“Google figures that if your links are truly legit, there should be some social proof”
The SEO industry has been in an uproar the past few weeks unlike I have seen since the Panda Farmer Update in Feb of 2011. The issue? The deindexing of blog networks and other common link building strategies by Google in their latest algorithm update.
Back in October 2010, I posited the question “Is share more important than search?” in a blog post that was discussing how Facebook had overtaken Google as the most visited site on the web. A couple of months after that, Matt Cutts put out this video in which he acknowledged that Google does use social signals from Twitter and Facebook in their ranking results:
I point this out to show that it has been no secret for a while now that Google pays attention to social signals. What amazes me, is that amongst my peers in the internet marketing business, there is still such a seemingly myopic focus on links. There is no doubt that links are important when it comes to ranking in Google. But links cannot be the only thing you focus on when you are crafting an SEO strategy. Think about it this way—if you have enough links to rank #1 in Google for a particular term, but there is no one out there talking about your actual content, that raises a red flag-If you are so popular, why aren’t people talking about you? In other words, Google figures that if your links are truly legit, that there should be some social proof. In January Google even started to include social results in the SERPS by introducing search + your world:
The takeaway is that you need to focus less on spending your time building tons of links in suspect places, and instead start focusing on creating more content that is unique, remarkable and buzzworthy–and make sure that it is easy to share with others. I think you will find that your brand ecosystemSM will be much more robust. I am not saying stop all link building activities, I am just saying—expand your definition of what good SEO is. Here is a really good video from Google on creating good SEO and pretty much lays out the difference between quality optimization of your site as well as 5 common mistakes that Google sees businesses make when marketing on the web. Enjoy!