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Using links as an Off The Page ranking factor was a great leap forward for search engines. But over time, links have lost some of their value for a variety of reasons. Some sites are stingy about linking out. Others block links to help fight spam. And links get bought and sold, making them less trustworthy.
Enter social media. If links were a way for people to “vote” in favor of sites, social media sharing represents a way for that voting behavior to continue. Social signals are emerging as ranking factors as search engines determine how to leverage our social interaction and behavior.
Just as search engines don’t count all links equally, they don’t view all social accounts as being the same. This makes sense, since anyone can create a new account on a social network. What’s to prevent someone from making 100 different accounts in order to manufacture fake buzz?
Nothing, really, other than fake accounts like these can often be easy to spot. They may only have a handful of “quality” friends in their network and few might pass along material they share.
Ideally, you want to gain references from social accounts with good reputations. Having your own social presence that is well regarded is important. So participate on relevant social platforms in a real, authentic way, just as you would with your web site, or with customers in an offline setting.
To understand more about how search engines are making use of social signals, see this in-depth report below:
Similar to links, getting quality social shares is ideal, but being shared widely on social networks is still helpful. Good things happen when more people see your site or brand.
Again, participation in social sharing sites is crucial. If you don’t have a Twitter account, a Facebook fan page or Google+ Page you’re missing out. You’re not building up a network that can help spread (aka share) your content, site and brand.
Nowhere is this more apparent than Google+, where Ripples show how content is shared through the platform and winds up personalizing more and more search results.
To learn social sharing tips and social’s impact on search results, see the Search Engine Land articles below:
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