Social Buzz – Can Your Website Rank Without It?

Posted On: Apr. 11, 2011  |  Author: synnd

Social Buzz – Trust in Your Pal, Sal?  Not Likely.

Ask yourself what you value more – the words of a close friend in their recommendation of a product or service or the rambling hype and trust-statements that are fired at you like projectiles from a mounted machine gun?

It’s hard to take a message seriously when it’s coming from a lobbyist, especially when the person lobbying a product owns that product.  This is the problem that’s been building in search over recent years – product pushing and overwhelming sales content.  It’s also why Google has been ramping up their efforts to put more SEO value on social buzz – but how effective will it be in eliminating junk content in the SERPs and how easy will it be to game the system?

Google Rallies its Forces to Fight for Social Buzz

There’s pretty clear evidence that the search engines – especially Google – have been moving toward this type of setup for some time now.  When you look at how content is indexed, the original concept behind building rank and relevancy was supposed to be about social proof at its heart.  That’s what building links was all about.

It took work to generate those organic backlinks because you had to often make personal contact in order to get someone to manually create a link for you.  The content farms diluted the process greatly as did automated link building systems.  The result has been less than pleasant.

Over a year ago, Google’s Matt Cutts stated that they were evaluating the potential of social feeds and how social buzz worked.  Seeing value in it they moved toward ‘blended search’ to give people live social access to trending content.  Around 6 months ago Google stated that social buzz had potential for SEO ranking but they were not yet using it as a ranking factor.

With the Google Farmer/Panda update – social buzz as a ranking factor is now live.

Social Buzz?  More like Social Swampland

At least that’s how it’s getting started – a bit on the murky side.  All the years of gaming the system by people pushing products has left search results mired in poor quality articles, long form sales pages, more affiliate links than a recycle bin could handle and a general distrust for reviews.  With everyone trying to sell something it’s gotten to the point where content couldn’t be trusted and that’s bad business for a search engine that bases its business on delivering the most relevant content to users.

While search has grown to be a little musty and a bit of a swampland it’s not beyond hope.  These most recent updates are taking search back to how it should be – with a very tight focus on editorial review, social sharing and social buzz  as well as author authority to determine the real calculable value of content.

Why Social Buzz Works for SEO

Social buzz is only one factor among thousands (or more) when it comes to how content is ranked, deemed popular, or chosen to be more relevant for a given topic.  There’s a lot that goes into determining how sites wind up on page 1 of Google but social buzz is going to be an important piece of that puzzle.

As complicated as that puzzle can be… it’s easy to see why social buzz works.

For anyone that works hard to build their network, it’s either filled with trusted friends and family or close business relationships – in some cases both.  You’re not likely to want to share poor quality content among your networks because those you connect with are likely to think less of you.  Do it enough and they’ll digitally ditch you.

As the Tweets and ‘likes’ grow for a document, as well as social bookmarking, you get a clearly viral spread – something that’s impossible to fake or game.  This is the heart of social proof and building a social buzz.  It’s just not something you can manipulate to your heart’s content.  You need real people to help you rank.

This means people will support and share the quality content they like, they’ll power their favorite brands to the top of the search results and if you’re searching for something you’re far more likely to find what you’re looking for as opposed to an affiliate endorsement or “sucker” linkbait content.

Without social buzz and true social proof backing your content or your brand you’ll have a tough time scaling the Google Mountain to play King of the Rock.

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