This article was first published July 1st, 2019. It was most recently updated November 2021.
People often ask “do hashtags affect SEO?” or “are hashtags good for SEO?” As popular as hashtags have become, they’re so much more than just a pop culture phenomenon. They began as a way of organizing conversation topics on social media, but they’ve morphed into something bigger.
Twitter may have been the major innovator of the trend, but you can find it popping up everywhere now. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and even YouTube have all adopted the concept, and each platform is doing its own thing with it. If you’re not using tags in your social media strategy, you’ll want to read on to discover the benefits. Your SEO can flourish if you take the right steps on each social platform. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
- Are hashtags good for SEO?
- Do hashtags improve social media activity?
- What makes a good hashtag for each platform (and how many to use)?
Are Hashtags Good for SEO?
While hashtags are primarily used in social media strategies, they can have a beneficial indirect impact on SEO and website traffic just like social media can. And here’s how:
- Hashtags help people find information more quickly.
- Your content is placed in front of the right audience that can find the information valuable.
- It can increase your chances of getting exposure and more traffic back to your website from an aligned target audience.
- It can increase backlink opportunities by getting valuable content seen by others that may link back to your website.
The two may be separate channels, but they are not mutually exclusive. Integrating SEO and social media to further enhance the impact of each channel is something every business should be taking advantage of.
Do Hashtags Improve Social Media Activity?
Many users of social media follow a particular hashtag to keep them in the loop on their favorite topics. Whether this helps keep individuals up-to-date with current trends, find new outlets, or discover new information within a certain hashtag, the options are endless. If you tag your posts with popular words, you can increase your chances of people finding you. Keep in mind, the hashtag you choose should have relevance to both your company and the post itself. Don’t clog someone’s feed by tagging a completely unrelated subject. If you want people to find you on social media, then having the right hashtag does have an impact. Overall, it helps individuals find or give direction to the things they may be looking for on different social media platforms. And ultimately, more views from hashtags can drive more website traffic.
What Makes a Good Hashtag for Each Platform (and How Many to Use)?
Hashtags include aspects such as networking, discovering new information about a topic, trends, advertisements, connecting communities and people with the same passions, and help build lots of traffic towards a certain topic. While a single hashtag can create all of these purposes, it still has different strategies within each social platform. And within each platform, it can have a different sweet spot for the number of hashtags it needs per post.
Here is a list of different social media platforms and how to utilize and optimize your SEO hashtags:
Instagram is one of the best places to include hashtags within your posts. The more hashtags you add, the more opportunities you have to reach larger and broader audiences. Recommendations say to use 9 hashtags, but using more than nine won’t hurt your SEO.
Implementing SEO hashtags for Instagram includes adding keywords or phrases that relate with the image you post. The longer hashtags you tend to have, the more engagement tends to increase. Longer hashtags could include long-tailed keywords and being more specific. When the hashtags are more generalized, the less traffic it tends to bring on Instagram. Overall, hashtags bring great value to your SEO strategy on Instagram in widening your reach to more individuals interested in your specific content.
Facebook has an interesting relationship when it comes to using hashtags. It does not frown against using hashtags, however it can take time to see what hashtags work best and what don’t work. The less you use hashtags in posts the better when you’re testing out what works. Using roughly two to three hashtags on a post can help you keep track of what’s working. Having too many hashtags can become confusing and diminishes the intent of your post. Having hashtags can help categorize your content with related content in Facebook, but it’s best to use less hashtags than more.
LinkedIn has an important SEO strategy that you should be aware of when it comes to using hashtags in your posts. When you create a post and add hashtags to it, it will take the first 3 hashtags and add them into your URL link. With this in mind, it’s very important to think of the hashtags that are most important to the post and be sure to include them first. In this way, you’re more likely to get recognized from those hashtags first. This hashtag strategy works very closely with SEO to help your posts get recognized by people who are looking for them.
With LinkedIn hashtags, it can be best to use broader hashtags rather than specific ones. In this way it will give your post a wider range of people to reach out to. It might be shown and recommended to fewer people when there’s more specific hashtags. Also for those who are in LinkedIn Creator Mode, this mode offers the option to highlight 5 hashtags for topics that best represent your business and brand. Being broad and relatable with these hashtags help find potential customers and interests.
Twitter was the one who started it all with hashtags. Even as time has gone on, hashtags are still an important aspect of including them in your tweets. Tweets with hashtags tend to have twice the engagements than those without. With the limited character count, it can be hard to add hashtags in a tweet. If you are able to add them in, having one to two hashtags can help your tweet technique advance.
Just like implementing keywords into content, the most important element to adding hashtags into tweets is making it seem natural and relevant. So be sure to have a reason behind adding a # in front of a specific word or phrase. If it seems out of place or context, it can throw users and Twitter off. Aim your hashtags to help summarize what you’re saying or to help point out the main theme within your tweet. Using these techniques will help optimize your hashtags and tweets.
Hashtags are one of the best ways to help describe what’s going on in the pin or image. Having more of a quality over quantity approach to Pinterest’s hashtag approach will help get you far. While it can be good to add lots of hashtags to a pin, Pinterest recommends using no more than 20 hashtags per pin. Using up to 5-10 highly relevant hashtags at the end of your pin description will help optimize your pins as well. When they’re relatable to other pins it helps strengthen your SEO. It’s also better to add hashtags to fresh pins to help update and make them more relevant. Relevance and being up-to-date helps the overall optimization of your SEO hashtags on Pinterest.
TikTok has recently become one of the most popular social media platforms that utilizes hashtags the most. Using hashtags in TikTok videos is extremely important to your SEO strategy. It’s important to use long-tail words or phrases for hashtags when you first start using TikTok. It will help your video become more recognized and shared with broader audiences and specific individuals interested in your videos.
Find and use hashtags that you can rank well in and be at the top of an individual’s “for you” home screen (if that is your goal). Using hashtags helps generate a lot of traffic within TikTok. It will power your ability to optimize your content for the TikTok search engine. With all of the TikToks that people create, having specific keywords and hashtags will help people find them or help TikTok’s algorithm understand what a user likes and doesn’t like.
Pair Your Social Media Strategy with SEO
What makes a digital marketing campaign successful is taking a holistic approach to each channel and understanding how each one can serve the other. Using social media and SEO to work together instead of independently can have a significant, positive impact on your website. So start implementing strategic hashtags for added SEO and website benefits!
While we’re not a social media agency, Boostability has been helping small businesses with SEO for over a decade. Our experienced team of SEO professionals are dedicated to researching the latest updates in this landscape, testing out strategies to understand what truly works, and implementing an effective campaign that will drive results without exhausting your budget. Get in touch with our team today for more information or get a free website analysis to see what you can start doing now to improve your SEO!