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Search engine optimization is an ever-changing beast. Whilst keyword rich text mixed with spammy back links used to help websites rank for the desired keywords in the past, this is no longer the case. With Google’s Panda, Penguin and now Hummingbird updates, the ways in which websites are ranked by the search engine are significantly different.

In the past, “Pagerank” (PR) was generally the defining factor in where a website will rank for selected keywords. Websites would receive links from high PR sites that would in turn pass on high “link juice”. When a website was receiving numerous links from a variety of high PR sources, it would move up the rankings extremely quickly. This search ranking was generally sustainable when it was mixed with a link-building campaign. This would usually heavily feature exact match anchor text and an absolute saturation of keywords.

The days of these SEO techniques being effective are over. Pagerank is no longer the sole determining factor for SEO strategies. Whilst it is still a semi-important metric, the PA (Page authority) and DA (Domain authority) have taken over as the critical factors. How do you build authority? Social signals are a great way to start.

With social media platforms becoming increasingly popular, a new way style of search engine optimization strategies have emerged. Social signals are Likes, Shares, Retweets, +1s or any other interaction on a social media platform. These actions can be quantified and the popularity of a post can be easily discovered.

It’s pretty simple really. Each of these actions can be seen as a vote. The more votes your page or specific post receives, the more votes it has accrued. Google sees these votes as a form of referral and takes it into account when creating their intricate search rankings.

Authorship is also becoming an increasingly important factor in social signals. By linking a website to a Google Plus account, you are immediately adding validity and legitimacy to the connected page. Google especially likes it when you connect a Google Plus profile to a website.

The future of SEO is guaranteed to feature increased levels of social signals. With Facebook, Twitter and of course Google Plus all growing considerably each year, their importance in the SEO landscape grows with them.

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About The Author
Brett Hardiman is MD at SEO Melbourne Experts and a Search Engine Optimisation expert with over 15 years experience working with and advising businesses of all sizes on their internet marketing strategy.

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