Paid search and SEO via social media
Marketing SEO

The Surprising Effect of Facebook on Paid Search and SEO


For a long time now, marketers have relegated social media to its own, isolated corner of marketing, where success is measured in viral strength, length of conversations, and the sincerest hope of influencer attention. It’s a world that seems, by most rights, separate from the comparatively sterile technicality of SEO.

But, in a blog post published this month, Facebook has finally confirmed what every marketer has hoped for some time now: With some careful planning, social media may have a direct effect on SEO and paid search campaigns. The report is a summary of twenty-three third-party studies that took place this past year, focusing on conversion lift across nearly every industry vertical. What it uncovered is that digital marketing seems to be a bit more interconnected than most realize, and that there may be creative ways for SEO and social media campaigns to support each other moving into 2016.

Social Continues to Go Mobile

The first and most important context for this conversation is to understand that Facebook users are going increasingly mobile. It’s a trend that TechCrunch noted early in the year and that Google and Facebook have continued to embrace, between search engine updates meant to protect mobile users and Facebook’s continued interaction with Instagram.

Given this, Facebook’s report focused in on mobile behavior flows for users, trying to understand exactly how they approach searching. What they found is that when Facebook ads were used to promote landing pages, there were noted improvements to page traffic from search:

Recently released data from Facebook has confirmed that social media has positive effects for paid search and SEO, given the right mobile strategy.

The difference between mobile and desktop is clear, and could suggest a number of tendencies that were not tested. Perhaps desktop users are more willing to click trough an ad rather than to go do a unique search. Perhaps the format of mobile ads as opposed to desktop ads was more attractive to viewers. Perhaps there is a difference in the audience demographics of mobile versus desktop users that accounts for search behavior. Whatever the case may be, the boost is clear.

How do marketers take advantage of this?

Getting Social With Paid Search

There are a number of ways marketers can take advantage of mobile ad and search trends. Here are just a few tips:

  • Keyword Your Social: Organizing your Facebook ads and content around likely search terms for your landing page is perhaps the most obvious way to signal viewers who may end up making a search. But beyond this, you may find that many of your shorter keywords actually make excellent hashtags on social media as well, further improving the reach of your regular content in addition to ad content.
  • Optimize for Mobile: Make sure your landing pages are taking advantage of responsive design principles to improve visibility for mobile searches, and that your ads have mobile in mind. Shorter ads that reach key terms faster, followed up by webpages built specifically for mobile users searching these key terms, can make the flow much easier for your audience. Using a Facebook tracking pixel can further help you understand when and how your audience is deciding to search for your brand.
  • Coordinate Web, Social, and Mobile: Rather than using the exact same language across all of your content and pages, look at your traffic data to see if mobile users and desktop users are finding your webpage through different content. Optimize your pages and content with specific metadata and language to create funnels around these behaviors, and test to see if it improves page traffic. For instance, if you find that mobile users tend to find you through searches of shorter keywords, building mobile specific ads and responsive page metadata around these shorter terms may improve returns.

Ultimately, the two principles to keep in mind here are consistency and concision. Consistent language and content can improve the likelihood that your audience sees or remembers to search for your brand, while building strategy around concise copy and key terms can make your brand even more attractive for mobile users. There is, however, never an alternative for excellent content—traffic to a page means nothing if your visitors immediately bounce away, so don’t sacrifice quality for concision or a few paid search hits.

Interested in additional ways to amplify your search and social visibility? Consider incorporating eBooks to improve social engagement and page authority.

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