As with most things online, the SEO industry is dynamic and things can move very quickly. Much like the SEO industry which encompasses it, link building is also continuously changing and evolving. Due to the fast-paced nature of their industry, link builders and SEO specialists must constantly pay attention to shifts and trends within the SEO realm to ensure they are applying link building best practices. One recent development within the SEO industry that could certainly impact link building efficacy is the increasing importance of social media.
SEO Value of Social Signals
Links remain the primary ranking factor for determining where a site or page shows up in the search engine results pages (SERPs). While links are still the most important factor, it is becoming evident that social signals may play a significant part in ranking as well. Much like how links indicate importance to a search engine, it appears that the amount of times something is shared socially may also hold some value.
There have been multiple studies that show a correlation between social signals and ranking. Although correlation does not always mean causation (and it is impossible to tell exactly what impact social signals have on rankings without knowing Google’s algorithm), it is worth noting that these correlations exist. Also, social signals aside, there is proven value in the links you acquire from someone linking to your site through a tweet or Google+ post.
Increased Reach and Value for Links
Another reason that the importance of social media (in regards to link building) is increasing is because it can help extend the reach of the links you acquire. This is important for two reasons.
First, by using social media channels to promote the content that contains your link, you can amplify its reach and get more eyeballs on your content. This means more page views for that content, which increases the SEO value of the link you have placed there.
Also, by getting more people to view your content you also increase the chances that people will click on your link. This helps drive even more organic traffic to your site which can lead to an increase in conversions.
Link Prospecting Benefits
Social media also presents some benefits in terms of link prospecting. Link prospecting is a term that refers to finding link building opportunities. Social media can help in this regard. Social media networks can be excellent tools for familiarizing yourself with the niche you are trying to build links in.
By participating in these social communities you can locate quality and relevant link prospects that would be willing to link to you. Another effective strategy you can implement is to look at the friends, circles, followers, etc. of the people you have already built a link with as many of these people most likely operate within a similar niche.
Along with the benefits social media offers in terms of link prospecting, it can also be a very useful outreach tool. Contacting a webmaster through their social media accounts shows them that you are an actual human being and not just a robot spamming them. Also, webmasters are often reluctant to list their email on their site and many times the only way to contact them is through social media.
It is becoming clear that social media should not be ignored and that it should be included in your link building strategy. It also appears that the importance of social media and its impact on link building will only continue to increase. In an industry that is always shifting and changing, link builders and SEOs must constantly change with it to be successful.