You’ve heard it a thousand times. Content is king. You get it. But have you “gotten it” in the context of search engine results? Have you integrated your social content into your optimization plan? Doing so can greatly improve your rankings on two fronts.

First of all, that social media content, just like your website content, is fodder for search engines. A suite of active social channels gives your business a multitude of opportunities to keep fresh, engaging content out there for searchers to land on. And, if for search results alone, don’t discount Google+ among those channels. It pays.

Second, social media channels have joined search engines as tools for online searches. People use the tools they are most comfortable with. It’s no surprise the results they are given are ranked based on the preferences their online habits reveal. What does this mean? If your potential customer is a frequent Facebook user and searches a topic relevant to you, your effective Facebook posts are likely to be served up high in that prospect’s search results.

The result is an entree for your business that offers an engaging way for your prospects to get to know you through the social channels they favor. Isn’t that the ultimate goal of our social channels? Search is now giving us another reason to keep them active and relevant.

So if your social channels are important tools for search rankings, how do you optimize their value? Fill them with strong, relevant content. Following the five suggestions below will boost your results.

  1. Optimize your profile and your posts with your top keywords. Don’t forget these basics!
  2. Anchor posts with strong content – photo, video, infographic or a link – and a descriptive title.
  3. Include links. Sharing contributes to your brand’s authority and adds to your validity as a reliable source.
  4. Shorter is better. Click-through rates are up to six times higher on short (in the 40-character range) posts. That, of course, implies you’re giving them a reason to click through, i.e., strong content (see point number 2, above).
  5. Tell them what to do. Whether it’s click, share or retweet, be sure to invite your audience to engage. That not only moves them one step closer in your relationship, it also employs them in improving your rankings!