In April Google dropped their Penguin bomb forever changing the face of search engine organization. Whereas before you could pay for links or join link networks or get offshore workers to build thousands of links for$10, these techniques no longer work. Penguin has made it clear that utilizing these methods will not help you and may, in fact, cause your site to get penalized.
So when they lowered the importance of links as ranking signals, what became more important? A social presence, user experience, diversity, and natural online presence and profiles. Google publicly stated that they utilize social media signals as part of their organic ranking algorithm. Did you notice they updated how they track social media in Google Analytics? If they are tracking this data, why not use it as part of their algorithm? And if they are tracking based on Analytics, why not monitor recurring visitors, bounce rate, time spent on site, and other metrics?
Do you have enough likes? Tweets? +1′s? If not, it’s time to get socializing!
Pay me with Likes or Tweets
Offer something on your blog that users can get by paying with a like or a tweet. You can write a tutorial, or give a way a subscription to your tools, or find something that people would be interested in by simply tweeting or like you. PaywithaTweet.com is a service that automates this for you.
Grow your channels
If you focus mainly on one social media platform, such as Facebook, it’s time to branch out. The more channels you’re involved in, the more people you will reach. Start tweeting, build Google Plus circles, and check out Pinterest. Use a tool such as Hootsuite to centrally manage your channels, saving yourself time and ensuring that you reach them all. Your new content will find a wider audience, increasing your links and visibility. You can also use a tool such as XeeMe to link to all of your accounts from one central location. By linking to this profile page, you will simultaneously build popularity for each individual profile as PR is passed down.
Offer free stuff
People love to get freebies. Engage and grow your audience by running contests and giveaways. Tie your promotions to a specific call to action such as signing up for a newsletter or visiting your homepage. Make sure to maximize participation by reaching out to all of your channels. Make it fun and free, and people will like, retweet, and link in return. Make sure you offer extra contest entries for each social action your readers take, giving them the opportunity to like, tweet, pin, and +1 you for a total of 4 separate entries to your contest or giveaway.
Get noticed by influencers
Influencers are people in the online community who influence others’ behavior. If the influencer recommends something, others are more likely to check it out. Your traffic can grow substantially if influencers decide that your site is worth sharing. Identify the influencers in the communities where you would like to become known. Follow and get to know them. Engage them by offering meaningful comments on their posts. The key here is to be genuine. If you wouldn’t talk to them at a party, move on to someone you actually want to interact with. If you create a connection with an influencer who decides to share your content, you could instantly and in one moment multiply your social presence.
Set up Authorship with your Google+ Account
Follow the instructions to set up your Authorship tag, thus creating the possibility of Google featuring your profile from the SERP’s and allowing people to add you to their Circles directly from the results page. Many have noticed the correlation between active Google+ accounts and higher search engine rankings. The more you post on Google plus and connect to your Author profile, the more you create possibilities for increased exposure.
Go forth and Socialize
The time for excuses about why social media is too time consuming and has no ROI is over. Your site’s rankings now depend on your social activity. Start small. Follow other people who can help you establish credibility in your field or community. Contribute posts that others will find genuinely helpful or insightful. Rather than simply agreeing with someone’s post, offer your own fresh perspective. If someone posts a question that you can answer, respond quickly with a good solution. As you become seen as helpful and knowledgeable, you will gain traffic and improve your trust ranking.