Social SEO and the Rise of Alternative Search
Understanding Social SEO is imperative for your nonprofit to make the most of organic content in the world of constantly evolving social media.
Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or a digital novice, SSEO (social search engine optimization) holds the keys to a more visible and influential online presence for your nonprofit.
What Is Social SEO and Why Is It Important for Your Nonprofit?
Let’s kick things off with some fundamentals.
SEO, short for “search engine optimization,” boils down to enhancing your website to boost visibility on search engines such as Google, Microsoft Bing, and others—ensuring your content appears when people search with relevant keywords.
Organic social is considered free, non-paid content created, uploaded, and shared within social platforms such as Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and YouTube.
Paid social is, in simple terms, paid advertising that takes place on platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube, etc with specific targeted audiences in mind. This is done through “boosting” organic content or creating individual ads themselves.
Now what exactly does it mean when we talk about Social SEO?
Imagine extending SEO principles to social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This is seen when social posts populate in search results through captions, alt-text, keyword research/implementation, and hashtags. That’s Social SEO at work.
Let’s start with a question, “does Google take into account what is happening within social media platforms when it comes to their search result ranking?
The search platform itself states, “Google uses automated ranking systems that look at many factors and signals about hundreds of billions of web pages and other content in our Search index to present the most relevant, useful results, all in a fraction of a second.”
The effective use of social media is both an indirect and direct SEO booster. Standing out in search engine results pages (SERPs) is imperative for reach and CTR. Social SEO can increase the scale of your nonprofit’s footprints on these result pages.
Important notes: Your nonprofit’s social media account performance (follower growth/post engagement) is NOT a Google ranking factor.
Here are a few examples of these social signals in the output of search:
📲 When a user is searching for “branded content” on Google, the SERPs can show recent social posts. Social media profiles consistently secure prominent positions in search results. Especially for branded keywords, social media profiles frequently take a front-and-center position, appearing right after the respective brand’s website result.
📲 Social platforms are included in Google Analytics traffic sources.
Since social media plays a big role in driving traffic for organizations, Google Analytics treats it as a separate and distinct entity.
📲 SERPs consistently pull recommended search content from social platforms. Meaning yes, TikTok and Instagram videos are now in Google Search results, not only in “branded” searches. Google is indexing social videos and sharing those results with their users.
Think about looking for some top eats while in New York City. Google AND TikTok have you covered.
The way that people search is fundamentally evolving. As the next generation of searchers age, the way they interact with search continues to change.
Is TikTok or Instagram a true search engine in comparison to Google?
The short answer is “no.” Search capabilities may differ, but the end results for the user hold parallels. Some considered social platform-based search as a ‘search hybrid.’
According to Google’s internal data in 2022, around 40% of Gen Z prefers using TikTok and Instagram for search over Google. A new wave of digital marketing is coming through, and adaptation is important for your nonprofit to stay relevant. Optimizing your content to rank higher within TikTok, Linkedin, Instagram, and other social platforms’ search engines is the next step to staying competitive within these platform changes.
Using that same user journey from above, searching for good food while in New York, Gen Z most likely will pop open their TikTok or Instagram app to find that desired information (and for user demographics, TikTok isn’t just a target platform for Gen Z—50% of users* are between the ages of 30-49.)
Understanding the significance of Social SEO development is crucial for nonprofits before venturing into the Instagram and TikTok realms. In our opinion, the pairing of social and SEO strategy for your nonprofit is truly a match made in organic marketing heaven.
Need a list of reasons why you should be prioritizing practical implementations?
Don’t stress, we wrote one:
#1 Visibility + Reach: Social SEO can amp up your online presence. When you fine-tune your social media profiles and content, this indirectly affects your ranking in search engine results. That means when users are on the lookout for what you offer, they’re more likely to stumble upon your nonprofit.
#2 Audience Engagement: Getting the hang of Social SEO is all about creating content that clicks with your audience. By leveraging relevant keywords, hashtags, and trending topics, nonprofits can tailor their posts to align with what their audience is buzzing about and searching for.
#3 Content Discoverability: SEO is your secret sauce for making content easy to find. When users are digging for specific topics, well-optimized social media posts can pop up in search results, guiding users straight to your profiles and content.
#4 Data-Driven Decisions: Social SEO-savvy organizations dive straight into the data pool. Analyzing metrics on platforms like Instagram and TikTok can help fine-tune your strategies. By understanding what works and what doesn’t, you keep providing quality content that gets results.
#5 Cross-Platform Integration: When nonprofits seamlessly weave and integrate Instagram and TikTok efforts into an overall online marketing strategy, this maximizes the impact of each channel while reinforcing your digital marketing strategy.
#6. Competitive Edge: Prioritizing SEO provides a competitive edge. By ranking higher in search results, you surpass the competition and gain the attention of potential donors who might have otherwise overlooked your organization.
OPTIMIZE YOUR SOCIAL FOR SEO
Social SEO is the implementation of SEO principles on a social media platform, but how do you effectively do this? We’ve got a bucket of suggestions to get you started and a team of social media + SEO experts to help your nonprofit.
✅ Enhance your Google Business Profile by integrating your nonprofit’s social profiles(Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Linkedin). Boost your local ranking with the benefit of these increased SEO social signals.
✅ Your social profile should be filled out in its entirety. Don’t leave valuable space unoptimized. Include industry and brand keywords, location, and relevant backlinks!
✅Tag your nonprofit’s location in posts so your content can appear in social search results
✅ Make sure you’re using your keywords. In your profile, in your posts, alt-text, captions. Know your focus keywords and intentionally use them while creating content. Be aware that adding keywords in comments does not help with search. Be careful not to overstuff keywords as well. *When someone uses the in-platform search box to look up words related to your nonprofit, you want your account or content to appear near the top of the list.
✅ Use TikTok’s own Keyword Insights tool to jump into more in-depth research and find the right keyword-level insights to inform your nonprofit’s SEO social strategy.
✅ Optimize, optimize, and optimize your content with the right keywords and hashtags.
Both are vital for in-platform search reach. The algorithm will factor both when ranking results. The more text information you include in your videos, the easier it is for the algorithm to understand what your videos are about and share them with the intended audience.
How can you make your video more searchable? Keywords should be incorporated into your on-screen text alongside captions. Use the text overlay to achieve this tactic.
✅ Say that main keyword loud and proud! Using these keywords in your automated closed captions is also a great idea and writing video scripts that incorporate the keywords you want to target.
✅Including passive or active backlinks to your website through social platforms can be used as a traffic funnel to your nonprofit’s online content. Remember to track these links to know where this organic traffic is coming from.
X (Formerly known as Twitter)
✅ Opt for a username that is easy to find through search + select a username and display name that are clear and descriptive.
✅ Incorporate relevant keywords and hashtags in your bio that feature what your intended audience is searching for.
✅ Show the X algorithm you’re well-informed and an authoritative voice for your target keyphrases by crafting lots of tweets specifically including well-optimized keywords on those predecided topics.
✅Include a main keyword in your Facebook Page name, but make sure it sounds natural. *Reminder: you’re writing for humans, not search engines.
✅ Don’t forget that alt-text.
Incorporating alt text into your Facebook photos does wonders by helping the platform comprehend and categorize your content. This, in turn, boosts its visibility in search results. (It is also an accessibility opportunity to include members of your audience with visual impairments)
✅ Don’t forget to get your nonprofit a Vanity URL.
Create your custom Page URL, simply change your Facebook username under your About tab > Create Page Username.
We recommend something short, branded, with an attached keyword.
From the services your nonprofit provides to the resources you share, to the impact you create within your local communities—implementing Social SEO can greatly extend the reach of your nonprofit organization’s online presence.
Developing and managing an ongoing social media strategy requires creativity, a strong understanding of your audience and how each channel can help you reach your goals, and the willingness to test, iterate, and test again. Learn more about our social media services.