Saturday, September 20, 2008
Using Social Media for SEO: Time to Hedge Your Bets
Mark this one up under the category of "believe it or not".
You see, this dinky little SEO blog that is a blip on nobody's radar has received some "insider information" that belongs on a higher quality blog. The problem is, I don't know how many people I want to know about.
Loyal readers (all 2 of you) and random finders of this blog, I am about to tell you something that is a semi-exclusive. It is semi- because I have seen it alluded to in previous months, but nothing definitive has been said about it until today.
Social media sites such as Digg, Reddit, Propeller, and Mixx have been excellent sources of link-juice for SEOs. The backlinks can be very powerful and the indexing abilities that they offer are unmatched. That is, until very soon.
An unnamed source for this insignificant blog gave information that reliably says what some have been saying for a while. The spam-ability of social media sites is coming to an end soon, at least from Google's perspective. They are working on ways to prevent the power of social media from being so influential in their search algorithm WITHOUT hurting what these sites offer in the way of relevant rankings.
In other words, Digging a story and getting just a couple of Diggs will no longer be as effective. To work, a story has to get a certain number of Diggs before it is counted, possibly before it is even indexed.
Reddit already does this to some extent by placing nofollow attributes on any submission with 1 or fewer points, but it appears that Google itself is working on a way to determine through custom means when a Digg submission is strong or not. Same holds true for other social media sites.
Here is a test: simple keyword, brand new website, nothing done to it yet. In the past, this automotive microsite would have been easy to optimize for the keyword "Raynham New Buick" but we contend that simply submitting it to Digg and a few others will not be enough to get it ranked quickly.
How they are going to do this -- I have no idea. Seems impossible, but then again, I am not the world's brightest. Google, on the other hand, has the world's brightest, and I'm sure they have it all figured out.
What does this mean to search engine optimization? It means that the good old days of submitting and going or using automated software are over. To get the benefit from social media sites, SEOs will actually have to (gulp) participate and build up (gulp) friends.
Again, believe it if you want. Don't if you don't. I just want this information out to the select few who read this blog. The others -- no worries. You'll find all of this out soon enough anyway.
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Read more about social media optimization on this blog.