In Part 1, we discussed how SEO and SMO help your readers find you, and in Part 2 we talked about the roll of page rank in helping your articles and posts get to the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Back in the "old days," of SEO (circa Spring, 2009), it was generally believed that social media sites were good for indirectly improving the page rank of a website or blog. This is because direct links from those sites did not (and still do not) "count" as backlinks in the official search engine algorithm, due to their use of a specific bit of code (rel="nofollow"). However, social networking was still considered beneficial, because through it, bloggers could grow a network and entice other websites and blogs to link to their own quality, original content. Increasingly, however, we are seeing that links on social networking sites are actually driving traffic directly from the search engines, because the social networking sites are now searchable, and specific links to a blog post or article may actually rank higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages) than the article itself. (See ArcStone: Live Results + Caffeine = My Social Circle) This can exponentially increase your chances of getting back-links.
So how do you get started? Facebook is a good place to start (see our five-part tutoral on Facebook for tips on what to do and what not to do). Twitter is another site that is real-time, and excellent for increasing web traffic, and thereby - page rank. Always, remember that social networking is not simply a venu for free advertising. (See Social Networking for Promotion: DIY vs. Free on FHK.) "Networking," is a two-way street, success in social media requires two-way communication. Be sure to promote other bloggers and websites as well as your own, and keep it "fun."
When starting a new website or blog, you will at first have no page rank, and very few readers. In the beginning weeks and months of your site, you will rely very heavily on your own networking, including posting on social networking sites, e-mailing links to higher-ranking bloggers and websites who might link to you, commenting on other blogs and websites who might in turn link to you, etc.. In time, however, as you post regularly, and consistently build your page rank, you will find that the majority of your readership is coming to you from the search engines.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.