Social Links and SEO
There is no doubt that social media has brought forth a new era for webmasters and internet marketers. Apart from building brand awareness, spreading word of mouth and engaging users, it is also changing the way search engines choose to rank pages. Google and Bing recently announced that they are tracking social signals more than ever before, to consider the value of a page and how high it will rank.
Is backlinking becoming outdated?
Although the traditional SEO strategies such as backlinking, have not become obsolete, if you want to be ahead of the game, you need to shift some of your attention to social links. Social links are likes, tweets, +1s and equivalents from other social media sites (StumbleUpon, Digg etc.) that create a connection between your page and a social network user.
Unique and engaging content is what search engines are looking for and Google has been showing us they do not tolerate spammy, low-quality links and may penalize these bad SEO techniques. This is the case for backlinking, this is also the case for social linking.
How can social links boost a page’s ranking?
How do you know if you are doing it right? Since search engines are using social media more than ever before to evaluate the quality of a site, wouldn’t a great deal of likes, tweets and +1s raise your SERPs in no time and increase your online visibility? The answer here is no.
So which are the social links that actually count? The essential characteristics that distinguish high-quality links are trust and authority. Both Google and Bing state that social links coming from authority users are considered to have greater weight in their algorithms when deciding where to rank a webpage in the SERPs. This should not come as a surprise. Authority users are deemed as the experts. If an expert in the specific industry you are trying to target “likes”, recommends, talks about or shares you, the search engines will consider your content original, high-quality and worthy of being ranked higher for more people to see.
If you are a company in the paid search industry for instance, you should aim at getting social links from experts in the field. A few social links from some of the top influential PPC experts can quickly skyrocket your webpage’s ranking, whereas 100 social links coming from random people will have less value.
Authority and Influence
Apart from the significant boost a social link from a trustworthy authority can give your SERPs, it can additionally have other benefits for your social marketing strategy. Authority users are influencers. They have many followers, friends and connections and are trusted in their community, so they have the ability to engage others efficiently. A social link from them can start conversations within the social networks, improve your reputation and increase your reach.
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