Employee Advocacy can prove highly valuable for improving search engine rankings and visibility online. It's all about getting your employees on board and investing in your content.
Social media sharing is a major part of Employee Advocacy success. Period. We’ve heard time and time again how people trust people over brands — and to take it a step further — people trust people they know even more.
When employees band together and consistently share company content on social media, this high level of amplification expands into networks the company would be hard-pressed to reach alone. Assuming the content is engaging enough, this reach turns into actions that lead to more referral traffic and potentially to website conversions.
There are many factors at play that ultimately support your SEO efforts, and Employee Advocacy has the ability to make a positive impact if it’s done right.
Does Social Media Really Improve SEO?
There has been A LOT of debate over the years about whether or not social media legitimately helps improve SEO. In Moz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors 2015, they had this to say about the correlation between social media and ranking:
"Always controversial, the number of social shares a page accumulates tends to show a positive correlation with rankings. Although there is strong reason to believe Google doesn’t use social share counts directly in its algorithm, there are many secondary SEO benefits to be gained through successful social sharing." — Moz
In a more recent Moz article, Larry Kim, Founder and CTO of Wordstream, explored the relationship further and did some interesting research to discover that social media can influence SEO.
“Really, the argument isn't whether social sharing causes organic search rankings or organic rankings cause social sharing. It's about how engaging your content is.” — Larry Kim
No matter your stance on the SEO and social media debate, one thing is certain. The more engaging your content is, the more actions people will take. Those actions will drive traffic and send signals to the search engine gods that your content holds real value.
Here are a few ways to bolster your SEO efforts with a strong Employee Advocacy program.
Create a Sound Social Media Employee Policy
Not every employee has a deep understanding of social media — say, like your marketing department does. While amplifying your content far and wide is one of the many moving parts of SEO, things can get pretty hairy if there isn’t a thoughtful strategy behind the team effort.
Having a social media employee policy in place will align your team, so they know what to pay attention to and what not to do when they’re sharing content. Brand messaging can quickly fly out the window when everyone has a unique voice in a public space. One of the easiest ways to ensure consistency is with an Employee Advocacy platform, where you can have tailored, on-brand messages ready to share for your team.
(Need help creating a social media policy? Read our practical guide here.)
Focus on Producing Shareworthy Content
Creating content for the sake of content is never a good move. It’s better to take the time to produce high-quality content that will show your brand as an authority on a given topic. Quality matters both for the reader and the search engines, but it also matters to your employees.
If you’re asking employees to share content, make sure it’s worth sharing. Remember, they are promoting company content to their personal networks, which is completely by choice. Stay focused on educational topics, versus promotional, and your employees will be more likely to get behind the content strategy and show their support.
Encourage Participation with Employee Generated Content
Employee Generated Content (EGC) is a variation of User Generated Content that involves the wealth of thought leaders right in front of you — your team. Nobody knows your business like they do, so why not leverage their expertise to make the most engaging content possible?
Having employees directly involved in content production is a win-win for everyone. The employee gets a chance to establish themselves as thought leaders in a familiar and supportive space — and they will share the content they masterminded, without question. This inclusion helps employees feel a deeper connection with the company, which will lead to higher retention rates long term. You can support relevant content creation by having the marketing department provide employees with topics and keywords that are most useful for boosting SEO rankings.
Engaged Employees = More Content Validation
Engaged employees sharing engaging content can lend a helping hand when you’re working to improve your SEO efforts. If employee advocates are speaking highly of your brand, significant results will follow. Picture this: More click-throughs, more website visitors, more validation for your content that can affect your organic ranking.
The ultimate goal of Employee Advocacy is to build trust, both with your team and your audience. Having more eyes on your content is good, but taking action is better. Creating a solid Employee Advocacy program, rooted in trust, will benefit your brand.