunky. As an example, @mattprehabpro does this well, increasing his reach by covering both his profession and specialty.
ALT text is a description of an image which opens the accessibility of Instagram to those who are visually impaired. By adding a description of your photo into the ALT text section, any time a user searches for that description, your image will rank.
This is a great way to make your content accessible too, so we suggest everyone employs this feature when posting on Instagram. It’s really important that you just include an accurate and helpful description here, rather than cram with keywords, to improve and not hinder the experience for those who need it for functionality. See the example below for a city sunset snap.
An obvious one, but it’s worth making sure you have user intent in mind when choosing hashtags. There are many tools available which identify the hashtags used by your audience, such as Audience, Pulsar and Fanpage Karma.
If you don’t have these tools available, try to keep in mind what a user is likely to search. For example, say you are a skincare brand providing a remedy for common skin conditions such as acne, rather than hashtagging the user pain point itself, like #acne, try #acnesolutions or #acneskincare. As a general rule, users are more likely to search for solutions to pain points rather than the pain points themselves.
Even when you’re searching directly for a brand on Instagram, it’s common that several accounts will be offered in the drop down. And it’s not always obvious which account is the real deal. So, you need to flag to customers that you’re the account they’re looking for.
Many handles are saturated, so often you won’t get the exact one you want. But it kind of goes without saying that you want your brand name featured here.
As the number one professional networking platform, it comes as no surprise that LinkedIn is fruitful when it comes to lead generation. By strategically planting keywords and search terms in your profile, your account can be pushed up the ranks to the top of the SERPS.
And the best part is, a lot of your profile can be optimised for SEO. Now let’s get started on that low hanging fruit so those leads can find you!
Naturally, your content will likely be covering your area of expertise. But do scatter a few high traffic keywords or topics people are likely to search throughout. On LinkedIn, both the hashtags and content are searchable. In the example below, searching for one keyword picked up both hashtags and post copy.
Make sure you’re spotted in a search by including your service areas and expertise within your headline. A tidy way to do this is shown below by Yuri.
This should be keyword rich, but as with all SEO, only where it is natural and relevant to do so. For example, if you are a Computer Vision Engineer, try to include variations of your industry throughout your text. For example, computer vision engineering, researcher, computer science, software engineering, machine learning or electronic engineering.
Be selective with these, and be sure to only include them where fluent.
This same technique should follow through to the Experience section, but with more of a focus on keyword skills.
As the world’s largest platform, easily doubling Instagram’s user base, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to rank in this search engine. Here’s where you should concentrate your SEO efforts:
Easily the most crucial for SEO. Try not to be too generic with your keyword, as you’ll get lost amongst similar accounts. We’d recommend a long tail keyword, as Michael Hodgson has done here.
Michael Hodgson could improve the discoverability of their profile to the relevant audience by including niche keywords specifying intent, such as location. And bingo, for anyone searching for ‘Estate Agents’ and ‘Sunderland’, Michael Hogson is your pick, and they’ll still rank for anyone searching for just ‘Estate Agents’.
Michael Hogson | Estate Agents & Chartered Surveyors | Sunderland.
NB. Place most emphasis on the first word as this is the one that Google pays most attention to.
Don’t cram though as this can seem spammy! If you can, sprinkle keywords into the posts which you feel are priority. But if it sounds forced, use a hashtag to increase reach instead.
Now there’s a surprise. This one can be tricky, but if a keyword can fall here naturally, use it!
This includes the about section, description and additional information, notes, updates.
Make sure at least one of these has your brand name in it. Lucy is doing it right, she’s used her name for her username, and her profession as her name, so she’ll rank for both.
If you do a quick google, you’ll see that your bio is actually your meta description. So it’s worth slipping in a keyword to be indexed by google, but don’t compromise brand personality.
See how by using both plant based and vegan in your name and bio, as done by @Veganberg, you increase your ranking? This has placed them on the first page of Google, and they’re ranking higher than giants like Impossible Burger, Quorn, or Moving Mountains, despite having less than 2000 followers. That’s pretty impressive.
You could even consider mentioning your brand in your bio to improve your ranking for your name. But again, only if it sounds authentic. Wickes mentions their brand in 3rd person below, and Fenty shows how you can mention your brand in passing.
And that’s all folks!
We hope we’ve hammered home the benefits of utilising your social media content for SEO purposes.