Will Social Media Signals Take the Place of Traditional SEO?

Social media marketing and PR strategies are growing like wild fire. Social media platforms can be very effective for PR efforts, brand exposure as well as the more technical side to link building for orgainc search engine placements. Organic search engine optimization has many components and as the search engines get smarter, the tactics used by any good SEO company must be ever-evolving.

The traditional linking building methods used to be fairly limited, not-withstanding the SPAM tactics like link tading and link farming. Now, with the social media phenomenon, SEO consultants and marketers can use these outlets as strategies for effective PR and link building. Many times the strategy is to generate good enough content with enough value to make your way to the home page of Digg or Reddit. The result is a lot of extra exposure, traffic, and links. As other bloggers pick it up and write about the content, this can result in additional exposure and links. User generated content sites such as blogs and forums are the fastest growing web platforms out there which is why marketers use it for Internet marketing campaigns.

When we talk specifically about social media signals we are referring to the user-generated content such as comments, feeeback, ratings, etc. Take YouTube.com for example…the largest vertical search engine on the web. YouTube.com weighs social media factors very heavily when ranking videos in their results. The more views, votes, ratings, and comments, the more likely a video will appear high in the results when people search for content relevant to that video. Much in the same way, these videos when posted on other websites add value to that sites rankings.

So the question remains, will social media signals start to out-weigh traditional SEO signals like quality content, and high quality inbound links?

Probably not but it will definitely compliment it! This is why social media is such an important part of any well rounded search engine optimization campaign. The two strategies are often seen as separate, but there are definitely imporant social elements required in SEO for effective link building. Social media as a full comprehensive strategy is of course much more involved and takes a lot of research prior to launching to be effective. Marketers must understand the demographic they are targeting first, then learn how to find them through social outlets. Once this is done, the campaign can begin. You must of course remember to be sensitive to the rules of the community and add value.

Social media marketing should also be creative and specific to the goals of the campaign. Every social media campaign should be different…there is no canned response for this kind of Internet marketing.

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