Since people like, share, tweet more than they traditionally link, the influence of social mentions in SEO is currently a hot industry topic. Some SEO experts consider them essential for improving rankings. Other professionals give them a very low influence value . And several SEOs could care less about them one way or the other. Then there’s Google and Bing. The two search engines are desperate to understand social metrics in order to improve their algorithms, so much so that they are trying to coax Facebook and Twitter into sharing more data. This should be a signal to those in SEO that a unique opportunity exists to successfully leverage the knowledge gap and aggressively build out their social mentions. Of course, this is easier said than done. In addition to the technical issues that both search engines face, Google’s Webmaster guidelines do not cover any third party services, freeing spammy Facebook accounts and Twitter shares of any violations. Welcome back to the pre-Florida update days! But there are ways to effectively build your social links; some you may already be doing and others you probably should start doing. Facebook Likes When Facebook Likes came on the scene in 2010, few could anticipate their search significance. The fact is obtaining likes is a necessary component of any SEO strategy. Though integrating a Facebook social plugin or comment feature is the standard method of attracting likes, there are many approaches to increasing this metric. White hats swear that great content will attract more likes. SEOs employing more grayish practices buy likes via Fiverr.com, Ebay or other services. The really dark forces goes as far as faking like buttons. Marketers with deep pockets will create contests, full-fledged Facebook campaigns or run traditional advertisting campaigns to build a great like-base. The value of a like is as dependent on the competitive landscape as it is the number of accumulated thumbs-up. Take the like temperature of brands in your industry to determine how aggressive you want to become. Same rules and assumptions apply for Facebook shares, which should carry more influence on search since they are harder to get.
Tweets and Re-tweets Generating an impressive amount of natural looking, quality tweets and re-tweets is something that only larger Twitter accounts can accomplish. Utilizing paid tweet services is certainly an option, but efficiency might be limited due to the fact that most of them are marked as disclosed ads. A more interesting option is Paywithatweet.com or Tweetfordownload.com These services allow users to generate Tweet plugins, which then enable users to download a file for a tweet or share. This could obviously be used for any downloads or for simply replacing long form fields, which usually come with a high drop-off rate.
Another important part of building followership and increasing re-tweets is keeping an informative and constantly updating Twitter news stream. Bufferapp.com is great for developing steady tweet velocity. Sharing content by scheduling relevant tweets helps keep your followers engaged. It also allows an easy way of collecting quality tweets while surfing the web.
With Google’s recent move into the social space Google+1 is shaping up to be the equivalent of a Facebook Like. The average user tends to share a link only once or twice, mostly via Facebook and Twitter). The +1 browser extension , developed by Ashkan Soltani and Brian Kennish, allows users to do both with one click.
If you plan to increase your social backlinks with Google+1, share the browser plugin on your site. This step is similar to the one you took to share the Alexa toolbar way back when to boost your Alexa ranking.
Google + 1 can also be leveraged to drive paid search traffic via sites like Stumbleupon or Plentyoffish.com. But in order to truly gage your social traffic performance, you need the tools. When it comes to Google, it’s best to keep tracking in the family. Google Analytics, as do a host of other web analytics vendors, now supports social plugin tracking. Before setting up your campaign, be sure to measure the best converting Google+ page on your website and track accordingly.
For Social Backlinks, it’s Value over Volume
Just as there is a right way and a wrong way to drive SEO results, there are definite social metrics building strategies to follow; use creative approaches to attract new social mentions ; utilize new software to support and track your social efforts just like you track your backlinks. Understanding SMO best practices and the constantly changing search engine guidelines ranking factors can give your campaign a competitive edge. Simply stated, it’s not a matter of how many social mentions you have. It’s about maximizing and recognizing their value.