Social networks are affecting how search engines do their job. Why? Because social media is looking for a piece of the SEO “pie”. A “social” recommendation from friends or family has a great influence on what information a person may consider important, what product they should purchase and where to buy it. It is no coincidence that search engines try to integrate social signals somehow in their calculations. In most cases, there are many people who see Social Signals as the new SEO.
The main problem with this lies in the confusion between correlation and causality. A number of studies document different correlation degrees between social cues and visibility during organic search results. Social signals are well “embedded” in countless studies. In some countries, a more precautionary definition is used. Social signals can influence how search engine optimization (SEO) works. All these studies have one thing in common: they show that sites, which are often shared on social networks, are quite visible. This, of course, is silly because the correlation does not imply causation.
A valid explanation of competition between social cues and SEO success lies in how well a site does. For instance, a website that is visited often is perceived to be very popular. Because of this, many sites will link itself to that site. The results? A clear social signals SEO success story. Authorship also seems to have some influence on each personalized search, but with the latest changes in Google’s algorithm, it is hard to determine which site will flourish based on global numbers. Many people treat social networks the same way as they would traditional link building. Here are some things people should never do when trying to combine SEO and social networking:
- Do not defile your personal or company profile with lots of links.
- Do not buy Facebook likes and do not buy Tweets either.
- Google+ circles should never be filled with “spammers” and never send notifications through Gmail each time an entry is posted in hopes of gaining a +1.
- Do not ask friends and family to view the contents just to get traffic.
If people ignore the above mistakes, this will kill their chances of obtaining a viable social media SEO status. Do not be forced or inclined to change how social networks and SEO work together. There is a system and every person must follow it (if they want to be successful). Social networks help SEO indirectly, which means if a company is creating quality content and the right people share it, everything turns out okay. Perhaps, with time, Google will learn to manage links and mentions in social networks properly to provide a reliable assessment. But, based on link-building manipulation, it will be hard to filter out false information. In any case, most experts believe that Social Signals are not new links and its use will remain a problem for search engines. Perhaps this is because social networks are trying to compete with Google. And it is very likely that the number of social networks will increase and Google will have an extremely difficult time trying to draw valid information from their algorithms.