Google’s gone social (almost completely) and they’re not showing any signs of stopping. In fact, they seem to be getting more and more social with every update. Who thought your Facebook wall and Tweets could ever have such an effect on your wallet? Well, with Google caring so much about social sites, good rankings nowadays depend on being social more than ever. Can the system still be gamed?

Let me be clear, when I say “gamed” I’m not talking about “black hat” here… anytime anyone does anything to get better rankings, Google technically sees this as “an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings”. Ever bought or built any backlinks? You’ve attempted to manipulate search engine rankings. Ever did up your On-Page SEO to try to rank for a certain keyword? Same thing. Google doesn’t make a penny off of their organic search results, so they want ALL SEO to be done 100% naturally. This means that you offer some quality content, and people link to it. That’s what naturally means, and that’s basically ALL that natural SEO is about.

 

Why It’s Going Social…

So, why is Google going social, if they care so much about link building being done naturally? Well, before, Google used backlinks as almost a sort of “vote” for a website. If someone liked something you wrote, for example, they would put down a link to it. Google saw this link as an implication that the what was being linked to was valuable. Unfortunately, (for Google) people were able to quickly pick up on this, and then they were building “fake” links, and manipulating Google’s search engine rankings. It’s really hard for Google to monitor the entire internet to figure out which links are real, and which ones aren’t.

They have had some ways of doing this however, such as by using Page Rank, which determines the value of a link by a rating system which Google uses to determine the quality of the site, and then divides that “quality” by the number of other links on that page, called Outbound Links (OBL). Because this is so hard for them to monitor, they’ve decided to go social, and determine quality by what people on a social network have determined is quality. These social networks are easier to monitor, and harder to manipulate.

This is why Google wants to get Google+ to be so big… if they can base their rankings so heavily off of their own social network (G+) then they can monitor this network fully, and ban spammers, thus helping them to determine which links are quality, and which ones aren’t. They do however put a lot of weight on the other social networks as well, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn… as well as Social bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc.

social links

What Matters Now…

What matters now is how much the sites you want to rank (the URL’s) are shared around the social networks. Of course, the true spammers remain ahead of Google at all times, but, staying ahead like that is basically a full-time job. In the same ways that people used to spam backlinks, they now spam the social sites instead. They may have countless accounts on Facebook, or Digg, for example, and use these accounts to manipulate the number of Likes/Diggs a certain article or page has for example. This will work temporarily, but, eventually, The Big G WILL catch on, and you’ll have to find yet another way around it, and on and on it goes…

 

How To Take Advantage of It…

There is an easier way however… and a permanent way to actually get the rankings you want, without having to worry about Google doing something to tear it down… and that is: Offer Quality. If you simply offer great value to your readers, what will happen? People will share your links throughout their networks, giving you the backlinks you need. They’ll vote them up as well on the social bookmarking sites, giving you all the Diggs, Likes, and Retweets you need, and they’ll all be from REAL people, with REAL accounts… not a bunch of spam bots. If you simply give Google what it wants, Google will give you the rankings you deserve… this is how rankings are built naturally.

Creating great content will not only give you the rankings you want, it will also make you an authority in your niche, and this is very profitable. Don’t be the mouse in Google’s game of cat and mouse… just give them what they want, and you’ll never have to worry about what’s going to happen to you in the next update. This doesn’t mean writing a whole bunch of 300-400 word cheesy posts, but instead, a whole bunch of different quality posts, of varying lengths. These posts should in most cases be fun or educational. It’s as if you were going to write an eBook, or create a video course… you need to offer a ton of value in these in order to make sure people get what they paid for… you should be offering that level of quality for free, on your blog, so you can stand head and shoulders above the competition.