Social SEO

seo punishment

Earlier today Matt Cutts tweeted about a webmaster video he created which answers the question “Does Google use data from social sites in ranking?”. The short answer is yes which confirms what a lot of people have suspected

What is SEO in 2010?

SEO is a pretty fascinating ‘thing’. Is it technology? Is it a tool? Is it marketing? Is it an algorithm? I don’t know, it’s difficult to define… it’s much more complex than it was 5 years ago. It’s probably much more appreciated too.

It’s probably a combination of everything. Basically it’s a case of trying to crack how Google (the search engine) works or at least knowing more about how Google works than your competition. That’s the way i like to think of it. I know ‘search’ isn’t just Google, but if you can crack Google you can crack the rest. Of course you need the quality content too along with basic SEO knowledge whilst you’re producing content. Google will always say worry about content first, SEO second. ‘Write it and they will come’.

If you want to take shortcuts, yes there will always be holes and flaws in Google, there will always be spam or rubbish sites appearing where they shouldn’t but long term, Google always gets it right… quality content is usually rewarded. There really isn’t any easy way to rank high for competitive keywords other than to work harder than the competition.

Good people -v- Bad people

It makes sense to distinguish between quality people and rubbish people too. Like it or not, if you’re new to twitter (and aren’t a celebrity), you don’t have much value. You can raise your value by tweeting i.e. producing content and then gaining followers and getting mention, being retweeted etc… participation within a community over a long period of time suggests trust and quality and makes you a ‘good’ person. One tweet wonder = bad person.

Google would never use those terms but that’s effectively what Matt Cutts has clarified today – authority is no longer just recognised through traditional websites and blogs / forums etc… but also now on social networking sites like twitter. For those of us lucky enough to be deemed people with ‘authority’, we can actually have a real impact on search results which is both good and bad. Now that this is official and out in the open, we could perhaps see a lot more spam floating around and now that i mention it, i have noticed more spam than usual on twitter over the past few weeks. Things like people replying to you immediately after you post a tweet – i’m assuming they do that because they know you’re watching your stream and therefore the chances of a click through increase.

These are of course bad people. Probably not people at all. Bad robots. I can only assume just like everything else, SEO will become more heavily influenced by social networks in years to come. If you think back to Google’s interest in Digg and more recently their failed takeover of Groupon, it’s pretty clear they recognise the power and value of communities. This is just another tip of the hat by Google towards social networks.

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