6 Ways to Increase Rankings Using Social Media

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing can populate social media pages as search results. Occasionally, a Facebook business page will even rank higher than the actual business website will. How does this happen?

Search engines want to populate results people want. So if users engage with a specific keyword-rich post on Google+ more than a blog post from 4 months ago, Bing may rank it higher. Just as a blog post can receive authority, social media pages can receive authority by sharing valuable content people engage with.

The simple truth is engagement. Without comments, link clicks, and shares, social media updates sit idle. Increase your ranking by increasing your engagement on social media with these tips.

Every social network has somewhere you can type copy, whether it’s in a caption box for a video or a new tweet, there’s a designated area for users to create text. This is your opportunity to shine, marketers! Create relevant updates that include a link to a specific page on your website. For example, if you want to share an update about a product, post an image with a link to the product page in the caption.

URL shorteners are mandatory when posting links. If your business or agency uses a social media scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, link shorteners are provided when scheduling posts. If writing an update in real time, posting directly on a social network, use URL shorteners like Bitly, Google Shortener, or TinyURL. This comes in handy when you have limited characters and is also much more appealing than seeing a long URL.

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Create Viral Content

The more you produce high quality content, the more likely you are to have people share your content and achieve virality. This is necessary because more shares equals more activity, brand awareness, and improved rankings. Search engines can use high engagement on social media pages to help rank different search results. Try these tactics below to increase engagement, and ultimately improve rankings.

  • Appeal to emotions. The best way to create a viral post is by appealing to people’s emotions. Emotions trigger reactions, such as engagement, purchases, and referrals. Use emotions like anger, sadness, and humor to receive the greatest response. You want to not only communicate, but connect with your audience’s emotions.
  • Share more videos. Visually appealing elements such as videos receive higher engagement than content posts. Business Insider conducted a study reviewing posts with links, photos, text-only, and video updates to see which received the most organic impressions. Videos won by a long shot.
    screenshot 2015-02-16 at 12.15.07Image Source: Business Insider
  • Ask questions people want to engage with. Make users stop at your update and think for a moment. Let them ponder their thoughts as they spend just a little bit more time hovered over your update before commenting with an answer. There are several different ways to ask questions on social media. Depending upon the complexity of the audience, the simpler the response to a question is the more likely you will receive comments and replies.

Image Source: Kissmetrics

Add Website URLs to Page Bios

As easy as it is to do, so many businesses don’t fully complete their “about” section on social media pages. Every social media profile gives businesses an opportunity to include a link to their website. Include it! Including a website URL on Facebook acts as a reference point for users to continue research on a business and encourage traffic from social to a website. Search engines can also use this information to pair websites to their correct social networks and rankings.

Hashtags Are Your Friend

Hashtags truly are a marketers friend. They make following trends and topics a synche for users, and even easier for businesses to pop up on the radar with. Keep track of trending topics by using hashtag tools like Tagboard, RebelMouse, and Keyhole. Join in on the conversation and use trending hashtags to help improve your chance of ranking for a relevant topic.

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Use Local Listings to Your Advantage

Updating a business’ local listings should be one of the first few steps in a new marketing plan. When updating local listings on business directories, it’s important to include each social network that is associated with the business. Include the correct social network’s URL and make sure to customize the URL, using the full business name.


Don’t forget to also hashtag #yourlocation in your profile on Twitter, include it in the bio on Pinterest, and hashtag it with Google+ posts. The more a business location is included in social media profiles, updates, and business directories, the more search engines can recognize the right locations and correlations.

When thinking how can Facebook’s Graph Search help me rank better, go back to the basics of marketing: Do more of what customers like and less of what they don’t, while keeping a close eye on competitors. Facebook’s Graph Search allows you to do just this.

Graph Search is the perfect way to analyze information about a target audience and competitors using a social network. Filter results by things your audience likes: Pages, interests, groups, etc. The Search populates results based on actual language, not just keywords. Learn what people are responding to, what they like, and replicate it. Keep track of what your competitors are doing and keep your Facebook page at the top of search results.

Social Media blogger Jen Smith compiled this quick guide for ways to research using Facebook’s Graph Search. Enter the following information into the search bar in Facebook:

    Pages liked by people who like [page name]
    Pages liked by people who like [page name] and [page name]
    Interests liked by people who like [page name]
    Interests liked by people who live near [location]
    Groups joined by people who like [page name]
    Groups joined by people who are interested in [interest]

In case you didn’t notice the pattern, increased engagement on social media, and basically everywhere online, can result in increased rankings for businesses. Producing overall quality content that people want to share will help business profiles show up in search results, boosting branding and rankings.

Do one of your business profiles show up more than the other? Comment below with your top performing social network!

About Ashley Ward

Ashley Ward is the Founder of Madhouse Marketing, a digital marketing agency in San Diego, specializing in content and social media marketing. Speaking both internationally and throughout the US, Ashley regularly teaches workshops and speaks at conferences like Pubcon, BrightonSEO, SearchLove, Digital Summits, Retail Global, and the prestigious SMS Sydney. Ashley has also co-authored the best-selling book “The Better Business Book V.2” and is a contributing writer to industry blogs such as Search Engine Journal and AuthorityLabs.

Filed under: Strategy