Are Google’s Aims Going To Be Derailed By Social Networking?

by Alex Graves
See Dave Speak SMX London

Search engine giants Google are constantly looking for new ways in which they can alter the way that they rank websites in the mission to prove their users with the best possible search engine results but in the aftermath of the recent ‘Penguin' and ‘Panda' double roll out, Google have told the online world that they should be building quality content rather than links in order to rank well within the SERPs.

Although this is nothing new when it comes to Google looking to pass out a generic hint of how website owners should be looking to increase their backlink profile in order to increase their ranking abilities, the message seems to be already looking likely to run into issues as the world of online natural linkage continues to die a death thanks to the online social networking mentality that millions of web users have now adapted into.

The reason that I believe that the new "Make content not links" call from Google is set to fail is that natural linking seems to be on the slippery downslope known as being ‘outdated' and instead social network sharing is becoming a much greater method of showing your interest in web content, sharing it on Twitter or posting the link onto Facebook for your friends to see.

I know that there is still a small number of people that are still picking up links through natural methods and that means that it is not impossible even to this day, but the fact that more people are interested in throwing the content out through the social avenues than spending the time writing about it on their own sites seems to show that excessive planning needs to be made when thinking up the content that you intend to place on your site, such as the angle of which you are going to take and the target market that you will be looking appeal to in order to bypass the webmasters that are simply going to socialise rather than publicise.

Now that I have put my point across to you and I know that many of you are calling for it, I have done a little research into some popular posts on either this blog or one that is a well trafficked industry leader in their field and it seems to show my point brilliantly, so let's have a look at what I found:

So what does this data show us?

Well the contrast between the two sites is that DavidNaylor.co.uk has a tiny amount of traffic when compared to the power of Mashable.com, meaning that based on Google's mentality, Mashable should have been able to generate a higher volume of links in comparison to the EU Cookie Law post which was published on Dave's blog but as we can see, that is not the case.

The post on DavidNaylor.co.uk generated 314 followed backlinks naturally with 62 further no follow backlinks but the Mashable post which reached a much wider audience generated 125 followed verses 12 no follow backlinks.

Okay so maybe the post wasn't of as much interest to the Mashable readers? Well looking at the social stats that we have been able to gather, that post was shared socially 5548 times, over twice as much as the DavidNaylor.co.uk blogpost, so clearly it was of more interest to the Mashable readers.

A further comparison of the why that the Mashable post was shared shows that 5,411 people who liked the post were more interested in simply sharing it at the click of a button than they were to write a blogpost to place the link into on their own site.

What am I trying to say with this post?

Well first let me point out that I nor anyone associated with DavidNaylor.co.uk have never purchased a single backlink for the site, nor do we suggest, condone or recommend that you do so for your own site either, but the grim reality is that this shows that the logic in which Google are clearly trying to show to website owners as the way to increase their visibility within their search engine is flawed thanks to the further development and popularity of social networking, a one button touch method to share anything of interest with friends and family.

This will result in the online search engine optimisation fight against blackhat methods continuing as website owners look to increase their positional status within the search engines in a bid to increase visibility and hopefully profits, so for all of the straight down the line sites just like this one will continue to need to think ‘outside of the box' if they are going to be able to compete.

* – Figures are used as potential indicators and are not 100% correct as based on numbers that contain sitewide, rss feed and other linkage.

What do you think? Do you agree with my thought that Google are taking webmasters towards an era where social networking could be a problem or do you believe that if the content is worth the time and effort of a reader, you will still get links like Google claim? Share your comments here or tweet me on @AlexGravesSEO

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