Why should SEOs care about social media?
Put simply you should care because the search engines do.
Just kidding, but if that was the entirety of my post that would be enough.
Social media represents many things to search engines. Voting and engagement points are feeding critical user data to the engines via their toolbars and browsers. The UGC created by social media makes up a huge component of the interlinking web, and has provided some of the engines largest spam problems. And if all of this was not enough, Twitter, a platform initially designed for inner-office communication, is posing the realest threat to Google's strong hold on search.
No SEO worth anything is going to argue against the importance links in ranking.
Social media offers the greatest opportunity for massive quality link acquisition since the penalization of paid links.
Here is what Matt Cutts had to say about social media links:
Basically links acquired from social media are as useful as any other links. Now, mix this with the amount of links you can build through the viral nature of social media, and you have the most powerful link building tool ever designed.
Google is collecting user data, that cannot be disputed.
Here is how Google is tracking you:
Click Tracking – This makes sense from a usability, data mining, and Adwords perspective
Cookies – Google loves to drop cookies from its properties.
Server Requests Stored in Log Files – Like everyone else they are logging your data in server side files
No matter where you go, you are likely interacting with a Google product and giving them data they can use to refine search results. So how then is the SEO to battle an engine moving towards user data, a system that will look to devalue links (not sure if this will ever happen, but it's the idea)? The SEO needs to find ways to get people to their sites and interact with them as much as possible.
Social media is the only answer to user data issues. (Ok maybe not only answer, but I like to use hyperbole for effect)
The idea that social media is useless to the search marketer is well passed its day of truth. Social media is the future for the search marketer. As long as links are still important, social media will offer the best tool for extracting that value. If links ever become devalued, social media offers the best tool for extracting user data value.
It is no longer a question of if you should be using social media, it is now a question of how?
How to create a campaign that accomplishes your goals.
How to use social media as an integrated part of your search strategy.
We will look at these topics weekly, and help you move towards a more holistic view of the web.