The Evaporating Yellow Line between SEO & Social Media

link-building-minneapolisI know SEOs who are scared-yellow. One night, during the early days of Google’s paid link jihad, I personally woke up in Manhattan to a 3AM cold sweat.

It had finally registered that over half of the links we’d procured for clients would, not only cease to have value, but potentially cause penalties. Google was going door to door in a vicious pagerank-killing pogrom.

Gnashing teeth that night, it was clear that our many months of intensity, whilst delving deeper into the social media universe, would pay. I quietly thanked the stars for our team’s social media acumen, planning, and luck. With certainty the golden path was clear. The line between organic search engine optimization and social media is evaporating.

Everyone knows that the black box organic ranking machine, especially in this day of personalized search, is all about links, links, and better links. Now linking patterns need to be (or appear) honest and “natural.” Paid links screw up Google’s authority ranking system. Eeeek!

True Participation
While ad nauseam Dofollow bookmark-site Link building can be useful, the “new” SEO is to a significant extent about making friends and participating in niche’ communities like Metafilter, Mixx, Hugg, Sk*rt , and Stirr’dup. We’ve made long lists of social news sites and DoFollow blogs. Participation in comment threads about stainless cookware, music school, Chicago airport parking, bagged cereal, and Duluth hotels is mandatory. It’s hard to fake that level of participation. Bloggers, community members, and algorithms will cut you to shreds.

Client Pushback
Social media is often in the jurisdiction of the PR agency or in-house department, separate from SEM. This partitioning is sometimes a tough barrier to crack. Convincing the VP of marketing that online PR and reputation management has become a key component to being properly indexed in Google can be a difficult sell. That’s not how most companies are tooled. The thin yellow line is fear of rapid change.

Links Take Time
Link building is less and less a direct response medium. Now we engage readership over time, make loyal friends, and the links come in reward for relevancy. Think of a link for what it really is: A true recommendation from one site to another.

Link building has gone underground and techniques have to change. The majority of effective link building now must bring elements of actual value to web users.

“As the engines have improved detection of the junk, the better link builders continued to thrive while those who sold crappy services to crappy content ran for cover. At least three of the most dependable link building tactics started wobbling and in some cases failed completely in 2007: article marketing/syndication, directory submission, and paid links. It’s not that these tactics aren’t potentially still useful, but rather that the approach you will have to use for each will have to be modified, in some cases even abandoned.”
Eric Ward

Adapt or Fail
Everyone knows link building is vital for organic success. Now manufactured links are much harder to mask as they must be craftily embedded in relevant content. Personal relationships gained by authentic social media participation are one of the easiest paths to “honest” inbound linking profiles.

There is fear on the street as the yellow line between SEO and social media evaporates. Some SEO firms, not tuned to social media vibrations, may cease to exist.

Recent Notable Link Building Posts
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Worst Link Building Email I’ve Ever Received Loren Baker, Editor

Building Links For Fun And Profit Vanessa Fox Nude

Link Building Campaigns That Work Arnie Kuenn,

Five Link Development Experts: A Group Interview Sugarrae

What’s Your Link Building Marketing Mix? – Part 2 Eric Enge, Search Engine Watch

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