It’s been an exciting week in the world of SEO! Not only did Matt Cutts put the hammer down on spammy guest blogging practices once and for all, he also made it crystal clear that Facebook and Twitter social signals are not a ranking factor. Some would say “not a ranking factor yet,” but I prefer to stay in the here and now and focus on what is known rather than what is being speculated about.
In case you’re in doubt – here it is, straight from Matt Cutts:
This may leave you wondering whether or not it’s important to be active in social networks and whether or not social media should be considered as part of an SEO strategy. For me the answer is yes for many reasons.
5 Reasons Social Media is Important
- Search engine optimization and social media must be a coordinated effort – forget about follow and no-follow links for a moment, both SEO and SMM are largely focused on creating and publishing quality content that will help drive traffic to a web property. Success for both relies on understanding your target audience, incorporating the words and phrases they use when the search, and quality content. One without the other or done separately is like an engine running on half it’s cylinders.
- Social media helps increase exposure – if you work hard at building your network (aka followers) through genuine engagement and by giving away solid advice for free you will gain more visibility and more traffic will follow. Being active in social media can help you build your brand’s reputation, establish you as a subject matter expert, and ultimately will help you generate qualified leads that convert into customers.
- Social Media success depends on high quality content –although searches on social networks aren’t searching the content of your website, I would argue that having a well optimized web page is as important for a social media strategy as it is for an SEO strategy. You want to have a compelling title that draws the visitor in, formatted in a way that makes it easy to read and digest (e.g. header tags, bulleted lists, and appropriate links).
- Social networking can lead to valuable inbound links – If people find you through a social network and like what they see, chances are that they’d be willing to put a link to your site from theirs and they may even do it without being asked.
- Social media is a fantastic way to build your network and grow your business – think about growing your number of followers or fans from a perspective of growing your business network that contains customers, prospects, and partners. If you add quality people to your networks both on and offline you’ll grow your business.
I’m sure there will be plenty of discussion around this topic in the months to come, especially as Google continues to evolve and refine what signals are used for ranking.
In the meantime, stay the course, focus on your customers, and keep doing the right things for the right reasons.