SEO for Social Media

Applying SEO practices to your social media will not only improve the performance of your content in-app. Your website will also benefit.

In its most basic form, search engine optimisation is about making your content and your website easy to find, by your audience and the search engines they use. If your content is easy to categorise, easy to read, accessible, accurate and helpful the Search Engines can more effectively serve it to the right people.

See our  SEO Cheat Sheet for a more detailed breakdown of SEO practices.

Applying these same principles to your social media content will not only improve your search results in-app but can also boost the ranking of your website.


Your social media presence helps build high quality backlinks to your website while also increasing your brand’s presence and authority.

Search for any brand or business and the top 4 results are likely to be their website #1 followed by their 3 most active social media accounts, possibly more. That’s fantastic because not only do users have multiple avenues to choose from to access your information, it also boosts your brand authority.

A screenshot from a Google search for Tin Can Creative showing that our website appears at the number 1 position and two of our social media accounts are at the number 3 and number 4 positions.

If your website has high quality, sharable content, the second page of search results will ideally show your content shared or promoted on other websites, social accounts, or blogs. Further increasing your authority and spreading your message even further.

This comes back to the #1 rule of digital marketing, content is key.

You want to make sure you’re creating entertaining, sharable or discussion worthy content. How to create high quality content is too broad a topic for this article but we can tell you how to make that content as effective as possible.

1. Know your brand, optimise your keywords. 

The first step to mastering SEO for social media is Identifying and utilising your primary keywords/ key phrases. They should be as simple and clear as possible, telling your audience exactly who you are and what you do.

For example, ‘Jenny’ lives in Melbourne and runs a personalised cookie business, Jenny Bakes that offers same day delivery. Therefore, all Jenny’s social media bios and about pages across the internet should contain the keywords:

Jenny Bakes – Her business name

Personalised cookies – What she does

Same day delivery – Her key service offering

For this particular example we would also recommend Jenny adds her location and delivery zone e.g. Melbourne metro.

That might look something like this:

A stylised mockup of a phone screen shows a fake instagram profile for the theoretical business 'Jenny Bakes'. It highlights the inclusion of the business name, what the business does and the key service offering in the accounts bio

 This setup ensures her accounts are easy to find if people are searching for her business via:

The brand name; Jenny Bakes.

Her services; personalised cookies or,

Her key service offering; same day delivery, in Melbourne.

2. Optimise your hashtags

We’ve highlighted how important your primary keywords are to your social media SEO, but this doesn’t apply to just your bios. Hashtags may seem a little daggy but they still contribute greatly to helping social media algorithms understand your content.

The key is to make sure you’re using the right hashtags, correctly. You only want to use tags that are:

1. On-brand
2. Specific to your niche
3. Relevant to the post

Try and think about what valuable information your post offers and how you would search for it. For example; if Jenny’s latest post shows a box of personalised cookies, prepared for a hen’s day. So her post might include the following hashtags:

#personalisedcookies #personalisedcookieshensday #hensdaycookies #hensdaycookiesmelbourne

She should also consider potential synonyms. Some people may also be searching for bachelorette in place of hens.

#personaslisedbachelorettecookies #bachelorettecookies #bachelorettecookiesmelbourne

Or custom instead of personalised.

Another mockup of the new post page on Instagram, highlighting the use of hashtags in a post for Jenny Bakes

3. Reach more people with Alt Tags

In the interests of accessibility, most social media apps and digital platforms now allow you to include alt tags on your images. Alt tags assist screen readers to describe the contents of an image for people with visual impairment.

Images are included in your content for a reason and often include important context or information. Especially when the image contains text e.g. promoting a sale or special offer that might not be fully apparent in the caption.

By accurately describing your image you’re not only making it accessible to a wider range of people you’re also pumping it with extra keywords.

An example of how to access the alt tags tab in the advanced settings of Instagram

Note that alt tags serve a specific purpose and should be used accordingly. Click here to learn more about writing alt tags that are actually helpful.

4. Caption your videos

Every video you post should include captions for three reasons:

1. Most people keep their phone on silent.
2. It’s more accessible for the deaf or hearing impaired.
3. Keywords, keywords, keywords!

60-85% of people use social media without sound.

We can all relate. Unless you’re at home or have headphones in you’re likely not wanting to disrupt those around you while browsing social media. If your video has no captions users are likely miss half of the information you have to share or simply keep scrolling.

This is bad because view through rates (VTR) contribute greatly to your video and account performance. If the algorithm sees too many users leaving the video after a few seconds, it’ll be less likely to share it.

Including captions increases the chances of your video being viewed through, increasing your VTR, which leads to better reach.

About 3.6 million Australians have some level of hearing loss.

As with alt tags, including captions in your videos makes your content accessible to more people. Why wouldn’t you want that!

But you need to take an active approach to this. Relying on automated closed captions can result in confusing or inaccurate translation. Which could also cause you to miss out on including some of your important keywords and phrases.

Transcribe your videos for maximum performance.

There are a handful of options available for transcribing your video’s audio. Either via video editing software such as Premier Pro, or the many tools online.

Doing this will create a SubRip Subtitle (SRT) file, packed with your keywords and phrases that you can upload alongside your video file on video sharing sites such as Youtube or Vimeo. As well as social sites like Facebook.

While the uploader processes your captions it’ll also be taking note of the keywords that appear throughout. Helping the algorithm understand what your video is about and therefore how to match it to viewers.


It should be clear by now how SEO for social media can improve performance in-app but what does this mean for your website?

There are several benefits to adopting social media SEO but the three main ones are:

1. Improving your authority

If your content is high quality, easy to find and enjoyable, people are more likely to interact with it. Liking, commenting, sharing or referencing it on their own socials/ website. All of these actions get noted by search engines, letting them know that people like your stuff.

2. Boosting your online presence

As with the above, if people are liking and sharing your content, your name is likely to appear in more places across the web. Increasing your online presence, helping you reach even more people.

3. Widening your sales funnel

Social media has a very important role in drawing people into your sales funnel. The content you share should either originate from and/or draw people to your website. The further it reaches the wider the mouth of your funnel becomes. Drawing more people to your website.

An infographic, highlighting how set for social media can impact your website

Social Media as a search engine.

Beyond optimising your social media content for discovery, it can also be helpful to consider social media’s potential as a search engine in its own right.

For many Google is the go-to option for getting answers on the internet, so that’s where most businesses focus their attention. But many overlook the use of social media as a first port of call in finding information, especially for younger users. According to Google exec, Prabhakar Raghavan close to 40% of young people turn to social media when seeking information.

And it makes sense. Think about the way you use social media, on the surface it’s to keep up to date and connect with our social circles. But many users also follow their favourite TV shows, personalities, business, and brands. Our actions in-app quickly train algorithms to learn our interests and link us to new content we’re likely to enjoy.

Because of this, social media sites can effectively become personalised search engines. Google certainly has a very accurate and powerful algorithm, but it also has an almost infinite content pool to pull from. On social media the pool is smaller and more personalised, making it easier to find a product or service that suits our individual tastes.

For example, searching for ‘summer dress’ on the Google shopping tab could return a very wide variety of styles. Served by websites ranging from the very reputable to the extremely suspect.

A screenshot of the Google Shopping Tab showing results for 'summer dress'

A similar search on Pinterest, however, will likely return a more specific selection. Often presented in a stylised or relatable way as these images are likely to be pulled from street style fashion blogs or a brand’s campaign shoot. This adds an element of inspiration or aspiration to the product featured, which may not the present in a simple product photo.

You may not find the exact dress you’re looking for in a social media search but for many it’s a great first stop to get inspiration, narrow down the selection and possibly even discover your new favourite brand.

A screenshot of the results from a Pinterest search for 'summer dress'. The selection shows stylised or street style photos

As a business, being aware of this avenue of discovery can greatly increase your brand’s reach and strengthen the pathways leading back to your website.

Searching for in-the-moment information.

Finally, we should acknowledge social media’s role in sharing and accessing up-to the moment information.

Updating social media is generally, far easier and more efficient than editing websites. Therefore, if something urgent comes up, most businesses will share that information on social media first, then their website later, if applicable.

For example, on a public holiday some business may choose to be open. Their Google business listing might not accurately relay this information but a handy post to social media, makes it clear.

Therefore, if people are wanting to get brunch on a public holiday, including the relevant keywords in your post can help you reach extra customers and cover your staff’s holiday rates!

Implementing SEO for social media content is a no-brainer

The performance of your social media accounts improves as well as your website SEO. Together increasing and authenticating your presence on the internet.

As always we hope you found this guide helpful but if you need a little extra help implementing SEO on your social media, get in touch.


Tin Can Admin