I watched a video recently on YouTube where Matt Cutts said Google is now paying more attention to how a website or blog is connected to social media. He also stated that data received from social media influence may eventually replace backlink analysis. Google realizes that faking link popularity is easy when site owners use Xrumer or ScrapeBox for example, but faking social influence on Facebook is a lot more difficult.
So what does that mean to you, a blog or site owner? If you haven’t been using dubious methods for getting backlinks and have built a strong social media presence then you’ve been doing the right thing. Google is always looking at relevancy, and if you hired someone for pennies to leave comments on just any old blogs that have a do follow attribute just for the purpose of getting backlinks, you may have wasted your efforts.
Google is continuing to be far more interested in seeing traffic to your site from social media – which means real people are visiting you because they like what you have to offer. If you’ve taken the trouble to provide those visitors with excellent and valuable content then you’re probably on the way to building a successful business, if you’re not already there.
I may have mentioned before that I’ve always supported the idea that having a handful of authority sites will at some point be more profitable than trying to support dozens of small blogs or sites built with only profit in mind. Mass submissions of spun content to directories may bring dozens of backlinks but let’s face it, no human is going to attempt to read some of the spun gibberish that gets submitted to low-quality directories, let alone follow a link.
Word of Mouth Recommendations = Virtual Likes, Tweets & Views
Internet marketing is no different from selling from a bricks and mortar store. You get the word out by marketing and advertising to as many people who may be interested in what you’re selling as possible. Creating a buzz in social media is the way to go online; it’s all about winning friends and influencing people by sharing your expertise and personality.
The basic goal of Google is to provide people with what they want in the way of information added regularly to a site. Small, under-nourished websites are simply going to die and fall to the bottom of the heap, while sites fat with content that are fed regularly will rise to the top.
I recently added my name to a new internet marketing “guru’s” email list. His philosophy is to build hundreds of small affiliate websites. He outsources all his work to two virtual assistants in the Far East who do his keyword research, build the sites, write the content and spin it, do all his article directory submissions and obtain all his backlinks.
I know these are the types of sites that Google does not want. He stresses getting high-ranking via backlink building but nowhere has he mentioned any kind of social media participation. I’ll be very interested to see how this dude is doing this time next year.
Google and Bing say they now pay attention to Tweets as SEO ranking signals and the more authority a user has on Twitter the more weight is placed on those recommendations. ReTweets are also a big factor.
A Facebook page for a business can be more beneficial than just a signal to search engines, because once you’ve established a following it can be a good source of traffic. Google+ is there for a reason and over the coming years Google will no doubt use the data received as a ranking factor.
Recommending something on any social media site to people who trust you is exactly the same as telling a good friend about a new restaurant that’s opened up in your town. That personal recommendation is far more valuable than a mailbox stuffed with junk fliers which is pretty much what irrelevant backlinks are.
YouTube is the third most visited site on the web behind Google and Facebook so if you’re not using video in your marketing efforts then you are definitely losing out. Remember Google owns YouTube, so what does that tell you vis-à-vis social media influence? It didn’t spend $1.65 billion without good reason, so if you’re not using video for your internet marketing business then you are missing out on a massive source of social media traffic.
Social Interaction Takes Time
Like building any relationship in the real world, sharing information, building a business and a good reputation on social media sites takes time. Will hiring a team of virtual assistants to do this be cost-effective if you own a few hundred affiliate sites? I doubt it.
The Panda algorithm change about a year ago signaled that Google is focusing more on quality and it will continue to do so. I can only suggest that if you haven’t started your internet marketing business yet, the best thing to do will be to start one or two authority sites, concentrate heavily on building a reputation as an expert within social media and giving the search engines and your visitors exactly what they’re looking for – excellent content.
What success have you had with social media participation? How long did it take you to see results and build a steady flow of traffic to your site? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.