Will Social Media Factors Outweigh Links in the Near Future?

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Social MediaAs a whole, the search industry is putting more and more emphasis on social media for determining rankings – But just how much emphasis are search engines putting on social media? As social media gains more and more prominence among search engines, that also means that simultaneously the value of links is going lower and lower and lower.

How much weight are Google and Bing putting on social media today, and where are they likely headed in the future? Let’s take a look.

Step Back and Look at it from Google’s Eyes

Remember that Google’s goal in the world is to index all the information on the web and to organize it according to its usefulness. In other words, every algorithm Google writes is designed to do one thing: To sort the bad content from the good and to put the good upfront.

Now, ask yourself: From Google’s eyes, which is a more reliable metric of measurement? The number of backlinks an article receives, or the number of “shares” it gets on Facebook? Google Watches You

Keep in mind that only a small fraction of people actually own websites and blogs. Look at your own Facebook profile. How many of your friends have blogs or websites? By the same token, how many of them regularly post and share links?

The reality is, only a small subset of the internet has their own website. By only counting links from websites, Google is actually getting a very skewed version of what people like and don’t like.

In Google’s eyes, each link today is counted as a “vote” on that website’s level of quality. The more votes it has, the better the website is.

However, in reality Google is only sampling a small portion of the true votes that are happening on the internet. Every day, hundreds of millions of people “vote” on the quality of content by sharing it on social media. Google is completely bypassing those votes, in favor of the old fashioned backlink.

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The Free Stuff Link Strategy: How to Make it Work


Being GenerousOf all the backlink strategies out there, being generous is one of the most simple, most powerful and most natural methods. Building backlinks doesn’t have to be done manually or even intentionally. Instead, if you just focus on giving away high quality stuff, people will naturally want to link to you.

It sounds almost too good to be true. Or, to the ears of an experienced marketer, too naïve. Yet it really does work, even in the most competitive industries.

The Law of Reciprocity Reciprocity

The law of reciprocity states that if you do something for someone for nothing, they’ll feel a sense of obligation to you. This is why the charity collectors outside department stores will often give you a rose before asking you for money. They gave you something, so you’ll naturally feel like you need to give something back.

Giving away free stuff, like free reports, free CDs, free videos, free software, free downloadables and so on taps into this sense of reciprocity. If you give them something for free, they’ll feel like they need to give you something in return.

It’s How Loyalty is Built

Build Customer LoyaltyThe people who will ultimately be your ambassadors to the internet will be your loyal readers and followers. These are the people who will tell all their friends about you. These are the people who will link to you and share all your content, getting other people to link to you as well.

The way you create this sense of loyalty is by giving away high quality content for free. People want to know that when they send friends your way, they’re going to be treated well. People want to know that you really stand behind your content, before risking their own reputation by linking to you.

People Link to Content, Not Promises Social Media Content Strategy

It’s common on the internet for people to put conditions on content. Sign up for this newsletter to get a free eBook. Or “Like” this page to gain access to the videos. Or make a purchase to get this informational product.

Unfortunately, people don’t link to promises of content. People only like to link to content that they can see already. If you’re locking your content behind promises, there’s a very good chance you’re only getting a fraction of the backlinks that your content is capable of generating.

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