If you’re a social media novice, #hashtags — those short links preceded by the pound sign (#) — may seem confusing and unnecessary. But they are integral to the way we communicate online, and it’s important to know how to use them. Before we dive into how hashtags can benefit your SEO efforts, here’s a little background on how #hashtags and #tweets came to be.
A Brief Explanation
On Twitter, the pound sign (or hash) turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link. This allows you to organize content and track discussion topics based on those keywords. So, if you wanted to post about a certain season of Walking Dead, you would include #WalkingDead in your tweet to join the conversation. Click on a #hashtag to see all the posts that mention the subject in real-time.
The hashtag’s widespread use began with Twitter but has expanded to other social media platforms. Developer Chris Messina proposed, in a tweet, that Twitter begin grouping topics using the hash symbol. Twitter initially rejected the idea. But in October 2007, citizen journalists began using the hashtag #SanDiegoFire, at Messina’s suggestion, to tweet updates on a series of forest fires in San Diego. The practice of hashtagging took off; now users and brands employ hashtags to cover serious political events and entertainment topics alike.
How Exactly Do #Hashtags Help SEO?
#Hashtags now go beyond being used only for discovering the latest trending topics. They can now add value to your #SEO campaigns and, by using them properly on social media, you can drive long-term, steady referral traffic back to your site. So how can your brand take advantage of this feature? Incorporating hashtags into your social media posts will mean you have more opportunities to place your content in Google search results. Well-placed hashtags in your blog titles, #Facebook, #Instagram, and #Twitter posts create an additional way for users to search and discover your brand. Even links to hashtags in descriptions on #Pinterest posts are now showing up in Google search results.
By optimizing your blog, post, video, or graphic descriptions with hashtags, your topic becomes categorized and placed directly in front of readers who are genuinely interested in learning more. A properly placed hashtag can prompt readers to visit your webpage or share your information further, improving social media activity and visibility – key for generating SEO success.
#Google has even begun incorporating hashtags into search results. Searching for a hashtag on Google will give you a list of search results and links to other hashtag feeds on other social networks. For example, If you do a Google search for “Coca-Cola,” you will see the Coca-Cola website, Wikipedia page, and recent news articles. But add a hashtag and #cocacola will yield posts containing that hashtag, as well as links to every Coca-Cola social media page.
Finding information by searching for specific hashtags has become a new form of communication. More and more people are using hashtag searches to discover information, which is a way of searching that SEO specialists can now take advantage of.
RCM #Hashtag Tip!
Give context: A tweet that contains only hashtags is not only confusing — it’s boring. If your tweet simply reads, “#happy,” your followers will have no idea what you’re talking about. Similarly, if you tweet, “#WalkingDead is #awesome,” you’re not really adding much to the conversation. So start incorporating #hashtags into your social media marketing plan and watch the effect it has on your SEO.
Still struggling with hashtags? Check out Red Crow Marketing’s Beginner’s Guide to Hashtags for some more insight. RCM is your local SEO company in Springfield, MO, serving clients with a variety of marketing services. Contact us today if you’re interested in taking your brand’s SEO efforts to the next level.