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21st May 2012 |  Written by Laura Thomas

Has Google Penguin Socialised SEO?

With the latest Google Penguin update, which I’m sure you all know about, is SEO dead? And is Social Media now taking over or just becoming the main component of SEO along with content?

Since the latest Google update SEO guidelines have been put in place to ensure websites are easily accessible and valuable to users. Google’s main aim has been to return relevant results to ultimately make searchers happy. This latest update has made the SEO industry think about new ways to boost ranking for clients. Slowly but surely it looks like the whole SEO industry is arriving at the same conclusion:

1) People only link to high quality relevant content

2) Most effective way of attracting links is to create high quality content and create a buzz about this through social channels.

Image Source: Examiner.com

3) The only links Google and other search engines will never devalue are those that are completely natural.

It has become clear that search engines are now crawling social channels, proven by a study by Branded3 most recently. Whether it’s just Google plus who knows, but it’s clear that link building with social media allows you to push your content to as many people as possible.

If a brand is looking to improve rankings it’s essential that they’re not only creating great content but also engaged actively in the communities relevant to their industry. Simply making your site linkable through the creation of interesting, usable content is not enough – brands must ensure that they are being talked about but not just by anyone…figures with authority. Although some may argue that authority can be manipulated. This is something that may become the new meaning of ‘Black Hat SEO/Social Media’…

While links remain central to Google’s algorithm, and will continue to do so, the challenge for SEO practitioners is to get links and shares from relevant, high authority sources. By doing this, brands can build strong, trustworthy links that are supported by social signals that confirm their relevancy to search engines. Google can no longer rely on links alone as an indication of authority. Since people began paying for links Google has been looking for a way to differentiate between trustworthy links and less trustworthy links…and social has become the been able to do this.

Peoples search habits will also lean more towards social channels as users increasingly trust and value recommendations from friends over search engines. If I’m looking for a restaurant within Manchester I’ll tweet instead of searching. Google simply doesn’t want to lose out to social networks and it shows, especially with the introduction of Google Plus. Moving forward it looks like an SEO strategy will be built around social media… rather than links. Don’t get me wrong link building is still essential but it has changed. Take this chart for example from SEO Moz’s, Rand Fishkin, you can see how the growth and link building has changed over time. With the linkerati and the social media users now having a greater influence in the web, and effectively search engine results:

Ultimately the brands that are building a strong presence within social media communities through creating quality content, trusted links and an authoritative social presence are going to be the winners.

Your Comments

  1. Some good points Tim. SEO has changed a lot with the updates in the past year. I wrote a recent post making the case for why I’d rather have social shares than links – http://www.ascentinternet.com/blog/seo/why-id-rather-have-social-shares-than-links/

  2. Hey Tim,

    My burning question is what if the company you are doing work for, isn’t the most social friendly. I see it time and time again and have even had a corporate CEO say to me he doesn’t think Social is worth the time for his B2B business. And I have to agree with him. I also have a manufacturer on board and although his stuff is fairly cool, its not going to have a massive social appeal.

    I just think the social thing doesn’t work for every one.

  3. Yes Tim, it has become quite important to create some awesome and quality content for users. Its the best method of getting quality traffic and backlinks.

  4. This post was really well done. I like the pink on the site too.

  5. Hi Mike,

    I see your point with social, it is difficult with some B2B industries but you’d be surprised how specialised some sectors are on Twitter & Linked In. I suppose the main point is that you now need to identify the social influencers within your sector across social platforms and start building relationships.

    Thanks,

    Tim

  6. Tim,

    Nice post, thanks for sharing. I also think that SEM/SMO becomes more and more important from the SEO point of view. Whereas it doesn’t have major impact today, it will probably have the one tomorrow.

  7. When we can see that all the SM elite and twitterers together aren’t even the same size as even the bloggers, it puts things into perspective. (the outside part of a circle is so much much bigger than the inner parts if you look properly)
    If people’s SM skills are as poor as their current blogging and copy writing skills, they still won’t have any large kind of SEO success. The various tools are all great but using them correctly is where 90% get it wrong. Witness the amount of spammy promotional tweets and other very poor content!

  8. Thanks for the comment Charles – couldn’t agree more! So much poor content around it’s untrue…

  9. Really good resource with the new update. Thank you for making it so clear cut.

  10. thanks for sharing a great resource really helpful for the webmasters to make offsite seo effort count

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