How to Use Social Media to Earn Quality Links: A Link Building Strategy Guide

We all know that link-building is a crucial element which has great impact on website authority. The authority of a site, in simple terms, means how well our site ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs). Many SEO experts underestimate the importance of social media in a link-building strategy because Google has claimed that it doesn’t take social media signals into account while determining the authority of a page or a website.

If social media shares do not directly affect the authority of a website, then what’s the point of even reading this blog?

Let’s address the most pressing queries about social media and link-building, one by one.

Do Links On Social Media Count as Backlinks?

If you don’t already know the answer to this one, this paragraph is for you. Social shares are all considered no follow links, which means that they pass no authority from one site to the next. This indicates that while these may appear in your back-link profile, they are not counted as links that will boost your site’s authority.

Are all no follow links useless? Does social media provide any benefits for SEO and link building?

The simple answer is Yes!

And here’s the detailed explanation:

Recent analysis shows that Social media can indirectly impact your site, as Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media points out:

“Social media interactions correlate with quality and quality correlates with higher rankings.”

Most high authority websites have a credible and engaging social media presence followed by a good content strategy. You can test this on your own, type something like “best gym shoes” on your search engine and click on the first result that shows up, then see if they have an active social media presence or not.

If social media doesn’t impact link-building or page authority, then why are all the top brands/companies investing their time and money into it?

Brand Visibility and Recognition | Earning Organic/Natural Links

Even without a direct influence on SEO, a good social media strategy can increase your overall brand visibility. It helps customers understand what value your brand provides and how it caters to your target market’s needs, simultaneously redirecting users to your site and increasing referral traffic. A good social media marketing strategy helps you earn organic links. Organically earned links; or natural links directly improve the reputation of a website and where it ranks on Google and other search engines.

Current social media stats
The number of social media users worldwide in 2019 is 3.484 billion, up 9% year-on-year. The number of mobile phone users in 2019 is 5.112 billion, up 2% year-on-year.

 

Why You Should Optimize Your Brand’s Social Media Profiles

It’s always a good idea to optimize your social media profiles effectively, for two reasons:

1. So that they can be easily discovered in the search result.

People who are searching for your brand should be able to see your website, your Twitter profile, your Facebook page etc. in the search results.

2. To give you an edge over your competitors through brand-recognition.

The growing usage of social media these days has led the psychologists to compare it with drug addiction. People are spending so much time using social media platforms that it doesn’t come as a surprise if they are using these platforms to search for brands. Now, if your profile is not optimized or even visible on these platforms, it will adversely affect your brand’s top of mind recall.

Brand Recognition will give you an edge over your competitors. People will be more likely to click on your website, even if it ranks lower than the competition.

For example, if you are writing a blog on premium phones and you search for “best phones.” The first result is of a company you’ve never heard about vs. Apple. Which brand are you more likely to read about? Which one are you more likely to recommend to your followers? Once you’ve made your choice, you’ll probably link back to its site in your article.

What Makes Content Go Viral?

Have you ever noticed that extremely funny videos always stand a solid chance of getting significant views, shares, re-tweets, and likes?

This happens mainly because before people share your viral content, they make a quick assessment of what’s in it for them. This is known as social currency – people share and talk about things that make them feel cool or improve their self-worth. People rely more on emotions than logic while assessing your content.

Ever wondered why most of the top brands’ advertisers try to make you feel something through their ads rather than just giving specifications of their product? 

5 Tips to Create High Quality Viral Content

  1. Come up with an original and unique idea. If you do not have an original idea, improve upon an existing idea.
  2. Create an impact; evoke emotion. Make them feel something through your content.
  3. Develop practically useful content.
  4. Use interactive language, make your readers feel like you’re directly addressing them.
  5. Use visuals that create an element of a surprise.

It can be challenging to regularly come up with high quality viral content. Hence, consistency is the key. Test new ideas regularly to see what works for your target audience.

Pinterest | How to Generate Back-links to your Website with Pinterest?

Pinterest offers great SEO opportunities, as many of the pins and boards are indexed in Google. Pinterest posts also rank highly for specific search queries that require a visual representation. Furthermore, you can also create a pin that links back to your website and promote that pin.

Pinterest boards can rank in the top five results on page one of Google. This can offer a lot of value to your business if used effectively. Boards with a lot of active followers tend to rank better in search results.

Let’s look at an example, I searched for “decorating ideas for small living rooms.” This is a great long-tail keyword and the Pinterest board is my fifth result. Pinterest plays a significant role in ranking long-tail niche keywords.

Search result appearing in the 5th place

You must be thinking how all of this helps with link-building, it’s simple. Here’s how you can do it:

5 Ways to Optimize Your Pinterest Board

  1. Optimize Pinterest boards effectively. Convert the content from your website to info-graphics and upload them on your Pinterest board.
  2. Insert relevant keywords and a link to your website in the description.
  3. Draw visitors to your site with well-placed pins and useful descriptions.
  4. These visitors will share site with their friends (if they find the information on your site useful and informative).
  5. Some of them are bloggers or webmasters who would share the information on their website/blog and link it back to your site.

Facebook | Do Facebook Shares Count As Backlinks?

Facebook-related statistics
Majority of users on Facebook are in the 25-34 age bracket. With 2.121 Billion people, out of which 43% are females and 57% are males, Facebook has the highest amount of users to date.

 

According to Statista, people spend around 38 minutes on Facebook every single day. 2 billion people, spending 38 minutes every day, scrolling through their Facebook news-feed, just imagine the kind of exposure your content can get through Facebook.

Over the years we have seen multiple success stories of businesses that have grown exponentially over Facebook. It allows you to reach potential customers for your products or services.

Traditionally, a lot of marketers believed Facebook shares were a good ranking signal and, therefore, stated Facebook shares to help improve rankings. However, this is not entirely true. What they were unable to see was that, it wasn’t about Facebook shares at all. It was about links that came from Facebook shares, because of the kind of exposure that it provides.

Twitter | How To Get Backlinks Through Twitter?

Twitter has 250.8 million users worldwide. 34.5% of them are female, 65.5% are male and the majority is in the age bracket of 25-34.

 

Twitter plays an important role in increasing your brand’s visibility. According to Statista, Twitter has amassed 330 million active monthly users in just ten years. You can use hashtags and recent trends to your advantage and make your content go viral. Don’t forget to add the link to your site in your tweets.

The more followers you have the higher the chances of your tweets going viral, and showing up on Google’s search index. There is no reciprocal linking or monetary gratification required on twitter, as growth on twitter is entirely organic. If you get a mention on twitter your website will get a high-quality back-link from the published blog article.

Since tweets are crawled and indexed, each tweet containing your brand name and website link will show up in search results. This can increase referrals from social channels and build better brand recognition.

 

Instagram | How does Instagram help SEO & Link Building?

Instagram-related statistics
In contrast to Facebook, Instagram has more users under the age bracket of 18 to 24. It also has the second highest usage among all other social media platforms, with 894.9 million users out of which 50.3% are male and 49.7% are female

 

Research suggests 59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram. Millennials are well known to be tech-savvy, markedly different attitudes, beliefs, and norms than any other generation preceding them. Instagram as a platform can be very effective to specifically target millennials.

What Is Influencer Marketing for Instagram?

Influencer marketing is a lot similar to guest posting, marketers promote their products and services by partnering with popular social media users or bloggers within the industry. Influencers usually have a large, engaged audience that brands want to reach. This would help marketers to generate traffic on their website. This traffic would help the site earn more backlinks.

 

5 Key Benefits of Influencer Marketing

  1. To build brand equity.
  2. To reach a broader audience.
  3. Using visually aesthetic content to grow your fan base.
  4. Double redirects to website.
  5. To generate sales & leads.

More businesses are joining Instagram every day. However, the platform might be more beneficial for some specific type of industries more, such as; Lifestyle brands as compared to heavy equipment manufacturers.

A Final Word

Use our tips to improve your social media strategy. It will not only help you earn organic or natural links but also give a boost to your overall brand’s reputation.

However, prior to developing your social media marketing strategy, carry out a detailed research evaluating the scope of each social media platform for your brand via in-depth competitor & target audience analysis. Furthermore, if you want to up your social media game, stay updated about the recent trends and read up on social media success stories to further understand how it helps with link-building.

How to Optimize For Featured Snippets and Get to Position Zero

Featured snippets… You can love ‘em, you can hate ‘em, but you can’t get away from ‘em. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of featured snippets, figure out exactly what they are, why they’re becoming more important every passing day and what you can do to optimize your pages for featured snippets.

Who Should Read This Article?

  • Marketing specialists interested in optimizing their SEO for featured snippets.
  • Anyone new to the world of SEO who wants to learn more about featured snippets.
  • The 100% population of the internet that loves cat GIFs.

 

What Is a Featured Snippet?

A featured snippet is a search answer shown at the top of a results page. It is Google’s attempt to answer your query right then and there. Google does this by showing an answer pulled from a page that’s usually ranking on Page 1.

Because featured snippets rank above the first organic result, it’s also called Position Zero or Answer Box. What’s even cooler is that the featured snippet is not necessarily pulled from the top ranking result, which opens up all sorts of possibilities to beat the #1 result simply by optimizing your page for featured snippets.

An awesome featured snippet

For the search “What is Huckleberry Finn about” the fifth ranked result is outranking the first one.

How cool is that?

And this is more common than you might think, especially when you’re closer to the top. This gives you a huge opening to outrank the first ranked results just by optimizing your page for featured snippets.

Types of Featured Snippets

Featured snippets typically come in three main formats:

Paragraph Featured Snippet

The most common form of featured snippets. Google will grab a paragraph from a page that best answers the search query and present it as a snippet.

paragraph featured snippet example

 

List Featured Snippet

These are lists that appear in numbered or bullet forms. They are more common for rankings, processes, step-by-step instructions and other form of list queries.

list featured snippet example

 

Table Featured Snippet

Table featured snippets appear less often, but when they do it’s usually for queries related to prices, rates, historical comparisons and other numerical data.

table featured snippets example

 

Apart from these three types of featured snippets, Google also presents search answers in other formats:

 

People Also Ask

A list of similar queries, with an answer appearing in the drop-down. Fun fact: each answer is the featured snippet for that query.

Example of Google's People Also Ask Feature

 

Quick Answer & Tools

Quick answers provides answers to very specific queries, such as live scores, weather and time zones. Tools include dictionary, calculators, exchange rates and other conversions.

An Example of Google Quick Answers and Tools

 

Carousel

Displays several results in the form of cards, each of which is related to the original search query.

Google Carousel Example

 

Videos

Video featured snippets appear for “How to …” questions that require a step by step process. The videos may not always start from the beginning, as Google’s algorithms might highlight a portion of the video it thinks best answers your query.

Example of a video featured snippet

 

Knowledge Card

Appears as a panel on the right hand side of Page 1 and provides further information regarding the search query. Knowledge cards may include information from Google Maps, Google reviews, Wikipedia and more.

Example of Google knowledge card

Wanna View A Cool Infographic? Click This Button Now

Infographic about the types of featured snippets

Share this Image On Your Site

 

Why is Featured Snippet Important

Featured snippets are appearing more and more frequently in search results. If you have the chance to be on position zero, you definitely should avail the opportunity. Failure to do so means you’re losing out on traffic, authority and maybe even customers.

Cat going "whoa"

Here are some reasons why featured snippets are becoming more common in search results and why you need to up your game:

1. You Get More Traffic Than Position 1

Yep, that’s right.

If you’re ranking on Position Zero, you’ll be getting more traffic than the first organic search result. Studies by Ahrefs and Mangools have shown that Position 0 pages always outperform Position 1 pages.

So the verdict is pretty clear: if you’re serious about getting high quality traffic and beat the competition, you need to beat them in the rankings.

In short: Get to Position 0.

Cat with Samuel L. Jackson's face saying "get to position zero""

2. Voice searches

Voice searches are the future. Camscore predicts that by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice based, thanks to improvements in mobile AI to better understand our speech patterns (think OK Google or Hey Siri), while sales for voice-based smart speakers like Amazon Echo & Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomePod show no signs of slowing down.

As voice searches tend to be longer, more natural sounding and almost always in the form of a question, the chances of a featured snippet appearing as an answer is much higher.

 

3. Builds Authority

Ask yourself, how many times do you even bother going to Page 2 of Google?

Users trust Google to provide them with the most relevant results and consider the top results as far more authoritative and relevant than those lower down on Page 1 or **shudders** on Page 2 or 3.

If you can provide useful content to people the first time, you increase the likelihood of them coming to you a second time. By ranking on Position 0, not only are you attracting more views and traffic to your content, you’re also building authority for your brand.

 

How to Optimize Your Blog Post For Featured Snippets

1. Are You Already Ranking On Page 1?

If you’ve been creating quality content for some time and know how to optimize it, chances are you’re ranking on Page 1 of Google. And if your content is really good, you just might be occupying a place in Positions 1 to 5. However, as we’ve learned, ranking on position 1 is still no guarantee for appearing in featured snippets.

But don’t lose hope!

Because you’ve already done the difficult work of reaching the first page, you are in prime position to get to Position 0. In fact, the higher you’re already ranking on page one (between Positions 1 and 5), the better your chances. Check out this video by Ignite Visibility that walks you through the process of finding snippet opportunities

By simply optimizing the code for your page and improving the structure of your content, you can easily jump to Position 0 in a matter of weeks. Hubspot did it to capture multiple new Position 0 spots where they had previously been ranking in Positions 1 to 3 (but not on Position 0).

Keep reading to figure out how optimize your code and get featured.

2. Clean Up Your Code

By cleaning up your HTML, you make it easier for Google to crawl through your page and help it capture information you want to display in snippets. You don’ want to confuse Google about the topic of your content, nor do you want to display your content in a way that’s distracting for users.

A poorly optimized featured snippet
Do you really feel like clicking on this snippet?

 

How do you clean up your code?

The short answer: H2, H3, <p>, <ol> and <ul>.

3. Use H2 & Paragraphs <p>

 

An optimized paragraph snippet.
An optimized paragraph snippet.

 

Google see H1 as the main title of your content and H2 as the heading for individual sections within the page. If you want to appear in paragraph featured snippets, then you should use the following format.

<h2>SNIPPET QUERY </h2>

<p>PARAGRAPH SNIPPET</p>

 

Your H2 should ideally include keywords from the search query. Since voice based search queries are becoming more common and are structured as complete questions, you can also frame your H2 as a question and the paragraph snippet as the answer for your readers.

4. Use H2 and Ordered Lists <ol>

 

An optimized list snippet.
An optimized list snippet.

 

Did we tell you Google loves list? If you want to get yourself featured on Position 0 for search queries about processes, lists, orders, and step-by-step guides, you need to structure your content for ordered lists.

Google will pull H2s as the snippet title and H3s as the list items in the snippet. Bullet points, or unordered lists, are useful only in cases where the order is not important.

Here’s what the code for your list snippet should look like:

<h2>SNIPPET QUERY</h2>

<ol>

<li></li>

<li></li>

<li></li>

<li></li>

<li></li>

<li></li>

<li></li>

</ol>

 

Use these techniques every time you are aiming for Position 0. Not only would the content look better to readers, but it would also become more optimized for search crawlers.

5. Use Keyword Research To Find Snippet Opportunities

If you’re looking for new topics to write about and get featured, you need to start off with an effective game plan. Your first step should be keyword research as it gives you a lay of the land and really sets you up for success.

Snippet rich search queries are often framed as questions: who, why, when, what, how. With proper research, not only do you learn what people are searching for, but you also get to see what’s currently ranking on top.

All you have to do is figure out what exactly what type of content your audience wants and answer their queries.

 

6. Here’s Where To Find Snippet Opportunities

The best places to find the hottest search items include:

SEMRush

Screenshot of SEMRush's Dashboard

With SEMRush, you get to see the different combination of search queries for a particular keyword ranked according to the total number of monthly searches. This helps you identify the most popular keywords you can try to rank for and give the competition a run for their money.

SEMRush also helps you track featured snippets you’ve already won and highlights other keyword opportunities where you can earn snippets.

Answer The Public

Answer The Public Example
All the combination of queries you get just by typing “dog food” on Answer The Public.

 

A free tool that creates multiple offshoots of a keyword, Answer The Public is a great place to start brainstorming for keyword ideas. Simply enter a keyword, get dozens of query options, plug them in to SEMRush or any other tool you’re using, and find out what’s the best search query for you to rank for.

People Also Ask

Google's People Also Ask Feature

Google can also be a great place to find out what information the public’s after. Simply check out the “People Also Ask” section in a search result to see what other related questions people have been asking and decide whether you want to try ranking for it or not.

Apart from People Also Ask, Google’s search bar itself gives you a fair bit of an idea of what people are searching about. You might find it mildly annoying (we do, sometimes), but Google’s attempt to finish your sentence just might open up a whole new ranking opportunity for your brand.

 

7. Write Quality Content

At the end of the day, nothing beats quality content. You can try optimizing a poorly written article all you want, but all you’re going to get is a high bounce rate and low rankings.

Create content that people actually want to read, provide value so that your content is worth their time, and write it so well that it keeps your readers hooked till the end.

How the Inverted Pyramid Works
Source: Wikipedia

 

One technique you can use is the Inverted Pyramid. Commonly used in journalism, this technique structures your content by giving the conclusion (the most awaited part) first, and then delivers details which support that conclusion. If written well, your “conclusion” could be the paragraph snippet you’ve always wanted to get featured!

 

8. Take Care Of Your Word Count

According to SEMrush, most featured snippets have a length of 40-50 words, while Hubspot gives the cutoff point of up to 58 words.

Check out this snippet about U.S. President Woodrow Wilson that’s really pushing the limits at 51 words. Try keeping your paragraph featured snippet in the range of 40-50 words for best results.

Google search of who was woodrow wilson

A Quick Recap on How to Optimize for Featured Snippets

Now you know what are featured snippets, why are they becoming more important and what you can do to get to Position Zero. Here’s a quick recap of the techniques we discussed to optimize your page for featured snippets:

  • Identify your low hanging fruits
  • Optimize your code better than the competition
  • Know when and where to use H2, H3, p, ol & ul for snippets
  • Keep searching for new snippet opportunities
  • Create valuable content
  • Take care of your snippet word count

Getting to position zero is not impossible. Once you start using these tips, you’ll see the difference yourself. Who knows, this time it might be you who’s ranking on top.