Beyond Likes and Shares: Social Media's Evolution into a Search Engine Powerhouse

Safalta expert Published by: Sonia Agrawal Updated Mon, 08 Jan 2024 05:08 PM IST


According to new research, consumers, especially 16- to 34-year-olds, are more likely to turn to sites like Instagram or Facebook — instead of Google or Bing — to search for information about brands and products.

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For years, SEO (search engine optimization) has been synonymous with “Google.” But for brands that want to appeal to today’s younger consumers, social media SEO is the new frontier. According to new research, consumers, especially 16- to 34-year-olds, are more likely to turn to sites like Instagram or Facebook — instead of Google or Bing — to search for information about brands and products. And instead of clicking on keyword-rich landing pages, they’re more likely to prefer short-form videos, like those popularized by the social media platform TikTok.This shift in search preferences is in part generational. Younger people use social media more than previous generations do. Almost 85% of people aged 18 to 29 and 81% of those 30 to 49 are active on at least one social media site — compared to 73% of those 50 to 64 and 45% of those 65 and older.

Table of contents

  1. what is social media?
  2. Social Media as Search Engines: What Does It Mean for Your Business Growth?
  3. Why Optimize For Social Media as a Search Engine?
  4. What are the main advantages of social media as a search engine?
  5. How To Create Your Social Media Keyword Strategy?
  6. In social media Seo is important or not? How Social Media Impacts SEO?
  7. 10 Social Media SEO Strategies

Social Media

Social media is a tool that allows users to build networks and groups of contacts to manage relationships and friendships. Individual users create a profile and post about anything they want to share with their group.

Source: safalta

They consider how to present themselves online to create a personal brand.
Nowadays Social media platforms are used as search engines to discover products, services, and information. It is a platform where we connect with friends and family. Social media refers to digital platforms that allow user interaction and sharing of user-generated content through an online app for networking purposes eg- Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and youtube.

The main advantages of social media as a search engine

Connectivity is among the most significant benefits of social media. It can link countless users at any time, everywhere. Information could be spread globally through social media and its connectedness, making it simple for people to interact with one another.

The use of social media in education is commendable. Learners and educators can enroll in global collaborative platforms to facilitate constructive learning. It also aids in skill improvement by fostering knowledge and creativity. 

Information and Updates
Stay informed about events happening across the globe or in other people's lives using social media. In contrast to television, radio, or newspapers, social media lets everyone convey information accurately by presenting the real picture.

People have become more conscious thanks to social media. It serves as a channel for information, thus paving the way to innovation and success via developing their knowledge and abilities.

Brand Reputation
Social media improves company relationships by fostering goodwill among users; its promotion increases sales, which in turn increases profitability. The comments and feedback left by customers are a fantastic resource for businesses. 

Brand Awareness
Networking platforms contribute to greater brand recognition. Visually appealing products and information capture users' attention, which increases brand visibility and raises customer knowledge about certain goods and services.

Customer Interaction
Social media enhances customer engagement by providing goods and services and soliciting comments on them. Users from across communities leave various feedback and suggestions, which can assist in improving areas of focus and satisfy them.

Social media SEO

Social SEO involves optimizing your social channels and content to expand your reach in search results. It helps enhance the visibility of your content among the people searching for businesses similar to yours. For example, social SEO can help you rank higher in YouTube search results.
SEO and social media management strategies can complement each other because they are both channels for discovery. People are seeking the help of both search engines and social media platforms to uncover information. The lines between search engines and social media are blurring. For example, people use TikTok and Pinterest to discover new recipes, life hacks, and more. And YouTube isn’t just a video platform anymore—it’s one of the most popular search engines in the world.


SEO needed for social media

SEO and social media have a complementary relationship. Companies can use SEO for social and it’s an important component of developing a mature marketing strategy.
Is there a link between search engine optimization (SEO) and social media?
Depends on who you ask. Regardless, businesses today are eager to stand out in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and social space alike. And just like you can’t ignore social media these days, the same rings true for SEO. That’s because both channels are critical when it comes to product discovery, research, and helping people make purchase decisions. Rather than treating these marketing channels as a matter of either-or, it makes sense to find common threads between them. SEO can be an important pillar within your social media marketing strategy.


The connection between SEO and social media

The connection between SEO and social media—particularly if social links and shares have a significant impact on traditional search rankings—has been debated for over a decade now. Some argue that misinformation on social media has led people astray when it comes to SEO strategy. Some SEO experts will tell you outright that Google doesn’t take social media performance into account when it comes to rankings. However, other SEO aficionados speak to the importance of using social media for business.


Optimize your social profiles for SEO

  • Fill out your social profiles with as many details as possible
  • Integrate keywords into your profile(s) and posts
  • Point links back to your site
  • Share on-site content and encourage others to do the same
  • Publish content that’s worthy of backlinks

Create a social SEO strategy

A strong social SEO strategy begins with the same solid foundation as a traditional SEO strategy. You need to invest time in keyword research to understand the exact words and phrases consumers are using to discover products like yours. SEO tools like Semrush and Moz Pro can help with this. You can also glean a ton of SEO insights from your user-generated content. 
Like traditional SEO, you also want to embrace tools that help you measure your impact. By tracking comments, likes, and shares, you can find out what content resonates with your ideal customers — and double down on those types of posts. Some of the more popular social media management platforms include Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social.

Social SEO tips for each major platform

Social media platforms are the new search engines and while there’ll be similar SEO tactics across all of them, there are several nuances specific to each one. These are the social SEO tips you’ll need for the top social media platforms.

Instagram SEO is its own ball game. Use keywords in your company’s profile name and description. This helps new-to-you users understand who you are and what you do — while increasing your chances of being discovered for relevant queries.

When you first set up your business page, Facebook assigns a generic URL that typically consists of an unrelated string of numbers and letters. You can optimize your social SEO by creating a vanity URL that includes your company name and ideally a target keyword.
TikTok’s search bar and trending topics can provide a wealth of SEO inspiration for future posts and content. Once you know what your consumers are looking for, create videos that appeal to these searches and make sure the relevant keywords are prominent in your captions, titles, and voiceovers. Having the most important keywords appear in a text layover also helps boost your discoverability.

YouTube isn’t always considered a social media platform but it’s the 2nd biggest search engine in the world, behind Google, so requires a strong SEO strategy. Just like TikTok, the YouTube search bar is a fantastic source of SEO content ideas. Because the recency of videos can play a factor in where they appear in YouTube search rankings, consider targeting keywords that don’t bring up a lot of new results.

Setting your brand up as a verified merchant on Pinterest will boost credibility with consumers while giving you access to analytics that help you create more impactful content.

In addition to optimizing your company page’s headline and about section, LinkedIn lets you customize your company page’s URL (just like Facebook), giving you additional opportunities to rank for relevant search terms.

Whether you call it X or Twitter, make sure your bio, alt tags, and hashtags feature the keywords your customers are searching for. To further boost your Twitter SEO, take advantage of Twitter’s default sorting algorithm, which makes it easier for users to find posts and profiles that align with their interests. 

Heads up!
When it comes to using keywords, you don’t want to overdo it. Consumers can smell a keyword-stuffed post from a mile away. Instead, use search terms carefully. If it sounds natural when you read it aloud, chances are the post is good to share. 

10 Social Media SEO Strategies

1. Social Sharing Buttons on Your Website

It may seem simple, but search engines like Google are starting to use social media sharing data to influence search rankings.

2. Integrated Keyword Strategy

As mentioned earlier, the line between search engines and social media platforms is blurring. Take the keyword strategy you use for your website and apply it to your social media engagement when appropriate.

3. Include Links in Social Profiles

The links in social media messages, such as tweets and Facebook status updates, are traditionally no-follow links. This means they don't pass any SEO authority to the site they're linking to.

4. Incorporate Links Into Video and Presentation Content

Some of the most powerful social media platforms are those that facilitate content sharing, such as YouTube, LinkedIn, and SlideShare.

5. Optimize Social Profiles

Think of social media profile pages as extensions of your website. Just as you would optimize website pages for page titles and keywords, audit your social media profiles to ensure they mirror your website's search engine optimization strategy.

7. Establish Relationships

Similar to sales, relationships are huge for driving inbound links and social media attention. Building relationships using social media can open opportunities for guest blog posts and other link-building opportunities.

8. Boost Your Content Creators’ Profiles

Search engines pay close attention to the creators of the content on a web page. In addition to the web, search engine crawlers pull information from social media platforms to better inform the credibility of the author.

10. Extend Content Lifespan and Engagement

Social media sharing allows your content to have a longer lifespan. A few strategies to grow engagement are to use specific hashtags, tag influencers, and host giveaways to reward engagement.

The use of keywords and SEO is essential for improving a website's search engine ranking and reaching a wider audience. By understanding how keywords and SEO work, businesses and websites can increase their visibility and achieve their online goals.

What Is Social Media?

Social media is digital technology that allows the sharing of ideas and information, including text and visuals, through virtual networks and communities.

Why Optimize For Social Media as a Search Engine?

Most of the people are using social media as a search engine. In fact,
60% of the world’s population uses social media for an average of 2 hours daily.
YouTube is the second most popular search engine next to Google.
45% of Gen-Z prefers searching on Instagram over Google.
Facebook averages over 2.5 billion searches a day.
86% of Instagram users say it helps them discover new products and services.
Social search can increase your social media reach and website traffic because these platforms keep users on the platform longer.
Creating Your Social Media Keyword Strategy
Maximize Your Content. Use the keywords you’ve found for your site. You can refine these keywords by using things like autosuggest on each platform.
Validate Search Volume. Use SEO tools that provide data on daily social mentions and keywords on video and video carousel result types. Another way to validate search volume on social is the volume of use of a hashtag on Instagram.
Be Mindful Of Relevance & Intent. Before finalizing your social media keyword strategy, ensure it is relevant to your content and target audience. Make sure the search intent is in line with the type of content you’re creating.

In social media Seo is important or not? How Social Media Impacts SEO?

Although search engines do not officially use social signals as a ranking factor, there are still benefits to linking these two strategies. This is because the search engines notice when you attract a lot of traffic to your site and deem your brand as credible, relevant, and high-quality. With these criteria can come a higher search result. Therefore, if you post interesting, click-worthy content on social media, you just might see a boost in traffic. Furthermore, if people see your posts and share your website's link, that could also boost your page authority and rankings.

Social Media as Search Engines: What Does It Mean for Your Business Growth?

Younger consumers are using social media platforms as search engines to discover products, services, and information. Younger generations aren’t always turning to Google to find their answers.

With short, user-generated videos on hyper-specific topics, social media platforms have become a go-to search engine for information seeking. 
For example:
If you want your brand to succeed in 2023,2024, it’s time to step up your business in social media strategy.
As people increasingly turn to the search bar on social media platforms, optimizing your content for platform search algorithms is more important than ever.

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