While Google may seem to be ever-changing, even fickle, the masterminds behind the search engine’s algorithms have the same goal as any service provider does: to offer its users a top quality experience. In the case of Google, the users want honest, meaningful, and engaging content. They want answers and amusement. Most importantly, they want to connect.

That means optimizing your company website for search and discovery requires more than keywords and meta-tags. To fully reap the benefits of SEO, businesses must diversify their efforts, using social media in conjunction with the company website in order to connect with communities, make their presence known beyond their website, and prove their credibility.

Connect with your community

Social media posts can increase your local renown through interactions with other New Orleans-based businesses and through participation in events in and around New Orleans. If you’re speaking at a Chamber of Commerce Power Breakfast, have someone record the presentation and share it via social media. If your business is sponsoring French Quarter Fest or Jazz Fest, be sure to have someone on the scene live Tweeting. These New Orleans-centric posts will help search engines identify your company as a local authority, which boosts your website’s authority as well.

Make your presence known

Social media not only helps you connect with communities, it allows you to build communities. The larger your community, the farther your message can travel. The farther your message travels, the more people it reaches.

As your company gains followers on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and other social media platforms, your search engine rankings go up. The caveat is this: your followers must be real. The all-seeing Google does know when you’ve bought and paid for followers, and it does not approve.

However, if your message is authentic and dependable and your followers are authentic and dependable, social media delivers your brand and its message well beyond the borders of your company website and the boundaries of New Orleans, which in turn authenticates your website’s authority and SEO.

Prove your credibility

We’ve said before than Google likes websites with a good reputation, and one of the best ways to demonstrate that your site is in good standing is through link building. As more people share and link to your site, it gains credibility.

Without social media, businesses must wait for other sites to find them and link to them. Through social media’s reach, your message is shuttled it out into the broader community, making it easier to find and share.

Those links to your site from social media platforms provide diverse, prolific external inbound links, and that’s good for SEO. If you properly optimize your posts, Google will even do you the favor of sharing social media posts on its results pages.