'Social SEO' is a term that has been getting some attention as of late. Quite simply, it refers to the SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) benefits you can gain from using social media to share your content.

If you're a blogger, online marketer or content producer of any kind and you don't yet know or understand how social can compliment and enhance your efforts, read on. Even if you already have a grasp of how social SEO works, you might be able to gain a better understanding from this overview.

It Enlarges Your Reach

SEOCredit: stock.xchng - sachyn [Image ID: 1287369]This is common sense: marketing your content on social media helps you reach a larger audience faster. People may not know about your blog or your website, but every time you share links with your followers, you can build awareness of your brand. There are hundreds of millions of social users, so it makes sense to take advantage of these networks and promote your content to your existing followers and to potential customers, clients or prospects.

It Increases Traffic and Exposure

The result of sharing your content on social media is generally increased traffic for your blog or website. If you don't have many engaged followers, you may not see much traffic from your social posts, but you will very rarely see any negative effects from social posting (unless you're spamming or sharing content that has no apparent value).

It Fast-Tracks Search Indexing

Posting your content to social channels helps it to get indexed faster by search engines.

Tweeting an article is known to cut indexation time by up to 50%. Sharing a new post on Google+ is said to have a similar effect. The resulting benefit is that your content will be crawled by search engines quicker, and will begin to appear in relevant search results sooner than it would otherwise.

It Boosts Your Ranking

If your content generates high levels of engagement, it can assist your domain's ability to rank higher in search. This is because social engagement demonstrates relevance and value to your audience. In other words, when people 'like', share, retweet or comment on your content, it is considered more relevant.

Social bookmarking (Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg, etc.) can also have a similar effect on your ranking, again for similar reasons. The more your content gets bookmarked, the greater its estimated relevance and value.

It Creates Relevant Inbound Links

Posting on social media creates relevant links back to your site, which could result in increased traffic or rankings.

Backlinking strategies (i.e. getting more links pointing to your website across the web) used to be a pretty big deal, because when a search engine like Google crawled your site, backlinks was one of things it assessed to determine your rank. However, Google has changed their algorithm a couple of times over the last few years, and the same tactics don't work anymore.

Most of the time, links pointing back to your site are either good, or at worst, neutral. Again, as long as you're not trying to spam, inflate your numbers artificially, or get links from sites with low rankings or negative reputations, links are generally good.

A Few More Things

Social media encourages many forms of participation including 'liking', sharing, voting, and commenting. As was pointed out earlier, high levels of engagement can lead to better rankings and that's why social media is such a great place to share your content.

Here are a few final tips you can use to make the most of your social media marketing efforts:

  • Take advantage of Google Authorship: by linking content you create with your Google+ profile, you can increase overall engagement. First, you need to set up your Google+ profile with a visible headshot, and add yourself as a contributor to sites that you post to. Then you need to link back to your profile from the sites you publish to with the author rel tag. The result is that your picture will appear next to articles you've written in Google search results. Photos are known to engage on the internet, so having your picture next to your content adds credibility and could have positive effects on your ranking as well.
  • Choose your sites: rather than trying to hit every mark with a shotgun approach, take some time to look at the social sites that are out there, and what kind of people they appeal to. Based on this information, choose the tools that fit your niche.
  • Define your goals: it's always better to be on purpose than to haphazardly publicize your content on social sites. Have a plan for who, what, when, how, and most importantly why you're posting