What is social SEO? 5 tips to improve yours.

A sign representing social SEO and getting found Picacho Way Arizona courtesy US Natl Archives on Flickr Commons
Where are you? SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about getting found online. Nowadays, it is more important than ever in social media, through social SEO. Lonely sign for Picacho Way, somewhere in Arizona circa 1972, courtesy the U.S. National Archives on Flickr Commons.

Did you know that people are using social media instead of (or in addition to) Google to search for information?

That means that social SEO – optimizing your social media posts and account bios with relevant, search-friendly keywords – matters a lot if you want to be more easily found online.

We all know that SEO is very important for website pages and blog posts.

It is also increasingly important in your social media content, and in the wording of your various social media account bios.

More and more of your visitors, guests, and customers (especially the younger ones) are using social media as a search engine, particularly Gen Z which leans hard on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube search results because they don’t trust a lot of the garbage-y, gamed, or paid links they’re seeing in regular Google search results.

For a couple of years now, I’ve advocated getting more long-term reach and benefit from social media posts by turning them into content that lasts longer through social search and smart social SEO, like turning Reels into YouTube Shorts and Stories into Pinterest Pins.

YouTube and Pinterest help your content last longer.

YouTube is a popular platform across all demographics; see the latest Pew Research Social Media Fact Sheet.

Pinterest is not really a social network – it’s an inspiration search engine, including for travel.

Related post – Pinterest marketing for tourism; insights from Visit Muskegon, Michigan

So what can you do right now to improve your social SEO and make yourself more find-able on social media?

Here are five suggestions:

1) Review and improve your social media account bios

Make absolutely sure that your important destination, attraction, hotel, or tourism partner business keywords are in each account bio.

Check that there’s spacing in your account name, so it’s more searchable and easier to find. You want Visit Tulsa, for example, not VisitTulsa. The URL will be Instagram dot com slash VisitWhatever, of course, but the account handle needs to have spacing between the words, or the words are not easily searchable.

I see this bio mistake problem more often than you’d expect, and have for years.

You have a lot of room in bios for Facebook and LinkedIn, but much less so for Instagram, Threads, TikTok, Twitter / X, and Snapchat.

Make every word count.

Related post – 4 ways to do simple SEO research

Feeling stuck?

Incorporate a common visitor search phrase in your bio wording . . . This is where you’ll find things to do in XYZTown.

Your visitors are searching “things to do in YourDestinationName,” I guarantee it.

IMPORTANT – always be clear about your location in every social media bio.

What state or province or region are you in?

For example, there are many towns named Birmingham in the U.S. There’s one in Alabama, but others in Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, and Kansas. There’s a Birmingham in the U.K. and another in Canada.

Be clear in each social bio where you are. Never assume that visitors magically know this information!

2) Be more mindful of text and keywords in your social posts

Don’t post an image or video without at least a sentence or two explaining what it’s about. Those are keywords. They matter for social SEO.

Posting video captions or a video transcript helps, too. Make it easy for individual social platforms to crawl your content and figure out its topic and relevance.

Yes, hashtags are still important, especially on Instagram, but keywords in captions really do matter.

Don’t post a photo or video without some context and descriptive wording, in addition to relevant hashtags, especially on Instagram.

Be mindful of trending topics related to travel and tourism, and post about them IF they fit your marketing goals.

Here are trending travel topics on Pinterest in Canada, for example (look to the top right of the page at the link to switch countries or regions, and Filters in the left side box to make other changes.)

Do any of the trends fit your destination?

3) Tag the location where possible

Visitors, guests, and customers look for social media posts from specific locations.

It gives them a relatively unfiltered and current look at what’s being posted and what’s going on in that exact location before they plan a visit.

When you post, mention and tag the location whenever you can.

4) Content titles and descriptions need attention – they are key for social SEO

This is particularly important on YouTube and Pinterest.

Related post – park your tourism marketing videos on YouTube 

5) Use complete and descriptive ALT tags, video captions, and video transcripts

Everything in a post matters for social SEO.

The ALT tags describing a photo (including any text in the image) matter.

Video subtitles matter.

A video transcript matters. (Plus, honestly, I’m a reader. I will not sit through a video with somebody talking, but I WILL skim a transcript of it.)

What are your thoughts about social SEO? Any tips to offer?

Let me know in the comments, and keep learning.


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