Quality vs. quantity
In my previous blog I mentioned how search engines are utilizing social signals to reward fresh and original content on websites. Essentially, a link has a better chance of achieving a higher search engine position for its corresponding page the more that it is shared in social spaces.
Link sharing will, in my opinion, replace link building in the future. However, I think the search engines will not base their rankings algorithm solely on quantity of sharing – a quality score will be taken into account as well. This is because black hat SEO’s can hire 100′s of followers or fans and incentivise them to share a link, which would yet again defeat the purposes of organic search engine results.
Through ‘Likes’ and now though the ‘+1’ Google button consumers are leaving (very publically) behavioural and preference information that major search engines must be taking into account and then incorporating into their algorithms. Webmasters need to make the addition of the Like/+1 functionality on to their sites. The analysis of preferences coupled with the number of links could be the way Search Engines attribute quality of link sharing.
It will be interesting to see if Google has finally found a way to reward genuine advocacy over anything that appears to be manipulated by hired hands.