How Social Media Changed SEO
The sure sign of a disruptive technology is that it changes everything in ways which are hard to anticipate and produces outcomes which are difficult to predict. Social media has been creeping upon us for some time but it is only this year that it has become so entangled with SEO as to now be an integral part of the way a site gets its content ranked and increases its traffic.

The socialisation of content which began with content sharing in Facebook has, with Google Plus, become an imperative. Whereas in the past a webmaster could get away with a good SEO strategy and a certain amount of automatic social bookmarking of content, these days, he faces the struggle to create content which is of sufficiently high quality to engage interest in social media networks and the pressure to get that content seen as widely as possible.

Social media has gone from being an adjunct to SEO which increased its effectiveness to the engine under the hood which drives some of its most basic functions and which, in addition, determines some of its forms.

It true disruptive technology style social media now changes the pressure that’s placed on webmasters to alter what they do to help increase the ranking of a website. I know that this now requires webmasters to actually become writers on top of being SEOs and having to cope with the grind of running their business on a daily basis but the alternative is less traffic than before and a lower visibility in the search engine results pages.

The socialisation of content fits neatly in the need imposed by the Google Panda update for quality content and creates a natural step leading towards social search and a totally engaging end-user experience, so Google is unlikely to back off from its drive to socialise content on the web and create an interwoven layer of natural search results and strongly socialized ones.

All of which naturally leads us to the question, what should you do?

01. Have a Content Creation Strategy in Place. Now more than ever you need to have a content creation strategy in place which will bind you to delivering content on your website on a regular basis. This should already be in place for your SEO at any rate but with the need for social media marketing the freshness of your content plays an important part.

02. Create Content that is useful. The words ‘high-value content’ have become the bane under which many a webmaster has spent time fitfully scratching their head. Basically all you need to do is figure out what you really do, what your potential customers and visitors really want from your website and then deliver it to them. 

03. Share your content. Here comes the tricky part. The content you create will need to be shared across social media networks and, in turn, re-shared. For that to happen you need to not just create a presence across the major social media networks but also cultivate that presence, beginning to attract the potential audience which is most likely to benefit from the content which you share. 

These are three steps which I know are not easy. Because of social media and its impact on a number of factors which govern search and the way Google now assesses the quality of websites SEO, in the conventional sense of the word, has expanded and has become a more time consuming, nuanced activity. To ignore it however and keep on churning out keyword-rich iterative content that simply adds to the keywords you think you need to build up on your site, is to waste valuable time you should be putting to better use.

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