In the online marketing world, social media and SEO have somewhat been mutually exclusive concepts. You engage in social media to get the word out about your product.  You write SEO content to get that elusive first page ranking on Google. Whether the one had a positive impact on the other was more happy accident than premeditated strategy.

As a result, most online users have been subjected to the uncultivated side of both these practices. How about those Twitter accounts that endlessly pump out promotional tweets yet fail to personally address a single follower? And those websites that don’t even try to hide their keyword stuffing? Needless to say, Google is attempting to end these annoying practices for good… and for the benefit of online users.

Social Media Has Organic User-Generated Content

Google has long stressed the importance of quality content as a means to increase website rankings, and its most recent updates are making it increasingly harder for marketers to manipulate the system into providing better rankings for them. Panda, released in February 2011, and Penguin, introduced just this past April, both use sophisticated artificial intelligence tactics to determine if a website has been engineered solely for ranking purposes or crafted for quality content. In a nutshell, Google is telling marketers that while SEO will never go out of style, websites will have to give online users something worth reading to get desirable website rankings.

So what does this have to do with social media? Well, according to some SEO experts, it means that online conversations between marketers and consumers will also play a part in giving a website better rankings. And where do these conversations take place? Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. According to Panda and Penguin, no longer is social media merely a way to tweet out your brand’s message or increase your Facebook fans; to garner better rankings, marketers will have to actually engage consumers. To some, this might be a drag. No longer can we just trick the system with a little clever keyword stuffing. It’s like 1990 all over again when people couldn’t hide behind a computer screen and were forced to have relationships with other human beings. Well played, Google, well played.

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