Social Signals Are BS
Seen a prophet lately telling you backlinks are doomed and social signals are the future?
All the BS info products and prophets spreading misinformation about social SEO gets tiring. People keep talking about social signals like they’re the holy grail of SEO.
The truth is, you cannot rank a site for anything even remotely competitive with social signals alone. Try it, it aint gonna happen.
With a high authority website, a great article and thousands of social signals (fb likes/tweets/re-tweets) your article will rank; but it’s only because of the authority of your site.
There are really only two reasons to build social signals. First of all, they justify your backlinks. Sites that get backlinks naturally get social signals as well.
If you’re building lots of backlinks without any social signals; Google knows something isn’t right. That’s why social signals justify your backlinks. If you have no social signals and thousands of backlinks; it raises a red flag.
Second, they do increase your site authority and help your content rank quickly. Sites have identities. Your identity controls how quickly and highly you rank for keywords when you publish new articles that have no links built to them yet.
Lots of social signals to your site tells Google you are an authority in your niche and will therefore be rewarded by faster and higher rankings automatically. These are the social signals you should build:
- Google Plus Ones (+ any Google Plus activity)
- Facebook Likes
- Facebook Shares
- Twitter Tweets & Re-Tweets
- Bookmarks on sites like Delicious & Digg
- Pinterest Shares & shares on other social networks secondarily.
You should encourage visitors to share your content across those networks. However…
Here’s why you have nothing to worry about right now when it comes to social signals. Google will not move to a 100% social signal based ranking algorithm because they do not own all of the sites.
They won’t use what they do not control to influence rankings on a huge scale. Backlinks they can see themselves along with Page Rank which they created.
Facebook likes, Tweets and shares; they don’t own the sites so they’re not going to rely on them as major rankings signals. It wouldn’t make sense as any of the sites could disappear tomorrow for all Google knows.
What you need to focus on is creating an Authority Identity.
Author Rank, which as I’m about to explain is the key reason for building social signals. Building social signals to boost rankings directly is BS. Building social signals to indirectly effect rankings makes sense. Here’s how.
SEO now is all about becoming an authority figure in your niche. Google has been working on this for years, they’ve been working on moving towards an IDENTITY based ranking system. Ranking web pages based on WHO published them.
Here’s the deal. Google doesn’t want people ranking for keywords they have no business ranking for. Google doesn’t want a 26 year old dentist to be ranking for ‘how to lose weight’.
They want reputable people in the field like a globally known personal trainer to be ranking for those keywords. The same applies to you. They don’t want you ranking for keywords you have no knowledge of because you know how to build backlinks.
To stop this from happening, Google have implemented what’s called ‘Author Rank’ and the Google Authorship system.
Author rank is the method of measuring a person’s authority in a niche and Google Authorship is Google’s “Identifying Agent”.
They work very well together for a reason. Google+, Google’s social network wasn’t just built to rival Facebook & LinkedIn, it was built to facilitate the new ranking system. Author Rank.
Google Authorship (https://plus.google.com/authorship) allows you to connect your website with your Google+ profile. This way Google knows YOU publish the content on your site. It puts a face to your website, an identity.
You can connect authorship simply by linking to your Google+ profile from your site or any particular page, which means you can connect authorship to any content you post around the web.
Whether you’re posting on your own site or guest blogging on other sites. Google know where and when you post content, and will increase your Authorship based on it.
For example if you’re an authority figure in the fitness niche, whenever you guest post on another site; that post will instantly dominate Google; even if the site you’re guest posting on doesn’t have much authority.
Your guest post will rank because Google will know YOU published it on another site and YOU have an authority presence in the niche. This means that you can build up your identity in a niche with one site, start a new site and instantly start ranking because you carry with you your identity.
This may not have a massive effect right now on rankings, but its moving that way. That’s why you need to work on building an authority site, and in doing so create an authority identity which you can take with you all over the web.
This system and ‘score’ which Google will rank you by is called Author Rank, and it involves many social signals. Here’s how to build it:
- Setup Authorship With Your Site (Connect your site to your Google Plus profile)
- Become very active on Google Plus in your niche circles. Check Your Feed Regularly – Every day check your feed and comment & +1 on other people’s updates/content in your circles. Make sure you have other authority figures in your niche in your circles. Interact with their updates and content.
- Post Multiple Updates Per Day – Every day, post 2-4 Google+ updates. Post links to awesome content, your own blog posts and share your personal thoughts.
- Complete Your About me Section – Make sure you fill out every single field on the ‘about me’ section of your Google+ account.
- Start Conversations – Try to start conversations with your updates and content. The more interaction other users have with your posts; the higher your Author Rank will be (it’s only common sense).
- Encourage Readers To +1 Your Site Content
- Publish Regular Content On Your Blog – Publish lots of content on your blog and encourage readers to share it. If your posts are getting +1’d and liked and Tweeted about, it tells Google you are an authority figure in your niche. Therefore boosting your credibility or ‘author rank’.
- Build A Following On Other Networks – Google will use as much data from their own network as possible. However they can’t avoid using Facebook & Twitter. We all know they’ve been using them for a long time to gather data about sites. Facebook likes, Followers, Tweets, Re-tweets, bookmarks, pins – they all affect your search engine rankings and it’s almost certain they’ll play a major role in Author Rank. While quantity of likes and followers will play a big role, Author Rank will focus in on activity and interaction. This means if you have a large following on the other major social networks, Google will notice when they are sharing and commenting on your updates. This means you should be active on Facebook & Twitter.
- Publish Content On Other Authority Sites – Google authorship can be setup individually for any page on the Internet. Which means when you guest post on another blog you can tell Google you published it by adding your G+ profile link on the page as well as a link to the site in your ‘contributors to’ section in your G+ profile. If Google sees you (Your Identity) posting popular content on authority sites in your niche; they’ll boost your Author Rank and your own site’s authority.
Social signals barely boost rankings, not in the way that backlinks do. What they can do is boost your site authority and your identity as a webmaster and authority figure in your niche.
That’s where the real leverage lies. Start building your site identity now.
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