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New SEO Metrics: Facebook on Par with Backlinks

Search engine optimization has traditionally been dominated by the idea that the backlink is the almighty king of achieving top organic search rankings. Even with all of Google's updates, data refreshes, punishment schemes and bloopers, and even with the fall of old search giants and the rise of Bing and its own set of wacky algorithms, the backlink has persevered as the most important SEO metric. But today, that's no longer the case, and now backlinks can stare their equal rival Facebook in the eye and wonder what's going to happen next. If you're in the SEO field, you should be wondering this as well.

Internet marketers who specialize in organic search know that nearly all rankings have historically been derived from the following three cues:

Backlink Quality - The highest rated backlinks (those that pass the most "link love") are those that are found on relevant, high authority sites and are trafficked fairly heavily. This quality is also measured by user behavior once they find your site via a backlink.

Backlink Quantity - The number of backlinks you have isn't nearly as important as the quality, but this is still an important metric. In general, the more links the better; provided they're from quality sources.

Backlink Velocity - Link velocity can make or break your SEO campaign. You don't have to have a high velocity of links coming in, but a large influx (indicative of a viral event) can help improve rankings dramatically. Otherwise, consistency is the key when it comes to link velocity.

For years these three points about backlinks have been thought of as the most important part of SEO. But thanks to the astronomical growth of Facebook, social media activity is now deemed as important as backlink data. Unfortunately, many internet marketers haven't learned how to fully (or at all in some cases) use Facebook and don't understand why it's so relevant.

Essentially, Google and other search engines look at Facebook as an indicator of trust and user engagement. The more active users are related to your site and social media, the more likely it is that you'll achieve top organic search placement. However, this isn't a matter of simply putting links on FB to your articles or web pages. You actually have to get people to interact with your site or business.

Overall this means that the more "likes" or "shares" that point back to your site, the better. Search engines are looking at these types of social signals as being equally as important as backlinks, and we know this to be true because the fact of the matter is that social media backlinks are generally ignored or at the very least die quickly. Social proof is shown via sharing and interaction, and that's not something that is easily faked.

This news is likely to make some search marketers begin to focus their energies on Facebook nearly as much as some SEOs focused their efforts almost exclusively on backlinks in the past. However, the best answer lies in moderation between the two. Backlinks will likely always remain a critical part of organic search ranking, but with the growth and seeming permanency of Facebook and other social media, it seems that these signals will also be in the mix for the foreseeable future. In fact, some in the industry have even speculated that at some point Facebook and other types of social proof may dwarf the relevance of backlinks.

Finding the balance between the two can be difficult and time consuming for many webmasters and business owners. To learn more about Facebook being on par with backlinks for search metrics and to discover how your Facebook presence can be beefed up, call the number at the top of your screen now for an immediate consultation. After all, when it comes to social media, the sooner you get started, the better off you'll be. Call for a free consultation now.

Chris Vendilli
About the Author
Chris is the founder and CEO of Vendilli Digital Group. In his free time, you’ll find him camping, fishing, or playing beer league ice hockey with a bunch of guys who refuse to admit they’re already over the hill.
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