While link building is only one aspect of a balanced SEO strategy, it’s a very important one. Because of the important of inbound links, it only makes sense to take advantage of one of the best sources of good links. We’re talking about using social media networking to increase inbound links and traffic. It doesn’t have to cost anything at all and, done properly, social media can be a very powerful way to drive traffic to your website. Here’s a simple 5-Step Strategy for effectively incorporating Social Media into your search engine optimization and marketing plan.
Step 1: Build a Solid Profile
The obvious first step is to build a solid profile that will appeal to your target audience. This is as easy as picking two or three of the key sites, like Facebook and Twitter, and creating a simple and relevant profile. It isn’t necessary to spend too much time or money on this but it is absolutely essential that you have a polished and professional “Big Brand” look even if you aren’t one.
Step 2: Make Your Content Easy to Share
If your goal is to build links it’s in your best interest to make it easy to share your links. The best way to accomplish this is to add some Social Sharing buttons on your site to enable easy linking and sharing of your content. There are many free resources to help you with this; particularly if you’re using WordPress for your website or blog.
Step 3: Take Advantage of Social Bookmarking
You can jumpstart your link building activities by taking advantage of the many social bookmarking resources out there like Digg, Reddit and Technorati. These help you expand your social activities while providing a ready resource to funnel more traffic to your site, Some, like Technorati, allow you to automate the process so any post published to your blog automatically shows up on their site.
Step 4: Balance Link Types and Growth
You’ll want to make sure your links appear organic and include both Follow and NoFollow links. There is more value to Follow links but NoFollow links have some value as well and a good mix will help you avoid search engine penalties. You’ll also want to grow consistently and incrementally over time as opposed to massive link growth all at once. A good rule of thumb is to keep link growth within the 20% range for any given month.
Step 5: Track Your Results
It’s hard to make sure you’re making progress and getting the type of growth you want if you’re not measuring your progress. While tools like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools are essential they don’t provide a complete picture. There are a number of other free or inexpensive SEO resources that can help you fill in the areas not covered by Google tools. Depending on your preferred browser, toolbars from resources such as SEOmoz, SEOBook and SEOQuake generally offer good solutions.
SEO is Never Done
While this article is by no means a comprehensive guide on link building, it’s a good start on how to use Social in this regard. The main thing to remember is that SEO and link building are ongoing processes and you need to keep at it over time. You’re much better off to spend a modest amount of time each month toward modest growth than going all in one month and drawing unwanted search engine notice.