Can being active on social media help you rank higher?
This is a question marketers have researched extensively over the past few years. And while social media does not directly affect search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing is one of the most valuable allies of SEO, according to Search Engine Journal.
4 Ways to Harness Social Media for SEO
It is important to note that social media does not directly impact SEO in many of the ways we might think. For instance, metrics that are important on the platforms themselves, like the number of followers, likes or comments, do not serve as signals to search engines. Mark Traphagen of Search Engine Journal points out,“…it is highly unlikely that the major search engines currently use mentions or amount of engagement around a brand or piece of content as a direct ranking signal.”
In other words, no matter how often people mention your hotel or engage with your brand on social media platforms, it is unlikely that this alone will increase your hotel’s rank in Google or Bing.
However, there are a few other ways social media can be harnessed to strengthen your hotel’s ranking.
1. Earn Links with High-Quality Content
One of the most effective ways of harnessing social media to boost SEO is to create high-quality content you can then share on social media.
Hootsuite conducted an exhaustive experiment that proved just this, and showed creating and promoting high-quality content will help boost a site’s rankings.
Quality of posts, not quantity, is key. Yes, regular posting is important, but if you are not offering your audience value there is no point. (This is where regularly evaluating your social media channels makes a huge difference.) Remember, it might only take one new backlink to significantly improve the search rank of a URL (depending on how competitive the keyword is and how authoritative the site is that links to your own).
“If you impress the right person enough to share your content on their website, you will see a boost in search rank and search visibility,” write Zak Ramdani and Eva Taylor of Hootsuite.
Another way to think about it is this: the more people who are talking about and sharing your content, the more visitors you’ll get to your website. More sharing means more visibility for your content — which could mean higher rankings.
Andy Crestodina of Orbit media studios points out, “Social sharing directly increases the visibility of a page. That increased visibility means it may get noticed by a creator of content, such as a blogger, journalist, or author. That creator may mention it in a subsequent piece of content. If they linked to it, that page is then more likely to rank.”
2. Create Social Media Profiles for Your Hotel
If you have not already, one of the best ways to set your hotel up for digital success is to create social media profiles on major platforms, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
“While social shares may or may not affect a web page’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence the content of your search results,” writes Neil Patel. “In fact, social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names”.
For example, the Chicago Athletic Association hotel has several social media profiles dedicated to the hotel — all of which are indexed by and rank on Google.
This is a great way to widen the net you’re casting online, as it allows you to reach more users in more places, both on search engines and on social media platforms.
3. Get more positive brand mentions
Similar to earning links with high-quality content, getting more people to talk about your hotel and the content you post means building more traffic to your hotel’s website.
Google’s Gary Illyes talked about how Google uses online mentions of a brand as a factor. “Once you start getting mentions we start learning that yes, this is an entity — we can start linking [different properties to that entity],” said Illyes. Additionally, he mentioned that how people talk about you online and the context in which they engage with you could actually impact what you rank for.
It is important to note that “what” you rank for is the operative phrase in this case, as opposed to “how high” you rank for something.
In other words, when people mention you in certain contexts, Google begins to see you as relevant for those queries.
Keep in mind: Google does not take the number of social media shares or followers into account when ranking your hotel. This is because it would be too easy for people to cheat the system and boost poor sites than to promote the sites users actually want to see.
4. Leverage Relationships and Partnerships
Many hands make light work, and the same is true for digital marketing. Your community is paramount in helping spread the word about your hotel. Your fans and partners can help you achieve phenomenally more in terms of exposure and reach than you could ever accomplish on your own. Here are a few ways to tap into your followers, fans, and partners on social to boost your SEO.
Active social media users who love your brand can be one of your biggest assets. The best part? They are free. If you are wondering where your hotel can start cultivating these brand fans, the answer is, simply, online and on your property. Be proactive and talk to your guests while they are at your hotel. Encourage your staff to mingle; this way, you have an opportunity to resolve any issues before your guest leaves. In fact, we’ve got an entire guide that covers how you can get the most from your hotel’s guest reviews.
Unlike paid influencers, organic influencers are social media accounts that have influence relevant to your hotel because of their expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. So any positive endorsement they share regarding your property will have weight with their audiences. Think: a travel blogger who talks up your property’s amazing service on Facebook. Because their audience trusts them, they will be more likely to click through to your website and check you out.
Partnering up with a non-competitive business with whom you can co-create content and experience is a great way to get more SEO juice out of your social efforts.
Is there a nearby attraction like a zoo, opera house, winery or theme park you could reach out to and post about who would be willing to do the same for you?
Think about the places your guests visit the most and consider forming a strategic partnership with them in which you can endorse each other and expand both your audiences and create link opportunities you could not have created by yourself.
Or, if you have an amazing on-site venue like True Music Room in Cambria Nashville hotel, think about what your guests would enjoy while spending time there — like a drink of good, old-fashioned whiskey.
Remember, marketing your hotel online is all about building relationships, sharing great content and fostering an audience of visitors who love you and will talk well about you. The Internet is social by nature, so there’s no reason SEO best practices should be any different. Especially since SEO at its best is meant to make your online experience more enjoyable and useful.
Want to get the most out of your SEO and social media channels? Blue Magnet Interactive can provide you with assistance on using these hotel marketing services and more to increase grow your hotel’s business online.