Are Hashtags the New Keywords?

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As a majority of you would probably know by now, the social media world is very much-so starting to take over every corner of the Internet, and for a company looking to boost their SEO and extend their customer base, it’s a very relevant topic.

Using Hashtags as Keywords

As a heavy social media user myself, I constantly find myself browsing through apps such as Instagram and Facebook looking for suggestions on what’s “good”, based on popular hashtags, as well as the frequency a specific company appears in my feed. It’s not just about the typical ‘Google’ or ‘Bing’ search anymore. Rather than choosing specific, singular keywords or forming natural questions to type into Google, most people these days that own a device connected to the Internet would just jump straight onto Instagram or Twitter and search the hashtags instead. I know that if I were looking for a café or restaurant in the Sydney area to eat at, I would go straight onto my Instagram and search #sydneycafes, #sydneybesteats, or even more specific #sydneypizza. As a result of social access becoming larger and larger, most people use this as a resource when searching for products or services, and can even use someone’s social media persona as an indicator as to whether or not they seem “legit” enough. Social media pages come across more personal than a webpage, and allow consumers to gain a sense of the company’s personality. And if they like what they see, it encourages traffic to their site via the link provided on their Instagram account.

instagram hashtag sydney best eats

Using Hashtags for Business

The use of hashtags show people what’s trending at the time, and allows companies to attract a larger target market who may not necessarily use traditional search engines when looking for something to fit their current needs. It provides a visual form of user experience, as well as allowing the consumer to have more fun with the search process of looking up multiple hashtags for a service or product. Hashtags are a more immediate promotion method, which drives engagement on social networks and increases traffic to websites via click-through of the link included in the social post where the hashtag was used. They also provide social SEO, so if people are searching tags using a social search engine, and if your posts are optimised with those tags you stand a better chance in ranking high in that users search query. They also assist companies interested in social SEO to view what the current trends are and make waves on social networking websites.

The Hashtag Pipeline

The only difference between Instagram hashtags and Google keywords is that consumers have the opportunity of viewing their results in photograph form. But is that really a bad thing? Rather than having to click on a link on Google and be directed to that site and having to make sure that that’s what you’re looking for. You can seamlessly scroll through a collection of images sharing the same hashtag, until you physically see an image that not only visually appeals to you but that also seems to match what you’re searching for. In which you can then go to that specific Instagram account and also click the link provided and go straight to their webpage. However, the key balance to maintain with social SEO is to find a point where you aren’t lost in the crowd, but still have a widely used and applicable hashtag.