Social Shares are the new 4 a.m. friends of SEOs. Yes, in the world of SEO, where any new stratagem is called an SEO revolution in itself, people are looking at social shares as an answer to many of their link building problems.
Social sharing essentially means sharing links on social networking platforms. It supposedly has already become the next big thing in SEO, but such thinking is premature. The importance of social shares cannot be placed within the parameters of simple equations like ‘more the social shares you get, the better is your ranking on SERPs”. This is highly simplistic and very wrong.
Google or any other search engine for that matter is not a fool. It will give social shares the importance they deserve, but just because a web page is getting hundreds of Likes, doesn’t necessarily mean it will score a high rank on search engine page results.
Let’s take a closer look at the importance of social shares and the part they play in your link building efforts.
Signaling Social Authority
Although the indications are still not very clear, there are signals that search engines like Bing and Google are taking a good hard look at the amount of social shares that your presence on Facebook, Twitter and Google plus is able to generate. This is done in order to judge your social authority.
It must be understood that this is just one of the many social metrics used by these search engines to check your authority. That’s because just using social shares as a method of determining social authority isn’t fail safe.
There are webmasters out there who are not above purchasing social shares or giving followers an incentive (free coupons, discounts etc.) to social share, which isn’t what search engines want you to do. One of the reasons that they do this is because it’s unclear whether a search engine like Google can separate the legitimate from the illegitimate signals.
But, whatever the case maybe, Google has proven to be quite adept at separating the wheat from the chaff, so it’s advisable to encourage social sharing by building a natural momentum. Implement social plugins on your web pages and use call to action buttons, and use ways that can help your target users to easily share your content with their followers on social sharing websites.
This is what will improve your social authority naturally, with social shares; this in turn will lead to natural link building.
Projecting and Cementing Online Authority
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest advantages of social media is that it allows you to break the barriers of communication and reach out to a wider audience and that too at a far more personal level then is otherwise possible.
What this allows you to do, is connect with authority users and ask them to share you content. This they will only do, if they think your content is worthwhile to share with their followers. After all, they have a standard to maintain! But in the event that they do share your content with their followers, it will help build your own authority in the social space and by association, the online space as a whole.
For this to happen, you first need to identify the authority users, and catch their eye. Do this, by sharing their posts with your followers and re-tweeting their tweets; do everything possible to leave a favorable impression on their minds. And then you must reach out, but only when you publish content that you believe will add value to their own presence, vis-à-vis their audience.
A social media relationship, especially, with authority users, is a give and take. Social sharing in this case will only happen if it benefits both parties in some form or sother.
Is Future of Link building in Social Shares?
There are lots of people that believe social sharing is Link Building 3.0. The fact is that today, everything that you create with respect to your online presence, needs to be run through social media. Written a new blog post, put a post on Facebook and make sure that it has link to your new blog post; have a nice new tutorial up on your products page, make sure that you tweet this information; encourage your visitors to click on the ‘Like’ ‘Tweet’ ‘Google plus’ button on your web pages.
So, everything needs to be on social media.
The reason is that it helps your content go viral. With a single click, your content is visible to thousands and at times hundreds of thousands of people. So yes, social sharing is definitely a great way of building links and that too natural links. These links have been earned through the quality of your content. So, the importance of social shares cannot be denied.
But, this shouldn’t be the only pillar on which your link building strategy should rest. It needs to be used as a part of your larger link building strategy. Having said that, I do believe that slowly but steadily social shares will be a critical ranking factor, but for now they are a great way of building your reputation;this in itself is a big benefit.
Social shares do influence link building and there is also no doubt that they give a huge boost to your branding efforts. But to say that they are THE revolutionary new way of building quality links will be taking things too far. So, tone down your expectations from them; use social shares, but make them work for you. The way you do this, is entirely dependent on the kind of importance that you yourself give to social shares.