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03 Oct 2012
Geez, what is the deal? The situation is that Google is getting smarter and smarter. It seems they have observed that fact that the high-quality content online is being shared on social networks. Gone are the times of just shooting a bad article out to 700 low-quality directories and soon seeing your articles showing up in the search results. These days you'll need to display a good amount of social influence to feel street-cred from Google. I believe all this type of evolution is a positive thing but definitely it is causing it to be more difficult for affiliate marketers. Empower Network is one enterprise that is definitely imposed upon because the entire basis of the expansion of the Empower Network system is blogging and SEO. It appears that right around the moment that Empower Network perfected it's done-for-you blog platform all the principles of search results changed. But that's but a solitary practical example. Yet not everybody is in complete agreement with the influence which social signals are having. From : "Seeking alternative explanations I believe in a healthy skepticism when presented with bold evidence. I can see lots of arguments why search engines could view social signals as ranking factors (though at least in the case of tweets, I've long supported an algorithmic discounting of nofollow). For all the reasons outlined above, however, I'm not convinced we have seen real evidence that this is in fact what is happening. Assuming we take the correlation studies at face value, there are three possible explanations: 1. Social signals are a ranking factor (and apparently a strong one at that) This appears to be the hypothesis of Searchmetrics: These findings come from a study by search and social analytics company Searchmetrics aimed at identifying the key factors that help web pages rank well in Google searches" Social Signals For Your Empower Network business "2. The causation goes the other way - ranking well results in better social signals Although it's hard to know how strong this effect could be, it's easy to believe there is some kind of effect here. Just think about your searching/liking behavior. 3. There is a hidden causal variable (some kind of "page quality" signal?) that causes better rankings and increased social signals The research Dan Zarrella published here last week on the relationship between social signals and links indicates that this is a plausible explanation - since we see that there is a fairly strong relationship between the two. The challenge with this approach is that if we believe social signals' correlation with rankings comes entirely from their correlation with a real ranking factor, it's surprising that we often see a stronger correlation between rankings and social signals than with any other single factor." You can see from what Matt Cutts says, social signals are certainly weighed when a site's ranking.

What are social signals exactly?

has a bit on this: "Social signal has never been so important. Now, how often do we take recommendations from people in our network? Quite often, right? Whether it is for an investment, an online purchase or a personal issue , we often consult our friends or other experienced people and experts in our network. We do it to get good advice from all parties so that we can arrive at the best decision to act on. A recommendation is like a VOTE that allows you to take a step in that direction. This recommendation, in the eyes of the search engines, is a social signal. The concept of recommendation has now come to search engines in the form of "SOCIAL SIGNAL". What does this mean? The inclusion of the human component, YOU, in the search engine results in a more organic and dynamic manner than ever before. How does it work? Based on your recommendations through Likes, tweets and Google +, which act as social signals. Google +1 is a major initiative in this direction. Google is basically trying to get recommendations from users through it's "+1". Social media shares from other prominent social networks (Facebook, Twitter and other bookmarking websites like Stumbleupon ) are being utilized by Google and Bing in the same manner." Now how do we get more social credibility? There is always the reasonable solution which is, "Create high-quality posts that people want to see and share and you will receive many signals". But this is a chicken and egg situation. You need to get signals to get found and you need to be found that you may get signals and round and round we go. It appears that the game of internet search is heading the direction of large corporate retail operations. You need to have money to generate money and you have to make money to have money and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I can tell you that marketing using search is clearly harder than two years ago. Three years ago if you needed to get found for a keyphrase such as "Empower Network" it was doable in a few just a few hours. This meant that I could spread my time over 40 or more different phrases and get on page 1 for all of them and I got a butt-load of web traffic by doing it like that. This is not the case today. These days I'm working daily merely to get one phrase ranked. It's more time-consuming getting social signals from social networks than it is to use some automation which can blast wikis out all over the web. I've noticed recently that most social bookmarking back-links do not seem to offer any benefit any longer. Might we be moving toward a situation where only the giant corporations, companies or public figures who have already established a large social influence from the beginning may be the only entities who could get listed in the search results? Maybe not. I saw interesting information on the related to Matt Cutt's viewpoint on this topic: "Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, was interviewed at SMX Advanced by Danny Sullivan. My take away was that Matt Cutts says links are still, for the foreseeable future, going to be a more powerful signal for search rankings than social signals. Cutts does say that in ten years that may change but right now, links are indeed more important. Links versus social signals is one of those debates in the SEO world that is heating up. Social does factor in big time when you are on Google+ and searching logged in. But in terms of a core ranking signal for users who are not logged in? Well, Matt Cutts would know best." Now, it could be that Matt is working a hidden campaign to mislead us on all his comments so as to throw off anyone that will make an effort to game the rankings, but it's highly improbable. And his comments on the topic are positive news for small business owners, networkers and particularly folks in programs like as Empower Network or other blogging and search-based marketing programs. Why's that? Because back-links are still considered the principle factor to ranking, and links can be pretty easy to achieve in contrast to social signals. I expect however that there may be a day when it will be so difficult to attempt to cheat the system that it won't be worth the time for anybody to bother with. Regardless of any argument or uncertainness regarding whether social signals will make the difference in your marketing, it would be a sure bet to get to work making content that people will find interesting and may want to share along with your back-linking. The marketing is definitely trending in a more social direction and the big dogs of search know where you been searching and spending your time online. Daniel Tan


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