While social media has been the darling of the marketing world for many years, until recently there were two distinct (if overlapping) camps when it came to driving traffic and leads to your business: social media, and SEO. Social SEO really wasn’t a ‘thing’ until relatively recently. Search Engine Optimisation has traditionally been seen as the province of those seeking to optimise website content for search on platforms like Google. While social media platforms have always been useful in driving traffic to sites, and in some respects are a vital aspect of improving your on-site SEO through social integration and sharing, 2024 sees the use of SEO on social itself rapidly rising to prominence. 

Social SEO – literally the optimisation of content for search on social media, as opposed to your blog or website – is emerging as a critical strategy for brands looking to enhance their online presence and engagement. Social SEO involves optimising your social media content and profiles to improve visibility within social media platforms’ search engines. As social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, and X (formerly Twitter) evolve, they are becoming primary sources of information for many users, particularly younger demographics who often prefer social searches over traditional search engines.

Millennials saw ‘Google it’ become a ubiquitous term for searching for something online. Gen Z are just looking at TikTok. 

This shift towards social searches is driven by user preferences for real-time, authentic, and community-driven content. The rise of social commerce has also played a role, with people more and more frequently taking to social media to search for products. The significance of Social SEO lies in its ability to increase the discoverability of content on social media, driving engagement, brand awareness, and traffic.

Unlike traditional SEO, which is largely driven by the Google gods and their algorithms, since the other platforms largely mirror these and function in much the same way, social SEO requires a tailored approach that leverages the unique features and algorithms of each social media platform. In other words, Instagram’s algorithm works differently to TikTok’s or Pinterest’s. This involves optimising profiles, posts, and interactions using relevant keywords, hashtags, and engaging content to ensure that they appear prominently in social searches.

Social media platforms have integrated advanced search functionalities, making them essential hubs for information retrieval. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram are gaining ground as primary search tools due to their ability to deliver quick, trend-based, and visually engaging content that resonates with users​​​. 

By mastering Social SEO, you can effectively ensure your content is seen by the right audience, at the right time, maximising your reach and impact.

And if you’re also working on optimising your website for search, social SEO is only going to further enhance those efforts (assuming you’ve effectively integrated your social platforms and website!).

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Discover the key to Social SEO in 2024. Learn how to optimise your social media for maximum visibility and engagement!

Understanding Social SEO

Social SEO marries traditional SEO strategies with social media practices to significantly boost content discoverability on various platforms (the usual suspects – Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, and the social artist formerly known as Twitter and now infuriatingly called X). As digital environments evolved, platforms like YouTube and Pinterest became self-contained search engines in their own right, and powerful assets for SEO strategies due to their search engine-like functionalities. 

For years, YouTube has been effectively used for SEO by creating video content that links back to specific website pages, enhancing both visibility and engagement, while videos are embedded in blogs and websites smoothly crosslinking your website and YouTube and giving your site’s SEO a huge boost. Similarly, Pinterest allows for the creation of pins that can direct traffic back to websites, leveraging its vast user base looking for specific topics and interests. There’s a reason I teach people to leverage both YouTube and Pinterest as easy ways to massively boost on-site SEO; they’re the ones that work like search engines.

In 2023, there was a noticeable surge in social platforms optimising their functionalities to enhance user experience (UX) with SEO in mind, and this trend has become even more pivotal in 2024. This involves not just passive content posting but actively optimising profiles, posts, and user interactions with well-researched keywords, popular and niche hashtags, and high-quality, engaging content. These elements work together to improve visibility and engagement, crucial for thriving in an increasingly competitive digital landscape.

Effective Social SEO strategy involves several key components:

  • Optimization of social profiles: Your social media profiles should include keyword-rich descriptions and content that aligns with what your target audience is searching for. This makes your profile easier to find and more likely to appear in search results.
  • Engaging and relevant content: Content should not only attract attention but also encourage interaction and sharing. High engagement rates boost the visibility of posts within the platform algorithms, increasing the likelihood of appearing in search results.
  • Strategic use of hashtags: Hashtags help categorise your content, making it discoverable to an audience interested in specific themes or topics. Using a combination of broad and niche hashtags can extend your content’s reach and connect with a more targeted audience.
  • Regular monitoring and adaptation: Social media and SEO landscapes are continually changing. Regular analysis and adjustments based on performance metrics are necessary to stay ahead. This includes keeping track of which keywords or hashtags bring the most engagement and adjusting strategies accordingly.

In essence, Social SEO is an integral strategy for anyone looking to leverage the full potential of social media for business growth and visibility. By understanding and implementing these practices, brands and marketers can significantly enhance their digital footprint across multiple platforms.

The Evolution of Social Searches

Social media platforms are now integrating (or have already integrated) advanced search functionalities, becoming crucial hubs for finding info on a vast array of subjects. Younger demographics in particular prefer social searches over traditional search engines, and this shift reflects a broader trend where traditional boundaries between social media and search engines blur, adapting to the way modern users gather and interact with information online.

Platforms like TikTok and Instagram are at the forefront of this transformation. They are increasingly becoming primary tools for searches, driven by user preferences for quick, trend-based, and visually engaging content. This change is facilitated by the platforms’ algorithms, which are finely tuned to surface content that is most likely to interest and engage users based on their past interactions.

TikTok, in particular, has evolved beyond a mere entertainment platform to become a potent search engine. Users, especially Gen Z, are turning to TikTok for searches ranging from DIY projects and cooking recipes to skincare advice and fitness tips. We’re now in the Facetime Era when users care less about polished, perfectly poised videos, and just want someone to tell it like it is. The platform’s ability to deliver relevant results quickly, combined with the entertaining format of short videos, meets the needs of users looking for immediate answers and engaging content.

Instagram has also enhanced its search capabilities. It supports visual and tag-based searches, making it a powerful tool for discovering products, inspiration, and trends. Users can search for specific hashtags or browse through categories like fashion, travel, and food. Instagram’s focus on aesthetics and visual content uniquely positions it as a search tool for industries where visuals are paramount.

Discover the key to Social SEO in 2024. Learn how to optimise your social media for maximum visibility and engagement!

The Future Of Social SEO

Much like the more traditional form of SEO that happens on Google and Yahoo! And Duck, Duck, Go and the like, Social SEO is an evolving field that requires continuous learning and adaptation. Those of us with a keen understanding of the regular kind of search engine based SEO have been aware for years that social platforms are – to a greater or lesser extent, depending on which you’re talking about – nothing but search engines. YouTube and Pinterest didn’t even bother hiding the fact. Twitter (fine, X) and Instagram were a little more subtle about it by using the much-loved hashtag, but the science behind it was all the same.

The only difference was that in the early days of Instagram and the like you had to ‘opt in’ to being shown content on the subject you searched for by following the hashtag. As algorithms evolved they learned to understand which other hashtags would be of interest to you based on the ones you already followed, and these days can figure out what you’ll like based on what you already interacted with. 

Like Google, which has developed its own advanced machine learning and natural language processing methods to doing away with keyword stuffing, social media has evolved to the point your own searches and the actions you take following them teach the platform what content you are interested it, allowing it to show you the most relevant videos, pics, and Tweets (nope, not budging on that one, we’re still calling them Tweets). 

Even Facebook’s On The SEO Bandwagon

Even Facebook has become more search-engine-esque these days. And as platforms go, that’s the one that was stymied by the friendship element for years, to the point that while hashtags have worked on the platform for ages nobody has ever bothered using them. 

We don’t follow hashtags on Facebook in the same way we would on Instagram or TikTok. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life clicked on a live hashtag to see other content related to that thing on Facebook. It’s just not how users interact with Facebook content, regardless of the platform’s functionality.

But again, the algorithms are getting away from us. Video played a huge role in this, as once all the major platforms started integrating video, they inherently began to function more like search engines, showing users content related to videos they’d already watched. The need to compete with TikTok drove both Instagram and Facebook to incorporate Reels, and now we essentially have For You feeds on our Facebook feeds. 

A For You feed – on any platform – is basically an intelligent search engine that is aware of what you’re interested in, searches itself for that stuff, then shows it to you.

Clever 💩.

And then of course there’s the growing conspiracy theory that certain platforms (Facebook in particular) cross-pollinates information. There’s no evidence for this that I’m aware of yet, but many (myself included) and observed that if you have a conversation with someone on WhatsApp about baby panther cubs, next time you load your Facebook low and beyond your feed shows you precisely that (true story, panther cubs are adorable). The creepier part is when you have a verbal conversation with someone while in the vicinity of your phone and Facebook starts showing you ads for stuff you’ve been talking about but never searched for on any device.

The Impact of Visual and Voice Search

The evolution of social searches also includes the rise of visual and voice search capabilities. Tools like Google Lens and similar functionalities within social platforms allow users to search using images instead of text. Voice search, facilitated by AI assistants, is also becoming more prevalent, further reflecting the integration of social media and search engine functionalities.

This trend towards more sophisticated social search capabilities indicates a significant shift in digital marketing strategies. Brands and marketers must adapt by optimising their social media content not just for engagement but also for discoverability through search. The focus is increasingly on keywords, hashtags, and the strategic use of multimedia content to improve search visibility on these platforms.

As social media continues to evolve, it’s clear that platforms like TikTok and Instagram will play increasingly central roles in how people find and consume content. For marketers and content creators, understanding and leveraging these changes is crucial to staying relevant and competitive in a fast-paced digital landscape.

How Social Media Platforms Use SEO

Each social media platform has its own version of SEO, and while they share commonalities across the board, the exact way you’ll need to optimise your content will depend on the platform you’re on. 


To optimise for SEO on Facebook, focus on completing all sections of your profile with relevant keywords. This includes the About section, descriptions, and updates. Regularly post engaging, high-quality content that incorporates keywords naturally. Facebook’s Graph Search appreciates interactions, so encourages comments and discussions to boost visibility. Also, ensure your content earns backlinks from reputable sources to enhance credibility and rank higher in search results​.


For Instagram, the strategic use of hashtags and keywords in your post captions and bio is crucial for discoverability. Regularly analyse your engagement metrics—likes, comments, and shares—as these play a significant role in influencing Instagram’s algorithm and boosting your content’s visibility​.

X (Let’s Face It We Still All Call It Twitter)

On X, utilise relevant hashtags and keywords in your posts and ensure your profile is fully optimised. Engage with trending topics to increase visibility and leverage the platform’s culture of rapid information sharing​.


Optimise your LinkedIn profile with industry-specific keywords and ensure all sections, like job titles and descriptions, are complete. Publish articles and engage with others’ content to boost your visibility in professional searches, which is critical for being found in LinkedIn searches.


Use popular and relevant hashtags, create engaging video descriptions, and actively participate in trends on TikTok. Focus on creating content that authentically engaged users, as TikTok’s algorithm prioritises videos based on user interaction data​.


For YouTube, it’s essential to optimise your video titles, descriptions, and tags with relevant keywords. High-quality, engaging videos that encourage viewers to spend more time watching your content can improve your channel’s SEO. Regularly update your content to keep your channel active and engaging​.


On Pinterest, creating pins that link back to your website can drive significant traffic. Use keywords in your pin descriptions and board titles to improve discoverability. High-quality images and well-organised boards enhance user engagement and can boost your pins’ visibility in search results​​.

These strategies highlight the importance of integrating SEO practices with social media to enhance discoverability and engagement across various platforms. Each platform has unique features and algorithms, and understanding these can significantly improve your social media strategy.

Discover the key to Social SEO in 2024. Learn how to optimise your social media for maximum visibility and engagement!

Best Practices for Social SEO

So, how exactly are you supposed to optimise your social media posts? The specifics depend on the platform you’re on, but there are few best practices you can use on everything to help boost your search visibility.

Keyword Research for Social Media

Effective keyword research is pivotal for successful social SEO. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and platform-specific insights are invaluable for discovering relevant keywords that resonate with your audience. This research helps align your content strategies with the search behaviour of your audience, ensuring maximum reach and engagement. It’s essential to regularly update your target keywords as trends and audience preferences evolve over time​​.

Content Strategy

Creating shareable, engaging content that adds genuine value is even more crucial than ever. Your content should cater to the interests and needs of your audience, incorporating the keywords identified through your research. A consistent posting schedule across platforms helps maintain audience engagement and boosts SEO efforts. Using a variety of content formats, such as images, videos, and stories, can help capture a broader audience and cater to different content consumption preferences​.

Engagement Strategies

Interacting with followers through comments, messages, and live sessions can significantly enhance engagement rates, an important metric that social media algorithms consider. Collaborating with influencers and encouraging user-generated content can expand your reach and influence. These strategies not only increase visibility but also foster a community around your brand​.

Analytics and Monitoring

Utilising analytics tools provided by social media platforms allows you to track the performance and engagement of your content. Monitoring key metrics such as reach, impressions, and conversions is essential to refine your social media strategies. This ongoing analysis helps you understand what content performs best and optimise your future posts to better meet the needs of your audience​.

By implementing these best practices, you can effectively enhance your social SEO, leading to greater content visibility and more robust engagement on social media platforms.

Challenges in Social SEO

And of course, there’s always a flipside to all the benefits and pitfalls to watch out for. Where social media is concerned, the issues you face are surprisingly similar to those experienced by SEOs seeking to raise the visibility of as website:

Platform Algorithms

One of the biggest challenges in social SEO is the ever-evolving nature of platform algorithms. Just as website SEOs wrestle with the Google gods to try and keep up with algorithms, each social media platform continuously updates its algorithms to refine how content is displayed and prioritised. Marketers must stay updated and adapt their strategies accordingly to ensure their content remains visible and engaging. This includes understanding changes like Instagram’s shift to prioritise recently interacted profiles and content or Twitter’s (sorry, X’s) emphasis on recency and relevance. Balancing SEO tactics with the creation of authentic, engaging content is crucial to avoid penalties from these algorithms, which can devalue overly optimised or spammy content​.

Content Saturation

With millions of content pieces uploaded every day across various platforms, standing out is increasingly challenging. The high volume of content leads to saturation, making it essential for marketers to develop unique and innovative content strategies that not only attract attention but also offer genuine value to their audience​​.

Balancing SEO and User Experience

While it’s important to optimise content for search algorithms, this must not compromise the quality and authenticity of the content. The key is to integrate SEO practices naturally and meaningfully, ensuring that they enhance rather than detract from the user experience. This balance is crucial because social platforms are adept at recognizing and penalising content that seems manipulative or overly engineered for SEO rather than user engagement​.

Addressing these challenges requires a keen understanding of both the technical aspects of SEO and the creative demands of content creation. Staying informed about algorithm updates, experimenting with content formats, and focusing on genuine engagement are essential strategies for overcoming the hurdles of social SEO.

What To Expect From Social SEO In The Future

Like any area of digital marketing, social SEO is still evolving. We can expect Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to become increasingly pivotal, shaping social media algorithms and enhancing user experiences by analysing data to personalise content feeds and advertisements more effectively. This personalisation is crucial as it aligns content more closely with individual user preferences and behaviours.

Voice search is also transforming how content is optimised for discovery on social media. With devices improving their voice interaction capabilities, content needs to be optimised for voice queries to remain competitive and accessible. Additionally, the integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies is creating new avenues for content interaction. These technologies offer immersive experiences that can significantly boost user engagement and are becoming a fertile ground for innovative social SEO strategies. And while they’re not in

Social media platforms are inevitably going to continue enhancing their search functionalities, making SEO an indispensable element of social media strategy. This involves deploying more sophisticated algorithms that better understand user intent and can deliver more precise and relevant search results. Beyond this, the integration of traditional SEO with social SEO is likely to become more prevalent. As the lines between search engines and social platforms blur, optimising content for both can provide a significant advantage, leveraging the strengths of each to maximise visibility and engagement.

Jumping on the social SEO bandwagon now will give you a head start on ensuring your social game is fully optimised. There is no avoiding this; we are rapidly approaching a point where those who aren’t actively optimising their content for search will simply no longer be seen. We’re still at a point where it’s not overly complex to actually use social SEO. This isn’t likely to last forever.

Remember, website SEO started off being as simple as finding a keyword and stuffing it into a piece of content as many times as you could manage. That was all there was to it. These days, its considerably more complex and a professional vocation in its own right.

And this SEO expert predicts that social SEO is going to go the same way! 

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