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2013 Search Ranking Factors of Link Building and Social Media

The importance of link building and social media to search ranking in 2013

By Chris Sheehy | Link Building & Social Media Optimization Specialist

Link building and social media search ranking factors chart

[Data by: searchmetrics.com]

In looking at the recent Ranking Factors Overview data published by searchmetrics, optimized social media profiles and postings along with a strong link building (backlinking) strategy will be key in getting businesses discovered online in 2013.

Backlinking and Social occupy six and seven slots of the top 15 reported search engine ranking elements respectively. That’s a lot of focus to ignore (perhaps too much to ignore).

So what do these search engine ranking factors mean for businesses?

On the Social side, the data emphasises the need to have optimized social media profiles and keyword concentric (i.e. keyword optimized) posts. An optimized social media profile will increase its discoverability within Social as well as within Search – same for postings. And while the use of hashtags isn’t a ranking factor – it sure is a visibility one, so be sure to use some hashtag best practices when you #tag_it_up. This report also stresses the importance of Social activity and shared/favored content. You don’t have to post often to – but you do have to put something out there. You can’t win -if you don’t play.

TIP: Proper keyword research due-diligence will make sure you are targeting the right words and attracting the right buyers. Keywords are at the center of all internet marketing activity.

Backlinking (aka link building or linkbuilding – same thing) refers to the act of having a website or other digital asset point to yours. These could be reciprocal or one-way links, the latter being most common with directories and search engines. These links show marketing activity, keyword focus, and through verifying the consistent use of your business name, address, and phone (called NAP) helps to create online authority through citation building (the brand-authority created by the mention of your NAP online).

Interestingly – and to argue – the third element in this report lists “Number of Backlinks” as a top ranking factor. And while the number of links is indeed a vital ranking consideration, the quality (think authority) of those links is exponentially more important than a mass of un-authoritative site links. Better to have few high-ranking links pointing to your business than hundreds or thousands of less-authoritative, or worse – spammy ones.

Consistent action plays a key role with link-building as the search engines are measuring the number and frequency of the backlinks created for your business each month. Bursts of activity followed by inactivity aren’t going to be very beneficial in the big picture (common with subscription-based link building services). So too, automated link-building software is not capable of doing the task as thoroughly as one can do by hand. Building backlinks that actually benefit your business isn’t as easy as it sounds – and that’s probably why businesses fail at link building.

Graph showing historical linkbuilding backlinking statistics

Search engines measure the quality and quantity of your link building activity

TIP: When creating backlinks, look for linking sites that can deliver a Page Rank (PR) value of 3 or better – or have a Domain Authority (DA) score of at least 30. Also consider your current PR & DA rank, and do not create an inbound less than yours.

Search and Social signals are clearly important search ranking factors in 2013, but don’t forget the value of your website as the central focus point of your business. Long gone are the days of brochure-websites with thin content, today’s business websites should answer the question of why people should buy from you (products or services) and offer unique narrative about your offerings. Business websites should be informative and designed to convert (close the deal).

So with this data in mind, focus your attention on using your off-page assets (your digital channels other than your website – think images, video, directory listings, social and blog posts) to drive traffic to your keyword-targeted website pages. This synergy amplifies your authority, ranking, and conversions – for which Link Building and Social are sure to have significant influence for years to come.

#linkbuilding #socialmediaoptimization #seo

Filed under: link building | backlink, Rhode Island SEO | SEO Rhode Island, Search Marketing Integration | SMI, social media search engine Tagged: backlink | link building, pagerank | page rank, Rhode Island | #rhodeisland, Search Marketing Integration | #smi, Social Media | #socialmedia

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Chris is the founder of Sidewalk Branding Company, a SEO services firm in Rhode Island with a strong focus on local brick-and-mortar businesses. Circa 1997

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