Social Link Building - A Must in 2015

Travis Bliffen
by Travis Bliffen 09 Dec, 2014

:: By Travis Bliffen, Stellar SEO::


For quite some time now the jury has been out on whether social signals could have meaningful impact on organic search rankings. The excellent case studies conducted by Stone Temple Consulting over the past few years have shown that social media can influence rankings, although at the time of their studies, social signals could offer only a temporary boost in rankings.

As 2014 comes to a close, you should be putting the final touches on your marketing plan for the coming year. If you have not yet done so, integrating a focus on generating social signals as part of your search marketing strategy should be high on your to-do list.

If you are a regular reader of Website Magazine (why wouldn't you be?) then you may recall that in the past I mentioned that social signals were being given more credit than they deserve. While that was true for quite some time, I can tell you now that they do make a lasting and meaningful impact. I currently manage over 2,000 blogs in a test network and over 75% of the blogs had a noticeable and lasting increase in traffic and rankings when social signals where added to the equation. We know they work, so let's look at what they are and how to get them!


What is a Social Signal?
When you hear social signal, most of you think of Facebook shares, Tweets, and Google +1's. You may also think of Pinterest or Instagram. While these certainly are social signals, they are far from the only ones that you need to create. The type of signals you need can be broken down into three categories, social media sites, social bookmarks, and content syndication.

As mentioned above, sites like Twitter and Facebook are social media sites and getting mentions on these sites can be helpful both directly and indirectly to your SEO efforts. Most of you are familiar with these sites so we focus on the next two signal types

Social Bookmarks
Remember when a key part of your SEO was to get a ton of bookmark links? That is not what we are talking about here! Social bookmarks are still an important social signal, but only when you get them from the right places. Here are a few examples of good social bookmarking sites:

+ Stumbleupon
+ Newsvine
+ Delicious
+ InstaPaper

As a rule of thumb when building any type of link to your site, ask your; is this likely to send referral traffic? If the answer is no, you should skip that link and look elsewhere.

Creating "Viral" Content with Syndication
Stop and think for a minute about a viral piece of content; what happens to it? Generally, the image, video, or content is heavily shared across numerous platforms, gains a ton of social shares and other social signals, and then ranks very well in Google. Back in 2013 I mentioned this strategy in an article covering 4 common back link myths in the context of link velocity. As Google has evolved over the past 18 months, this strategy has become even more effective when properly executed.

What about Duplicate Content?
It is still true that you do not want duplicate content on your own website and it is also true that you should not syndicate a piece of written content for the purpose of traditional link building. That being said, here is how you CAN use syndicated content to drive traffic and rankings.
+ Rank Images and Videos
+ Rank Social Profiles and Barnacle Sites
+ Online Reputation Management
+ Create "Viral" Signals for Written Content

When done correctly, you can rank sites, videos, and images. This could be used for affiliate income, to promote your service to a local audience, or to assist in ranking a target keyword. As with social bookmarking, the sites you use during the process can make all of the difference when using this method, here are some good sites to use for syndicating your content:


As you start the process, you should identify sites that are unique to your industry and possess the same properties as the sites I mentioned above for social bookmarks and syndication.

If you are familiar with this strategy and have been waiting for confirmation that is works, I am telling you that it does. If you are completely new to this strategy, I encourage you to do some more reading before you get started. I am currently working on a complete guide to social link building so be sure to stop by my blog and sign up to be notified when it is completed if you want to know more about this method.

Have any of you been using this method? How has it worked out for you?