Well, here’s the thing: Google handles over 11 billion queries per month and Facebook is approaching 700 million users. There are over 5 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, and there is more information created every two days than between the dawn of civilization and 2003. The age of communications and digital relationships between brands, the media and consumers has changed faster and in ways few could have anticipated.

With an ever increasing universe of data and ways to connect, PR and communications professionals are in a compelling position to master the new rules for consumer information discovery, consumption and sharing. As participants and content creators savvy about the search and social web, PR professionals can directly impact online brand visibility, customer engagement and acquisition.

A big part of how Public Relations pros can show more value for their efforts is to understand how the intersection of search and social media provides a powerful means to reach and engage media and consumers that inspires interaction, sharing and meaningful business outcomes.

But how exactly do you make use of this information? How will you ensure that your social media efforts are boosting your search ranking? Here are some useful SEO strategies you can use in your social media efforts.

1. Make the Most of Social Media Metadata

Including social media metadata in your content helps you optimize how people get a preview of your link on social media platforms. The goal is to make sure that the content looks interesting enough for people to click on, as this translates to more page visits, which is good for SEO.

2. Increase Your Following

Having a high number of followers improves your chances of ranking higher in search results. When you have lots of followers, you’re sharing your content with this massive following where the chances of having your content seen are high. The more people seeing your content, the better the chance of being shared or interacted with.

Let’s say you have 1,000 authentic followers interested in your content and you share an article relevant to your niche with these 1,000 followers. Even if only 10% of those followers see your content, that’s 100 people. And let’s say 50% of those who saw the content decided to share it, so that’s 50 people sharing your content within their own circle.

On the other hand, let’s say you have 100 followers all interested in your content and you share an article with them. Even if 50% of these followers see your content, that’s only 50 people. Out of these 50 people, not everyone is going to share the content. If 80% of them decide to share it, that’s just 40 people.

3. Make the Most of Keywords

Effectively using keywords in your posts helps you increase the visibility of these posts. This can result in more clicks and page visits. When you optimize the caption and description of your social media content using a popular keyword, there’s an increased possibility that the content will pop up when users conduct a search using the keyword. Just like you do with your page content, you’ll need to conduct thorough keyword research and find out the most relevant and highly-searched keywords you can use on certain posts.

Now for the skeptics

Google’s Matt Cutts released a video saying that social signals––metrics such as Facebook likes and Twitter followers, which indicate a profile’s authority and influence––do not affect search rankings. But it should not be seen as an invitation for marketers to dismiss social’s impact on SEO. Instead, marketers should broaden their concept of search and SEO to take into account the myriad ways that people find content on the web. They also need to think about the positive effects that increased traffic from social can potentially have on their search rankings as well as the prominence of social profiles on first-page search results.

Ultimately, the web is all about building relationships, fostering audiences, expressing identity and sharing ideas––it’s inherently social, and there’s no reason that SEO best practices would go against the grain, especially since the rules that govern SEO are ultimately meant to make the web a more enjoyable and useful place.