Social signals; they are all the rage now when it comes to higher search engine placement and overall trust of a website but how do they add up when they are bought?
In this article, not only will you learn the basics of this new concept of social signals but you will also have a firm understand of where to acquire them along with weighing them toward your ethical affiliate practices.
Before We Begin: What are Social Signals?
The question begs to be asked: what are social signals?
Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines have begun to adopt a more “sociable” approach to their listings which come under the recommendation of friends, family and networks. Social signals also fall under the overall trust and rank of a website for web users (ie: PageRank).
So does this affect your own success with affiliate marketing? A lot, actually.
As the web becomes increasingly social, users are looking toward the suggestions of their network to provide accurate, timely and quality results for information they search upon. What it really boils down to is the difference between results provided by a bot and those provided by human interaction.
However, humans, like search engine bots, can be tricked into applying an inaccurate score toward websites. On the flip side, these social signals can be legitimate.
Some examples of recent “social signals” include:
- The quality “weight” when a trusted Twitter users shares information to their followers
- A suggestion and “like” from users on Facebook and Google Plus
- The classic PageRank developed by Google to determine website quality
Our main social media networks such as Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter have been injected within search results for Google, Yahoo and Bing which has created this new approach to discovering information: the social web.
The Crash-Course Guide on Buying Quality Social Signals
Now that you understand that, indeed, social interaction online has an impact on the quality and display of websites in search rankings – let’s take a look at some of the methods you can “push” your authority when marketing your affiliate programs and online business ventures.
Let’s talk social signal strategy:
- Sponsored Tweets – A method that’s been active for years but taking a larger role since social signals have become part of search algorithms. You can purchase sponsored tweets from individuals that have high trust value which not only increase traffic toward the destination link but also have a greater impact on search results vicariously through their authority.
- Facebook Advertising – Generate a flood of new followers and kick up discussions by tapping into the largest social network – Facebook. Forget direct advertising, get individuals active on your Fan Page and spur discussions and debates that have the users sharing and cross linking your content on their websites and walls.
- Reaching Authoritative Individuals – Like it or not, everyone has a “buying” point; the number that people can’t resist. Call it “selling out” but you can generally find individuals that command large audiences willing to push your message at the right price. Do a search for individuals operating large email lists, Youtube channels and Facebook fan pages to have them endorse your offer.
- Leverage Popularity – Spend time (or money) on being the first to identify trends and popular items across the net such as videos on the brink of going viral. Combine your website, content and social networks (along with paid individuals) to massively spread the word to draw attention your way.
- Outright Pay Content Producers – Trust everything on Youtube? Don’t be foolish. Find individuals that regularly review products in your niche and “nudge” them to review yours; they already have a large audience and will often do a sponsored review that comes across as sincere.
- Troll People – Siphon traffic by using the oldest Internet tricks in the book: trolling. Hire an outside individual to “guest post” on your website which calls out niche communities and anger them. The discussion will spill over from your website to sub communities and social networks. Later, “apologize” which further gains you attention and traffic.
- Buy Quality “Handles” – Can’t get individuals to hock your product for money? Buy them out! Many people will part ways with their ownership of a fan page or Youtube channel for the right price. Once you’ve acquired the brand – begin producing new content that fits the old format but has the great advantage of tapping into the existing community and online trust.
The reality is that if you have the money – you can buy quality social signals.
Just like SEO of the past with paid link building, content production and on-site optimization – we may soon see an entire industry built on acquiring sources of social signals to gain a competitive edge in the market and within search engine results.
The Thin Line of Ethics for Social Signals
Before you go, it’s important to also discuss the ethics of buying social signals.
There are two approaches, from this writer’s perspective:
- Ethically “buying” social signals through generosity and gentle understanding of communities
- Using brute force tactics to gut and pirate your way into authority
The first should always be of the up-most importance for longevity online because Internet users are savvy and will be quick to call out businesses that falsify their perceive authority.
The term “buying” can have negative connotations but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are gentler ways of gaining social signals through acquisition such as being extremely helpful and building a great brand which has individuals more acute to working with your business, personally.
Classic methods of purchasing signals include running contests which is indirect in terms of where money is flowing. Use your imagination so that you’re not stepping past that thin line of ethics but be aware that your competitors may be full speed ahead in practicing the methods described in this article.
The web is always changing which begs to differ whether these social signals will remain a major element of search engine results. As of now, they are mostly for individuals that are logged into their Google/Bing/Yahoo accounts but this could quite possibly change in the near future.
However, don’t let a great opportunity that may stay active for the next few years pass you buy. Approach opportunities to buy quality social signals, ethically. Make the social web work for you and adapt for the future.