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The Evolving State Of Social Media & Seo


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#1 Jill

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 09:49 AM

The Evolving State Of Social Media and SEO

From the Search Engine Land article:

QUOTE(article snippet)
The depth and breadth of tactics and skills required to succeed in an SEO project is increasing. A brilliant link building tactic that isnít really based on quality content will likely receive some level of negative backlash, and that backlash will act as a counter-balancing force. Basically, there will be a lot more data for search engines to use, and this is good news for themóall the while increasing the challenge for SEOs.




Agree? Disagree?

#2 Randy

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 10:21 AM

I guess I could agree up to a point.

I do agree that there is a broader range of signals the search engines can pick up on today. And that they're extremely interested in the thoughts and opinions of non-webmaster, regular users. And that the various social networks can indeed facilitate the expression of such opinions.

I rather doubt they're going to rely quite as heavily on social networking signals as some seem to think will be the case. If anything, skewing results via social networking mentions is easier than more traditional scummy link building methods. What I mean by this is it's a lot easier and less expensive to hire 50 (or 100 or 1,000) people to tweet something positive about your site than it is to convince 50 (or 100 or 1,000) other webmasters to link to your site. In fact, on the lower end of the spectrum it's quite easy for a single person to create dozens of social networking accounts, accounts that are set up only to hawk someones wares.

Seriously, how much do you think it would cost to pay some company or group to put out 2 tweets per month across 100 usernames? We're talking pennies! Compare this cost to hiring someone to place a few hundred links to your site via more traditional link building methods. Social media mentions are infinitely easier to accomplish than real links given by other webmasters.

Do I think the engines are and/or will be looking at social media mentions? Yes. But more on a larger scale as part of their Personalization push. In other words, if they can't identify that a tweeter is a real person by other methods anything that person may say or link to would end up being discounted. If the engines don't have some bs filters built into the process somewhere, they're asking to have their indexes skewed. One would have to imagine they've already realized of this small fact, and put protections in place.

#3 Alan Perkins

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 06:33 AM

Randy pretty much always says everything I want to say, before I get the chance to say it. And he's done it again. biggrin.gif

What I would add is that the article states:

QUOTE
Think of it this way: a link from a highly trusted web site will still be a highly valuable thing. Similarly, a host of mentions across a range of social media sites, particularly if they are primarily positive or negative, will also be a strong signal.


I think things need to be more granular than that. Just as search engines currently rank quality of Web pages (Pagerank), they may also need to end up ranking quality of members and posts within social networks. For example, within Twitter, they could look at
  • who the member follows
  • who follows the member
  • the quality of the neighbourhoods the member links to
  • the quality of the neighbourhoods the members a member is following link to (and so on, recursively)
  • the "signal:noise" ratio of a member's posts

and so on. These could give "MemberRank" and "PostRank" equivalents to PageRank.

This may be a lot of work (especially tracking all those tinyURL links wink1.gif), and will involve quite a deep understanding of the inner machine of a social network. Actually owning the network, or forming a close partnership with it, may be required in order to gain that understanding.

#4 1dmf

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 06:51 AM

QUOTE
hey may also need to end up ranking quality of member
and that I think is dodgy ground!

It's like the SE's building up a dossier on me and the sites I visit and the posts I make...hmm I don't like the idea of that at all!

#5 Randy

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 06:51 AM

Do ya think I may have been reading your thoughts on various subjects for too many years Alan? wink1.gif

Now if I could just do it with fewer words. giggle.gif

Spot on with the MemberRank/PostRank idea. That's exactly the line of thought on which I'm thinking. I don't think all social network members should or will be trusted blindly.

QUOTE
This may be a lot of work (especially tracking all those tinyURL links ), and will involve quite a deep understanding of the inner machine of a social network. Actually owning the network, or forming a close partnership with it, may be required in order to gain that understanding.


Do you think the engines would be better off having the data from the Social Networks themselves, or the data from the url shortening services? I know both would be the best answer, but I'm thinking if I were in their shoes and had to choose I'd want the data from the url shortening networks since they tend to span across several social networks.

#6 Alan Perkins

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 07:06 AM

QUOTE
Do you think the engines would be better off having the data from the Social Networks themselves, or the data from the url shortening services? I know both would be the best answer, but I'm thinking if I were in their shoes and had to choose I'd want the data from the url shortening networks since they tend to span across several social networks.

Given the choice of one or the other, I'd choose the network. They know more than the shortening service. The way Ask/Teoma's algorithm works, for example, they could probably make great use of some of the data locked up in those networks.

I do have some ideas for a shortening service, however .... how about yourself? smile.gif

#7 Jill

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 07:49 AM

Ohhhhh...I bet that is the next thing Google creates--a URL shortening service that far surpasses the others so everyone will want to use it.

#8 Alan Perkins

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 08:38 AM

goog.ly, the URL shortening service that you can label paid links with. biggrin.gif

#9 Randy

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 08:46 AM

One that would also be laughably easy for them to do too Jill. And one that could offer significant advantages to posters, since Google could guarantee the final destination url is the one that gets the link credit, instead of the shortened url possibly getting some credit.

I wonder if ICANN would allow G to get g.com from IANA to use as a url shortening service? angel_not.gif

I do agree there is more valuable User data in the social networking side of things Alan. Considerably more valuable, in fact. I guess the question I come back to is basically that they'd have to have some sort of data partnership with each of the social networks to make such a user ranking system the best it could possibly be. Whereas starting their own url shortening service or making some sort of agreement with the handful of popular url shortening services should cover all of the SocNet services. Now and in the future.

#10 1dmf

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 04:57 AM

Can someone explain the point and need for a URL shortening service.

On top of which a URL is meant to be a URI , if more than one URL can get to the source, it's not a URI.

What about the possability of conflict with other established URI's.

If HighRankings.com wanted to become HR.com , then you need to buy HR.com not apply some service to change the URL surely, or am I missunderstanding what this service does?

#11 Randy

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 08:57 AM

Yeah, you're definitely misunderstanding url shortening services and why they're needed 1dmf. Here's what you're missing, and we'll use Twitter as the example social media network.

Twitter limits the sender of any tweet to a maximum of 140 characters. So basically one sentence. So if you're including a url address in your tweet you need to allow for the length of the url itself, since it counts against your 140 max characters.

What the url shortening services do is allow you to plug in any url, that they then produce a shorter but still unique url for you to paste into your tweet. The length of your original url doesn't affect the length of the shortening services url. The shortening service usually provides some sort of redirect code too.

So you tweet out to your peeps, including a shortened url. And when people click on it they get forwarded to the real, longer url.

The problem for the search engines is connecting all of this data back together again. They'd need to know which user(s) sent the original message, what shortened url they provided and what final destination url people were redirected to in order to tie it all back together again.

Make more sense now?

#12 1dmf

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 09:35 AM

So it's a link to service with a unqiue ID which then redirects to the real URL. got it.

But what an obsured thing, why not allow more than 140 chars in Twitter?

is this some thing relating to SMS and its limitation. As I understood it, they get round this by every xx chars, sending it as a 2nd SMS and 3rd SMS , but strung together.

The only real thing I got from your explanation, for me is just another reason not to join Twitter! , but you know me wink1.gif

I read an interesting article that MySpace was dying and FaceBook is overtaking, I guess it'll be another in 6months time and then someone else will come on the scene, I can't and don't even want to try and keep up with them all!

#13 Jill

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:23 AM

QUOTE
But what an obsured thing, why not allow more than 140 chars in Twitter?


That's its unique charm.

FTR, the url shorteners were around long before twitter, mostly so you could put URLs in text-only email newsletters without them breaking. Twitter has just taken them to a new level and many new services were created to accommodate all those now using them.

#14 gsimerlink

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:31 AM

1dmf,

Actually URL shortning has been around for quite some time. Other than it being helpful on Twitter nowadays it has always been helpful when you've wanted to forward a link that is really long, and has a bunch of variables to a less experienced user who has text only email that breaks up the URL. The user clicks on the link and it's broken, they don't understand that you need to remove the spaces where the original URL broke. In cases like that I've always used tinyurl or the like to help avoid the confusion. Now I'm using cl.igs for twitter and it has some nice tracking tools.

I'm actually using Twitter in a business capacity and finding it to be a great tool that serves a specific purpose.

#15 1dmf

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:53 AM

Horses for courses I guess. And obviously there are plenty that have a use for this service else they wouldn't exist.

SMS length and text only emails is not a thing which affects me, I don't do Mobile phones and I use a proper email client.

QUOTE
That's its unique charm.
Having a system where you cannot send someone a proper URL and have to go and prat around with URL shortening services and writing in SMS english because of a message length criteria, I don't consider charm, to me that would be a pain in the arse, but if it makes you happy Jill, I'm pleased for you. smile.gif







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