There are some big changes going on in the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) these days, and it’s amazing the level of “investigation” that search engines are doing to stop SEO experts from cheating their system.

Recently I was at a seminar talking to an anonymous SEO insider – I’ll call her “Nicky Parsons” .

Nicky explained how after many months of study, she’s finally convinced that search engines (SE) are counting “social network feedback” as a significant part of how they determine SEO rankings.

“I really feel that the biggest factor going into the next year will be social proof. At first I wasn’t a big believer in social proof in the algorithm but with all the updates they are making, it appears SE’s are using social proof to weed out all the fake blogs,” she said.

“SE’s are moving to where a Tweet, a ‘Like’, and a +1 from real users will be just like backlinks, all given a certain valuation and then worked into the rankings.

“However,” she continued, “Tweets coming from fake Twitter accounts that just blast out hundreds of tweets per day will be given very little weight, just like a low quality backlink. But on the other hand, a Tweet from a real person with real followers will have more weight – just like from a high trusted blog.”

“You’ll soon have SEO experts creating powerful social circles to drive websites to the top of the rankings,” she concluded.

If it all sounds like a big spy game of cat-and-mouse, well, it kind of is.

So I had to ask her what’s up with this James Bond-like SEO business.

“I feel that a big reason SE’s are ramping this up so quickly is because SEO experts have become too aggressive with blog networks. Now there are millions of blogs out there that don’t have a real person behind them, but are giving our backlinks and influencing the SEO voting system,” Nicky explained.

You see, backlinks were always intended to be a live vote from a website that was run by a real person.

However, the reality is that most “real” people don’t have a blog, and therefore, if SE’s are counting only website and blog backlinks, then the Internet popularity votes are not coming from regular people online – but rather from aggressive SEO experts with blog networks.

So how do the SE’s fix this?

By giving more weight to social media.

“Since the majority of people online don’t actually have a real blog but do have a Twitter, Facebook, or +1 account, this allows them to be part of the voting process which will start to even the balance back out,” Nicky concluded.

With that, Nicky turned away, pulled her coat collar up over her neck, tugged her hat down over her eyes and got ready to blend into the crowd. But before I let her slip away, I demanded the answer to one more question.

“What advice do you have for my readers, Nicky? If that is, in fact, your real name.”

Nicky smiled slyly and said, “Your readers, if you do, in fact, have any, should make sure they have all of the social media tools on their blogs and websites, so that visitors can ‘Like” their content, re-tweet their posts, and +1 their pages.”

“Oh, and you should expect to see a lot more keyword- named FB pages topping SE rankings as well,” she said under her breath.

“I see your ‘Metabolic Resistance Training’ fanpage is #4 in the Big G search rankings already for that term.

Congratulations, Mr. Ballantyne…

…So you can suggest to your readers that if they are serious about dominating a keyword phrase, they should get a well-named FB fanpage.”

“But you’re getting in too deep, Ballantyne. So leave me alone and let this go,” she commanded before disappearing into the crowd.

“I don’t know how, Nicky, I don’t know how to let it go,” I whispered under my breath as she vanished. Having said that, I looked around to make sure no one was tailing me, and I disappeared into the crowd myself.

This isn’t over.

But the rise of the Social Networks for SEO is confirmed.

As I find out more from Nicky on how to use FB, Twitter, and +1 to boost your website rankings, I’ll be sure to pass it on to you…in a dark alley via a secret code, of course.

Craig Ballantyne

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