The modern face of SEO is no longer about manipulating search engine spiders, stuffing content with as many keywords as possible or threading the web with as many spammed links to your website as you can.
Instead, the optimization environment has changed and things have become much more human focused than they have ever been before; especially in the wake of major Google updates such as Penguin or Panda, both of which focus much more intensely on filtering out low quality content that does not engage human readers.
In this new landscape of SEO, you as a website owner or SEO services provider absolutely need to focus your or your clients’ optimization efforts on creating a strong presence with real human fans, and using this to build your ranking in the search engines.
In this same modern landscape, one of the best ways to pull that aim off is by taking full advantage of social networks!
Currently, nearly half of all web traffic is being generated through the lenses of various social networks that have sprung up in just the last several years.
Over one billion people—more than half of all internet users—regularly find their online content through the organic word-of-mouth sharing networks that exist on the world’s top social network systems.
The Real Impact Of Social Networks On SEO
Platforms such as Facebook—which is the largest of all social systems with over 1 billion members, followed by Twitter (more than 250 million users), LinkedIn (170+million users) and numerous other global social networking systems are slowly becoming some of the digital world’s top means of spreading news, promoting things and advertising in a classical sense.
Obviously, with these trends emerging at a dramatic pace all over the world, you need to learn how to take full advantage of them if you really want to fully optimize your website ranking.
The bottom line, as far as social media’s impact on SEO is concerned, is that these immense, powerful and largely organic platforms for content and information distribution have come to have an enormous influence over where web users shift their attention on the net.
Since social networks don’t base the popularity of a given link on algorithmic decision-making systems, the nature of SEO itself has become far more human interest-based instead of depending on software bots.
In its effort to keep up with this trend (and compete with social network-powered content distribution), Google itself, the most dominant of the search engines, has begun to integrate the same organic value metrics into their machine-based ranking scripts, further reinforcing the value of natural popularity and value-building strategies over rules of optimization.
Whether social signals affect your website rank in search results is still debated. There’s a correlation that may or may not be causation, but the end result is clear: Google is moving more and more toward serving up results based on the perceived quality of content. And quality is determined primarily by the way content is linked to and shared across the internet.
Some Social Media Tips For Your Own Site Optimization
Given all the uncontrollable trends, you absolutely need to adapt to the shifting politics of online search rank if you want your own domain to stay out of the dust at the side of the highway.
This means discarding more than a few old practices that revolved around manipulating code and learning how to engage real human readers on a practical, continuous level. Here are some key basic guidelines.
Forget About Search Algorithms, Focus On Value
Focusing too much on algorithms is exactly what got so many site owners in trouble with their web rank in the last couple of years; instead of concentrating on creating lasting content that people want to pay attention to and share, they put too much of their SEO effort into designing link profiles and websites whose main quality was their attractiveness to a bunch of soon-to-evolve search algorithms.
Don’t continue this mistake.
Instead, do what many should have done from the start and create a well-organized website that’s had good research effort put into it so that it can identify genuine human interest niches and deliver the goods for the people searching in those niches.
This should be your most basic and fundamental step; it’s what will make your social media-based efforts much easier to develop successfully because you’ll have something to actually offer in this new content environment.
Join The Social Network Landscape
Having created the kind of content you at least hope is going to make an impact and get people’s attention, you now need to build your own branded space in the social network landscape.
This includes opening accounts in all the major networks and at the very least networks where the majority of your niche fan-base candidates are found. Open your accounts under the brand by which your online domain presence goes and start integrating them with your actual website.
The more visible and widely shared your content, the more natural links you will build without the “gaming” factor that Google has made extended efforts to penalize.
Thoroughly Integrate Your Site Pages With Social Media
Your site may deliver the goods to real human viewers, but you’ve got to fully embed it with a social sharing infrastructure; you obviously don’t want to have a situation in which people love your work but can’t easily spread the word about it.
Integration of easily visible, fully operational sharing buttons needs to be done for every page of your site and at the very least for every major content page that is share-worthy.
Also, these sharing features should be both up-to-date and as hassle free as possible—viewers and potential fans are quick to note a convenient feature on a site, and likewise to become impatient with one that isn’t.
Keep Promoting And Creating
If there’s one thing that social media and search engines really love and largely depend on, it’s freshness. Take as full advantage of this as you can by constantly growing your social fan base and frequently post interesting new links, tools, apps and any other valuables you think your fans will love or get something useful out of.
Self-promotion to a human audience is absolutely crucial in the new, less black-hat-friendly digital landscape, so it’s a skill you’ll have to master as much as possible if you want to create a decent list of social followers that will also raise your general SEO rank.
Have you made an effort to integrate social sharing into your website? Have you noticed any effect on traffic and rankings? Let me know your thoughts.