What’s more important for securing top page rankings, SEO or social shares? Actually, that’s kind of a trick question.

While the winds of change are definitely blowing in social media’s direction, there’s still plenty of life left in traditional, white hat SEO. The trick is coming up with a balance of techniques that maximize the growing importance of social shares, while still maintaining those core SEO practices that really work.

Here’s what every gaming affiliate should know about the importance of social share vs. SEO.

Social Media is the Future

There’s mo question that the value of social shares is growing larger all the time, and for good reason. Years of questionable, black hat, SEO techniques have made a lot of search results and signals less than reliable.

Since paid link exchanges are the results of business deals rather than legitimate recommendations, Google needed a more reliable metric for measuring recommendations. Because social networks aren’t easily gamed, social shares became the new gold standard for organic links.

How much relevance is Google placing on social media signals? According to a recent study by UK-based search analytics firm Searchmetrics, five of Google’s top six ranking factors are social signals. They included:

  • Facebook shares
  • Facebook total
  • Facebook comments
  • Facebook likes
  • Tweets (no distinction appears to be made between Tweets and re-Tweets)

The only non-social signal to crack the top five is number of backlinks.

Interestingly enough, Google + did not rank in the top 25 factors listed in the study. According to the blogger Kelly Kramer that’s because there simply aren’t enough Google + users to make a difference.

That said, Google is still pretty high on their pet social network and she suggests keeping it in your overall social media strategy.
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Does SEO Still Matter?

SEO may seem less relevant in the wake of the social media tsunami and devastating Google updates like Penguin and Panda, but it’s not. The only aspects of SEO that don’t really matter anymore are the ones that you probably shouldn’t have been messing with in the first place.

You can definitely argue that paid links were an accepted practice for a long time, but arguing their value to readers is a lot tougher. Penguin-friendly backlink building like guest blogging are a lot better for everyone involved.

Putting it All Together

In general, it’s safe to say that pursuing traditionally white hat SEO methods like creating quality content are always going to pay off. These types of not help you build higher page rankings, they’re also more shareable.

So don’t rely too much on one method or the other, but be prepared for social media to be the dominant factor in the months and years to come.

Are you betting on social media; sticking with traditional SEO or working a little of each? Share your tips and strategies on our SEO Forum.

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