Knowledge is power: what are social media backlinks really worth?

Social networking profiles

One of the fastest ways to build backlinks is to register on social media sites with high PageRank: Facebook, Xing, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ecademy, Twitter etc. These sites allow you to set up a user profile with information about you and your company, including a link to your website. The only catch is that not all of these sites’ links are ‘do-follow’ – which means your site will not always receive the ‘link juice’.

Links in Twitter posts

If you place a link to a web page in your Twitter post, keep in mind that all of Twitter’s outbound links are ‘no-follow’. Google and Yahoo do not pass the Trust or PageRank power through the ‘no-follow’ links. Thus Twittering has limited value for your site.

However, such links do have some value. In May 2009, we witnessed the launch of the Topsy site, a technology that transforms Twitter links into a searchable database. Topsy makes it possible for users to search for information (relevancy is determined based on the number of re-tweets). So, any Twitter link now has a chance to be found and followed by Topsy visitors. Remember, increased traffic is the main goal!

Social bookmarks forever?

Is it possible to get permanent links from social bookmarks? Well, yes and no. Most social bookmarking sites will retain your bookmark until it’s popular. But as your bookmark loses popularity over time, it will be moved into the archives. Ideally, a permanent link should stay on the same page with approximately the same PR forever, but in reality, most social bookmarking websites remove links after some time.

Nevertheless, social bookmarking sites are valuable for other reasons. If you have a quality article that becomes popular on social bookmarking sites, people will link to that article in their blogs, and post ‘do-follow’ links on forums.

You can search the Web for the keywords ‘do-follow social bookmarking sites’ to find the latest lists. Networkers have also created services like socialposter.com or socialmarker.com for automatic submission to bookmarking sites.

The truth about blog comments

Blog commenting is probably the most popular – and in many cases, most irritating (because of spammers) – technique of getting permanent links.

The Google PageRank algorithm implies that the more outbound links there are on a page, the less authority or power this page can pass to each of those links. That’s because the page’s PR is distributed evenly between the outbound links. If a webmaster wants to add an outbound link, but doesn’t want Google to follow that link or for PR power to be passed on to the linked page, then that webmaster has to add the ‘nofollow’ attribute to the link. Many bloggers do so to prevent their PR from flowing to the pages cited by commenters. However, this practice is no longer encouraged by Google.

A few weeks ago Matt Cutts blogged about a change in the PR algorithm concerning Google’s approach to passing PageRank through the links with the ‘nofollow’ attribute. Although no PageRank and anchor texts are passed through such links, they are also counted when sharing the outgoing ‘link juice’. The only difference is that it’s neither passed to the linked site nor kept on the page. This means Google disapproves of the practice of using the rel=nofollow attribute for the purpose of not sharing PageRank.

If you own a blog, setting up the ‘nofollow’ attribute to all comments means conserving your blog’s ‘link juice’ and getting fewer comments. The ‘do-follow’ principle can lead to more spam, but it’s a good way to attract webmasters to your site. On the other hand, if you are a webmaster trying to obtain more links by commenting on blogs, don’t rely solely on this method of link popularity improvement. Use a combination of methods, including the time-proven ways of press releases, articles and site submissions to relevant lists and directories, and the newer techniques for site promotion in social media.

Minimise Blog Spam

To minimise and help fight blog spam consider using a comment plugin like Akismet. It’s a default plugin that ships with WordPress but you have to register a free Akismet account and activate the plugin in your blog.

TypePad Anti Spam : SixApart the company behind MovableType has launched a similar service like afore-mentioned plugin.

Spam Karma 2 : Spam Karma 2 is an anti-spam plugin which works! This plugin uses lot of methods to prevent blog comment spam.

Math comment spam : Another wonderful plugin which asks a simple mathematics question before the comment can be published. If the reader answers it correctly then you are good to go. Don’t worry the questions are not hard.

It works wonderfully if you use it with Akismet as Akismet helps in fighting against Trackback spam too and which this plugin can’t fight against.

Tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.