2016: SEO & Social Media Tactics

Written by: Jason Bayless | February 01, 2016

Social media connections are more important than ever in 2016’s SEO environment. Having organic propagation of your content is incredibly valuable. First of all, it just gets you in front of more eyeballs, so that is a plus on its own. Secondly, when your content takes off on social media and powers engagement in those channels, Google will notice. It rewards content like blog posts that get a lot of shares and comments. This is because Google assumes that a lot of social network activity is a positive sign of the quality of the content. On the other hand, you cannot just buy links and shares, because Google has become very good at detecting fraudulent engagement. That means social media growth needs to be organic. In this post, we will dive into this concept and explain how to use it to your advantage.

The idea that high social media engagement, lots of links, lots of comments, and so on was a sign that the underlying content is good is something Google has been using for a long time. On the face of it, this makes a lot of sense. If a lot of people are talking about a blog post, it probably has good or interesting content, and so Google should offer the post as a highly ranked search engine result. But it was not long before unscrupulous marketers began to exploit the system. With shell networks of fake social media accounts, they offered fake engagement for sale. You can buy likes, shares, follows, and so on. These started to inflate social media numbers and distorting the signal. Google could no longer trust that social media engagement was meaningful, because it could just be purchased.

Google decided that it had to crack down on this falsified engagement. In a series of algorithm updates, the company made it almost impossible to fake engagement. Google can now sense with great accuracy whether a site is getting purchased attention or organic attention. Most of the details are not public, but many of the companies that made money selling automated social networking software were out of a job. The result is that Google can treat social media as it did before, because now it knows which activity is real.

What all of that means is that if you want social media buzz, you have to earn it. That is pretty hard, especially at first. There are a few ways to get off the ground. The first is to be consistent. Get into a regular schedule so that your social media audience has something to look forward to on a consistent basis. You should also try to attract new people by doing guest posts on major blogs in your area. If your content is good enough, you can pick up some followers from among that blog’s audience. This is not something you can do all the time, because you still need to publish your own content, but it is a good idea for occasional intervals.

In the end, it will come down to quality. Your content has to be good enough to get people to read it, and then so good that they want to share it. The early stages of this game are very slow, but once you get a critical mass of engaged users, it starts to work by itself. Just keep at it and be persistent, and your patience will be rewarded in the form of strong, lasting engagement.