Neil Patel

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Social SEO: Optimizing Your Social Media For Search

A graphic saying "Social SEO: Optimizing Your Social Media For Search

Have you ever wondered why your social media posts don’t get as much engagement as you’d like? 

If so, applying SEO principles to your Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram accounts can mean more eyes on your images and videos! 

Social media SEO is a hot topic in the world of digital marketing at the moment. One in three people use social media platforms to find answers to their questions. If you optimize your posts like you optimize your website, you can reap the benefits. 

Want to see how you can use social media and SEO together to get your posts seen?  

In this article, I’ll show you what social SEO is, how SEO and social media work together, and how to use social SEO on different social media platforms. 

Key Takeaways

  • Social SEO is the process of optimizing your social media posts and accounts to improve their visibility. 
  • One in three people use social media to answer their questions, over search engines like Google and Bing. 
  • Examples of social media SEO strategies include using relevant keywords in your post and hashtags, engaging with customers, and providing content that provides value.  

What Is Social SEO? 

Social SEO is when you optimize your social media posts to increase the chances of users seeing them in the social media search results. 

You can optimize for social media SEO by using specific keywords and making the most of the functionality on your platform of choice — for example, using location tagging if it’s available. 

Like search engines, social media platforms have their own algorithms for determining which content to show in news feeds and search results. For example, TikTok’s algorithm considers not just hashtags and captions, but the device searchers use and the language they speak. 

Why Social SEO Is So Important

More and more people are using social media to find answers to their questions. 

This is especially true with younger people. According to a recent study by Adobe, over 2 in 5 Americans use TikTok as a search engine, with 1 in 10 Gen Zers more likely to use TikTok than Google for searches. 

The big question is, why are so many people using social media platforms as search engines?  

As a starting point, we spend a lot of time on social media. The average person spends two hours and 23 minutes on social media daily. Why waste time going to Google when we can search the platforms we’re already on? 

By optimizing for social SEO, you can see a lot of benefits for your business, including: 

  • Increased visibility in the social search results, meaning improved brand awareness. 
  • Increased engagement on your posts, which can help establish your business as a thought leader in your industry and build a community around your brand. 
  • More traffic and increased conversions on your website. 
  • A boost to your traditional SEO in the search engines. Search engines like Google index content from social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) and YouTube, increasing your visibility even further.  
X (formerly Twitter) results in Google Search 

Social SEO for Key Platforms

Social SEO is a fantastic way to get more engagement and raise brand awareness. However, you need to consider different strategies for the various social platforms you’re using. 

YouTube SEO Tips

Did you know YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world? People use it more than Bing, Yahoo, AOL, and Ask.com combined.  

This means it pays to rank at the top of the YouTube search results. You’ll also have the bonus of your videos appearing in the regular search engines results too. 

A quick win for YouTube SEO is to add a transcript. 

Example of a transcript in a YouTube video 

Transcripts are crawlable, meaning you can increase the chance of ranking in YouTube for specific keywords. You also make your videos more accessible, providing a better user experience for everyone. 

TikTok SEO Tips

While YouTube is the second most popular search engine behind Google, TikTok is quickly gaining ground.  

By making tweaks to your content, you can reap the benefits of enhanced SEO, including a spot on TikTok’s coveted For You Page

The TikTok for you page.

Let’s look at a practical example of how to use social SEO in TikTok.  

Imagine you want to find the best places to eat in Las Vegas, so you go to TikTok and search. Here are some examples of results you might see. 

TikTok search results for the query "Best places to eat in Las Vegas" 

Let’s check out the first result on the list and see why it’s at the top. 

Screencap of a video showing the best places to eat in Las Vegas 
  • It’s recent. The video is just under a month old — old enough to get traction but young enough to be fresh and up to date. 
  • It’s got good engagement. The video has over 8,000 likes and has been favorited over 3,600 times. 
  • It uses the right keywords. I searched for “Best places to eat in Las Vegas,” and this video has the tagline “Top 5 restaurants you must try in Las Vegas during 2024.” It also uses hashtags to amplify reach even further. 
  • It’s well put together. The videography is smooth and professional, showing off the food you can eat in mouthwatering detail. 
  • It’s created by someone reputable. Marco Murillo has over 46k followers. Most importantly, he lives in Las Vegas, so you know he’s an expert on the best places to eat. 

Here’s a bonus tip — did you know you get an extra SEO boost when you speak your keywords in your video? The TikTok algorithm is smart enough to understand when you’ve used your keywords not just in your caption and hashtags but also in your audio. 

Facebook SEO Tips

The key to Facebook SEO is to optimize your company page for the right keywords and make it as detailed as possible. This makes your page easier to find in the search results and makes you appear more credible. 

Like traditional SEO, solid keyword research is essential to the social media SEO process, no matter which platform you use. However, it’s important to bear in mind that search queries on social media may be more informational rather than transactional.  

When you understand what keywords your customers use on social media, you can use them in your posts, as well as your social media profile. 

Here are some additional ways you can use social SEO on Facebook:  

  • Add accurate contact info. This increases the chances of your page appearing for local searches. 
  • Post regularly. This shows your page is active and increases engagement. 
  • Post diverse content. Use text, images, videos, live streams, and Reels to keep people interested. 
  • Encourage positive reviews. Facebook is the only social media platform on this list that allows customers to submit company reviews, and these reviews appear in the search results.  

Take a look at the example below. A lot of these optimizations improve how your business appears in search results, which can encourage potential customers to check you out.  

Example of plumbers in Texas, with reviews visible 

X (Twitter) SEO Tips

X (formerly Twitter) is predominantly a text-based platform. This means one of the best things you can do to rank in the X search results is to do thorough keyword research. 

When you know which keywords to target, you can use them in your posts, hashtags, and even alt text. If you’re a Premium user, you get a 4,000-word character limit, so use this to your advantage. 

The X search algorithm also places a lot of focus on engagement. This means by consistently posting high-quality content users interact with, you’re more likely to stand out.  

LinkedIn SEO Tips

While most platforms in this article are B2C, LinkedIn is the only social media platform focusing on B2B relationships. This means if you sell to other businesses, it’s the right spot to showcase your company’s unique selling point and why you’re a reliable choice. 

In fact, 80 percent of LinkedIn members drive purchasing decisions for their businesses. 

A fantastic way to drive SEO through LinkedIn is by optimizing not just your company pages but also your personal profile — people buy from people after all! 

Neil Patel's Linkedin Page

For example, here’s my LinkedIn page. Let me tell you what I’ve done to enhance my social media SEO: 

  • I use digital marketing-related keywords in my posts and profile to stand out for specific search queries. For example, my skills section shows I’m an expert in SEO, marketing, and advertising. 
  • I’ve verified my profile to show I’m the real Neil Patel. You can do this by providing LinkedIn with a copy of your government-issued ID. 
  • I post regularly to assure the algorithm that I’m open for business. 
  • I encourage recommendations and endorsements. These show I have the digital marketing skills that can help people grow their businesses. 

Instagram SEO Tips

Over 70 percent of shoppers use Instagram to discover new products. This means if you sell online, getting to the top of the Instagram search results is a brilliant way to make potential customers aware of your business. 

Results for "home renovation" on Instagram 

Instagram Reels is very similar to TikTok, to the point that some content creators may create content in TikTok and upload it to Instagram. However, this can lead to Instagram downgrading your content in the search results. 

Instagram has advised its algorithm won’t promote Reels with a TikTok watermark. This means the best thing you can do for your Instagram SEO is to create original content (or at least take the TikTok watermark off first). 

Snapchat SEO Tips 

While Snapchat is primarily designed for sharing photos and videos between friends, it does have some social SEO potential. 

As well as ensuring your business has a detailed Snapchat profile optimized for any relevant keywords, a great way to enhance your SEO is through user-generated content (UGC). UGC consists of photos and videos people take at your business or showcasing the products and services you sell.  

Sharing UGC boosts your engagement and helps you reach a larger audience, which in turn enhances your social SEO. 

FAQs

How is SEO used in social media?

Social media SEO is similar to traditional SEO used in the search engine results.  

By using relevant keywords, creating content that provides value, and optimizing your profile, you can rank at the top of the social media results page and improve your search engine presence. 

What is the number one tip for using social media and SEO together?

Do thorough keyword research.  

Once you know what keywords your target audience is using, you can use them in your profile and posts to help you rank in social media search results. 

Conclusion

Traditional SEO is still important — you want to rank as highly as possible in the search engine results. However, social SEO is becoming increasingly important too. 

By thinking about the keywords you want to rank for and optimizing your social media presence accordingly, you can build trust in your brand and find new customers. 

My final tip if you want to know how to improve your social media presence? Look at what your competitors are doing.  

See where they rank for shared keywords on social media platforms and how they structure their posts. You’ve then got some good inspiration for future content! 

How do you use social media and SEO to stand out? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments! 

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