Just the other day I was thinking about the relationship between social media and search engine optimization. I have to confess that I often-times feel like being active in the social-sphere is more of a burden than a blessing. After all, it’s hard work, takes time, and the rewards sometimes seem like they’re a long way off. (I actually recently experienced one of those rewarding times, but that’s a story for another day.)

Fortunately I stumbled across a great post from +Eli Fennell. Eli has a great sense of humor and perspective, it was refreshing to read a post that wasn’t prescribing a formulaic approach to succeeding in social media. In his post, Use Social Media However You Want!, he provides a refreshing point of view and a true recipe for success.

One of the other things I found to be of interest in his article, was the comment that we’re in a “worrisome time,” one which resembles Pre-Panda and Pre-Penguin SEO. I agree with him whole-heartedly. If you’re seeing what I’m seeing there are a lot of people using tactics in social media that closely resemble search engine optimization tactics that worked prior to Panda and Penguin coming on the scene.

Just like article directories and link farms polluted search results with links to low quality sites, we’re seeing social feeds jammed with “inspirational quote” after “inspirational quote,” comment spam, and auto-feeds from one network to another. There are also people promising ridiculous results such as:

  • 25,000 Twitter Followers
  • 3,000 Twitter Retweets

and all “Within a Few Hours for $5.” Seriously?

I don’t think Eli will mind the fact that I borrowed this screen shot, it was impeccable timing. He posted this pic shortly after an exchange of comments on Google+ about the potential for penguin/panda-like penalties for people who are posting empty content, involved in reciprocal  sharing, and/or are amassing lots of followers without true engagement. It was hysterical!

You may have heard by now that Google has confirmed that Google has confirmed a reduction in showing authorship in search results. If you’re wondering what this means, you’re not alone. It was promised months ago and is now a reality. Mark Traphagen shares his early take on the impact to search results. The long term impact isn’t completely clear, but what is  clear is that Google is serious about fighting social spam.

All I know is that 2014 is going to be a very interesting year in the world of SEO and Social Media and this is a subject that we should be paying close attention to.

Until next time!