Is traditional link building dead? Are tweets the new links?
Not for me, just yet…..
Pointblank SEO has a good post with 24 seo discussing the power of social website links (like ‘tweets’) versus traditional links like blog posts (for example).
You should read it.
I don’t think Google is about to throw away it’s $10bn a quarter link-count scraper to rank tweets above links. Not just now anyway – and not in isolation. The idea of people picking the best sites, rather than counting links the traditional way, is an ideal situation, of course – but I dont see much real evidence of this in competitive verticals so I need to say traditional links are still relied on HEAVILY, by Google at the very least – and what I would prefer if given a choice.
While I don’t think I see much of evidence of tweets having a massive impact (compared to traditional linkbuilding) in Google’s competitive serps – it is worth considering what search engines SAY they are working towards with regards to social ‘buzz’:
|Are Regular Search Results affected by social media buzz?||Yes. It is used as a signal especially for news.||Yes it is a signal. Some weight is passed and regular results are affected.|
|Are Social/Realtime Search Results affected by buzz?||Heavily affected||Heavily affected, Authority metrics are used to determine the hot posts.|
|Are Twitter links taken into account (aka do they pass link juice)?||In some limited situations the data are used.||The data are used. The weight depends on how often a link is posted, the number of tweets & retweets and the authority of the people that post it.|
|Are Facebook links taken into account?||The shared links from Fan pages are treated similarly to Twitter links. No links from personal walls are used.||Only the publicly shared links from Fan pages and Profiles are taken into account.|
|Is there an Authority Rank for Twitter Profiles?||Yes, the author quality is measured. Google calls this Author Authority.||Yes. Several metrics are taken into account. Bing calls this Social Authority.|
|Is there an Authority Rank for Facebook Profiles?||They are treated similarly to Twitter Profiles.Note: Normally if this is true, they measure only public profiles like Fan pages.||No. They take into account only the Facebook data that are publicly available.|
|Does the Twitter Authority have an impact on the weight of the links that are shared?||Yes. The weight depends on the authority of the person. The Author Authority is used in limited situations and it is independent of PageRank.||The Author Authority affects the link weight.|
|Does the Facebook Authority have an impact on the weight of the links that are shared?||Similarly to Twitter. The weight of each link depends on the authority of the profile.||They don’t use Facebook authority. Instead in order to find if something is really popular they compare Twitter & Facebook shares.|
It’s clear search engines are looking at social signals and these WILL only increase in value. We’ve been saying this for a long time, though.
Eric Ward calls it right for me:
the rankings effect can be directed at specific known circles, friends, connections, etc. The one size fits all search result is headed for the museum. Also, I believe the highest caliber most credible link sources will become that much more important as a trust signal for engines.
The rewards from linkbuilding will narrow – as the rewards from social increase – that’s for sure. Even at the moment – to compete in Google organic results, a top 2 or 3 is essential – and you need links from websites to do that.
I actually agree with Eric on this too:
I’d take the blog post link because it can continually provide traffic, new tweets, shares, etc., whereas a single tweet, even if by an authority, is fleeting and has a shorter half-life. Much more hit or miss.
If I get a choice between a 100 Tweets and a 100 links on real websites, today – I would take the links from websites or blog posts everytime.
The safe answer is, yes, you should be on social sites – and you should be getting your site mentioned on these sites, regardless of exactly where the search engines are on social links at this point – as they will only get better at determining links to trust.
‘Great content’ probably has lots of links from many sources, and lots of tweets, too.
I will tell you, though, I am not active on Google+, Facebook or Twitter to help my search engine rankings improve – especially with my new sites. I may use Google+, Twitter or Facebook to get new content INDEXED (Bing certainly follows FB fan pages links) but I dont expect aged content to rank that much better because of tweets- at the moment, in Google, at least.
I much prefer to use social sites to reach real people.
Anyways – the article on Pointblank SEO is a good one with plenty of opinions you can choose to adopt.
Somebody may well be right.