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Is my site doomed because I won't go social?
Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4416892
 5:35 am on Feb 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is the time in which I hold excellent rankings running out just because I refuse to take my hobby site social? Google is pressing extremely hard for people to stop promoting brands and start promoting themselves (even comments on Google spam team leader Matt Cutts's blog require a real name now) and I have very little interest in creating profiles on OTHER websites in order to promote myself and my site.

While that means I may not get additional social recognition and traffic, which I am fine with, does it also mean Google will, eventually, send me fewer visitors too?

I'm not asking about the causality and effect of not having social profiles (e.g. fewer links, less brand name recognition etc), I'm asking about the potential for eventual direct downgrade due to lack of social profiles. Should I be worried?

 

bwnbwn




msg:4417412
 2:22 pm on Feb 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a question. Those that work in an office ask the staff how many are using Google+ to connect. I did we have about 20 here and 1 does. 20 have facebook and are active. I just don't see the masses going to another social deal there is just so much time in the day for this. Besides all my friends use facebook why would I want to start all over again.

I don't see it hurting your site just not enough people going to go to google+ just not going to happen.

Planet13




msg:4417457
 3:45 pm on Feb 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't see it hurting your site just not enough people going to go to google+ just not going to happen.


Well, it COULD happen. I mean, it was just a few years ago that myspace was THE social network, no?

The reason I think it COULD have a chance to grow is through the spread of android in the smart phone market, and google's near certain attempts to integrate its various properties with android.

Planet13




msg:4417460
 3:51 pm on Feb 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

By the way. Back to the original point. I don't know if you are DOOMED per se, but I do know that people who come to my site via facebook buy more 9and more often) than people who come via google organic search. Even though we have a really, REALLY lame facebook fan page.

Go figure...

johnmoose




msg:4417470
 4:15 pm on Feb 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Personally I will not be on any social site but the site I work on sees traffic coming from it. So I figured that if 750+ million people use FB and are searching with it, why not have a presence there with a website fan page?
You won't be doomed by not going social with your site but you might be missing out on a chunk of the pie.

syed




msg:4417671
 12:46 am on Feb 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

It could very well be. Google wants to (perhaps, will) rely more on Social than links at some point. If G+ takes off in mainstream well, one of the biggest advantages they will have is access to all the data / signals that they could use for ranking sites.

CainIV




msg:4417795
 7:19 am on Feb 15, 2012 (gmt 0)


I feel certain subject types, regardless of whether they are company professional or specialist hobby, are simply not suited to being social sites and many people do not wish to use those sites for social networking.


Agree with this 100% From Husky.

I also have noticed when evaluating competitors that some niches social media tends to have more of an impact when used, and in other niches it has less impact.

This might very well have to do with the nature of the query/vertical.

I would suggest that in the hobby genre it is likely that social media would be prominent and likely even potentially helpful to you in building a community. Does it help SEO?

I believe in those verticals that are conducive to more community and socially-connected topics - absolutely.

DirigoDev




msg:4418252
 4:16 am on Feb 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Nicely said @Copeland and @Whitey!

Getting to a Semantic Web means understanding individual likes and preferences. Social chatter helps to build characteristics around the masses. The end game is to enable users to find, share, and combine information far more easily. Google's PR patent is nonexclusive. They're on to the next thing that they can patent.

Social markers and G spy world are stepping stones toward Web 3.0. Social will play a big part in rankings for a period - until G figures that we’ve learned how to manipulate social to impact SERPs. Then we’re on to the next evolution – cat and mouse.

I'm not saying we're 100% there yet. This is where I think it is going.

HuskyPup




msg:4418308
 11:51 am on Feb 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

But it doesn't automatically follow that they will grow up to continue using them.


Absolutely, I have two daughters, the elder one is 28 and a year ago she gave up Facebook, Twitter, whatever and told all her real world friends that if they wanted to socialise then they would have to make the time to actually meet. Interestingly since then more than half her friends have also given up. Text is still used but WhatsApp seems to be the big thing, even her mother uses it.

My younger daughter, 24, is currently of the:

Here's what they had to say: "Google? Why Google? You can find everything by just searching Facebook. I don't want to leave Facebook."


But I have noticed she is using it less and less, whether that is because her daughter is now nearly 3 could be more demanding etc is another thing.

Interestingly, locally they have set-up a town buying and selling page instead of using ebay, it's probably against their T&Cs but it seems to work.

I have a question.

On a couple of sites I use "AddThis" as my sop to social, I do get a few (handful) of people seemingly referred through this. Is this a better way to go for sites to go rather than having to maintain their own social pages?

crobb305




msg:4418316
 12:03 pm on Feb 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

If people want to share your webpage/article, they are going to do so by pasting the url, with or without share buttons on your page. Imagine all the academic works that do not have share buttons. One of my websites that has share buttons has gradually declined in ranking over the past year (even with shares), and another site with no social buttons has gradually increased. Just my observation. I'm sick of socializing, I hate being part of it, so I hope it doesn't influence ranking too much in the future.

clearvision




msg:4418363
 3:15 pm on Feb 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I guess it would be like an ebay add...you click the ones with a photo first right? I can see it affecting search in the way that if Google can't find a photo and wants to promote the "photo" chachki in their search results, you'll get left out.

Planet13




msg:4418384
 3:50 pm on Feb 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

One other thing about social...

It seems to me that it might be better to make one's site a "social network" in itself. A forum is a very basic way of doing this, but there are other more advanced programs out there that will allow one to build a mini facebook on their own site.

I am not really a big fan of driving traffic TO facebook when it could be coming to MY site instead, so increasing social interaction on our own sites might help.

netmeg




msg:4418418
 5:47 pm on Feb 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Maintaining a social profile on various networks (not your own) is one thing, but sharing is quite another.

I can understand not wanting to do the social profile thing (although I think you might come to regret it someday) but in my opinion EVERYONE should make their information as easy to share as possible. I have a client whose ecommerce platform creates URLs you'd need a BUS to get to the other end of - I sure didn't want to rely on people being able to copy and paste in an email program (that would likely split the URL two or three times causing it to have to be pasted back together) It's worth the effort to put the buttons in.

Even if you don't participate in social yourself, just making your stuff easily shareable also helps reduce dependency on Google. Maybe only by a miniscule amount, but it adds up.

lucy24




msg:4418499
 9:33 pm on Feb 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Even if you don't participate in social yourself, just making your stuff easily shareable also helps reduce dependency on Google. Maybe only by a miniscule amount, but it adds up.

Should we allow facebookexternalhotlink to do its stuff even though it infuriates us? (That was a serious question.)

I must have got onto some sort of academic grapevine, because one of my informational sites is getting a flurry of human visitors. One of them came through a Custom Search, implying I'm on someone's blog or directory. A real one-- the kind I'll never find listed in GWT. No socializing needed, and nobody gives a ### what I look like.

netmeg




msg:4418587
 1:35 am on Feb 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hey, I use a cartoon for my avatar, Google be damned. Don't nobody need to see my face in the SERPs.

I see your question is serious, I just don't entirely understand it.

You don't have to do much more than use an AddThis or ShareThis button to make your stuff shareable. If you want it to present properly on FB, there's some additional OpenGraph stuff you can do - but you don't really *have* to; I think it'll still work.

Your stuff probably already is being shared, this is just making easier for people to do. I installed a StumbleUpon button a couple months ago (and I don't even use StumbleUpon myself) and turns out I had a couple thousand stumbles already I didn't even know about.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4419047
 5:41 am on Feb 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Apparently, if you own multiple sites and you wish some of them to have more exposure, YOU need to get a G+ account about YOU, because it's all about YOU, see where this is going?(YOU). What if I don't want to become a personality but I have good things to share?

I wish Google would clarify if their trust in YOU equates to ser movement.

lucy24




msg:4419075
 8:23 am on Feb 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

You don't have to do much more than use an AddThis or ShareThis button to make your stuff shareable. If you want it to present properly on FB, there's some additional OpenGraph stuff you can do - but you don't really *have* to; I think it'll still work.

No, I'm asking from the other side, as one of the three people on the planet who isn't on facebook. The only contact I have with them is when someone on FB recommends a page-- usually the same one-- and then the facebookexternalhotlink robot comes in, picks up all images associated with the page, FB recommender picks one, and the next thing I know I'm getting a flurry of hotlinks via facebook. (Some of this I only know because someone on these forums explained it to me.)

Or rather, they don't, because they slink away with an [F]. Even though they don't do me any concrete harm, hotlinks currently make me much madder than Ukrainians. And what really enrages me is that a major entity like FB is actively facilitating hotlinks by building them into their user interface.

A cartoon eh? In that case, I may let Leela loose after all. She's already my avatar on another www forum, so who's going to say I don't really have agouti fur, a big nose, perky whiskers and prominent ears? Sure, that's Lucy, known her for years.

HuskyPup




msg:4419096
 11:57 am on Feb 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

as one of the three people on the planet who isn't on facebook


Now, now lucy24 don't exaggerate, surely that should be "as one of the six out of seven on the planet who isn't on facebook"?

Yes, that makes me feel better:-)

netmeg




msg:4419109
 1:45 pm on Feb 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not entirely sure I understand, but it sounds like you don't want FB grabbing a thumbnail of your images for the share? Well if you have a button, you can code it to take a single image, or NO image. If I didn't get it right, pardon me.

I own multiple sites, and I had to create my own Google+ profile in order to create the pages, yes. But I had to do that anyway, cause I'm in the industry. After a two week flurry of activity, I have a hard time remembering it's there.

Yea, it's stupid. Yea it's extra hoops. But it takes less time to implement than it does to bitch about it, so I do it.

Tallon




msg:4419110
 1:51 pm on Feb 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

What if I don't want to become a personality but I have good things to share?


That is the crux of things isn't. It's not about content or quality of content, we've moved/moving towards the cult of personality and internet personas.

Yay.

Anyone remember revenge of the mininet and the butterfly and angel? Today's 3.0 version seems to make you untouchable and armour against the panda. Think of bloggers and networking with each other...and each of their online personas...and the "buzz" from twitter/social media perks from that. They are making each other authorities. It's not their content that's any more special, though that has to be at least decent, it's their relationships.

I'm watching a group closely in my niche and the stuff they're getting away with on their sites is amazing. Aged authority sites that have been taken down by panda would die a little inside if they saw what was "winning" right now and why. That's all I'm saying about it.

I don't think a site is/will be penalized for not having x amount of tweets or facebook fans. It's something more ethereal and has to do with the power of "personality" or "brand".

aristotle




msg:4419163
 8:02 pm on Feb 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

A few weeks ago I saw an interesting description of facebook. Since I don't recall exactly where I saw it, I'll try to paraphrase it from memory:

... Facebook is a giant walled-off kindergarten located at the lowest level of the realm of low-quality frivolous content. If one of the kiddies clicks a link to an outside site, a warning message pops up to tell them that the link will take them away from the safety of the kindergarten and into the sinister world of the real internet. Then before they can actually leave, they have to click again to confirm that they're still willing to take the risk. (Incidentally, the hotlink system that Lucy mentioned was implemented to allow the kiddies to see your images without leaving the kindergarten.) ...

That's one of the reasons why I'll never put a facebook button on any of my sites. I simply don't want to have an association with that kind of company.

Scurramunga




msg:4419196
 10:36 pm on Feb 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

they shy away from what I've heard called "pretend friends


I don't generally use facebook, but a couple of years ago I joined a group under a fabricated identity for the sole purpose of making a comment on someone's facebook page which addressed local town planning issues.

A couple of years after having made that single post on facebook with no profile or picture, I found the disposable email account which was set up specifically for my facebook account and saw hundreds of requests from users (I do not know) and all who were requesting to be my friend or wanting to post on my 'wall'.

Fake friends and false identities; I don't know how Google or anyone else can argue that this model for social media can add legitimacy or credibility to search.

[edited by: Scurramunga at 11:19 pm (utc) on Feb 18, 2012]

Scurramunga




msg:4419202
 10:56 pm on Feb 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's not about content or quality of content, we've moved/moving towards the cult of personality and internet personas


They are making each other authorities. It's not their content that's any more special, though that has to be at least decent, it's their relationships.


I agree with your analysis. I believe that superficial populism has substituted the authoritative and the credible in many facets of society. One only has to look as far as the mainstream media and the (overnight) celebrity culture with the rise and rise of trashy reality TV programming. Even our child's first year at the local state run primary school (in Australia) is starting to smack of the populism culture.
My partner and I often joke about how doing well at your job in business depends more on who likes you rather than how good or efficient you are. The internet isn't any different.

Simsi




msg:4419343
 4:52 pm on Feb 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Facebook is a giant walled-off kindergarten located at the lowest level of the realm of low-quality frivolous content. If one of the kiddies clicks a link to an outside site, a warning message pops up to tell them that the link will take them away from the safety of the kindergarten and into the sinister world of the real internet. Then before they can actually leave, they have to click again to confirm that they're still willing to take the risk. (Incidentally, the hotlink system that Lucy mentioned was implemented to allow the kiddies to see your images without leaving the kindergarten.) ...


I realise that is paraphrased but whoever gave you that impression hasn't ever used it either.

aristotle




msg:4419385
 8:08 pm on Feb 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Facebook is a giant walled-off kindergarten located at the lowest level of the realm of low-quality frivolous content. If one of the kiddies clicks a link to an outside site, a warning message pops up to tell them that the link will take them away from the safety of the kindergarten and into the sinister world of the real internet. Then before they can actually leave, they have to click again to confirm that they're still willing to take the risk. (Incidentally, the hotlink system that Lucy mentioned was implemented to allow the kiddies to see your images without leaving the kindergarten.) ...



I realise that is paraphrased but whoever gave you that impression hasn't ever used it either.


You're right -- I've never used it. I see traffic from facebook in my logs, but the times when I've tried to track back to one of the pages it came from, I got a message that said I don't have permission to see that page.

Anyway, maybe you could explain why that paraphrase is wrong. Is the content on facebook generally high-quality? Do you not get a warning message when you click an external link on a facebook page? Isn't there a system that makes it easy for members to hot-link images? I'm just wondering why that description is wrong.

lucy24




msg:4419387
 8:13 pm on Feb 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

If one of the kiddies clicks a link to an outside site, a warning message pops up to tell them that the link will take them away from the safety of the kindergarten and into the sinister world of the real internet. Then before they can actually leave, they have to click again to confirm that they're still willing to take the risk.

Oh. They do this for everyone? I thought it was an extra layer of punish-- oops, I meant protection against Evil Sites that won't allow the facebookexternalhotlink to roam freely.

:: detour here for closer study of random logs, emerging more confused than ever ::

Anyone have any idea what FB is getting when logs say 206? It's not the complete file, but it's definitely more than the HEAD.

Facebook allows its users to send links to interesting web content to other Facebook users. Part of how this works on the Facebook system involves the temporary display of certain images or details related to the web content, such as the title of the webpage or the embed tag of a video. Our system retrieves this information only after a user provides us with a link. You may have found this page because a Facebook user sent a link from your website to other Facebook users.

Interesting btw that "legal@" is apparently the only way to contact FB if you are not signed on. If they're not members, they are obviously up to no good.

Simsi




msg:4419619
 6:05 pm on Feb 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anyway, maybe you could explain why that paraphrase is wrong. Is the content on facebook generally high-quality? Do you not get a warning message when you click an external link on a facebook page? Isn't there a system that makes it easy for members to hot-link images? I'm just wondering why that description is wrong.


I can only say what I see obviously but I've never once seen a message warning me (or even telling me) I am leaving Facebook to visit an external link and I click quite a few links.

I subscribe to a number of member's Facebook "pages" that are good quality but there is also a lot of "money-making" crap on there but any platform where anyone can post is going to attract that (while being an affiliate has such low barriers to entry anyway) I guess :-)

I haven't seen anything to suggest Facebook delivers good commercial results in my sector but I have heard people say they make a good deal from it: it boils down to what you offer I suspect. Personally I don't think "social" is a very good business strategy unless you can get volume traffic but that's another discussion.

Ultimately I don't view it as a terribly effective business tool: I see it as a fun place to keep up with people I know. I could easily live without it but I quite enjoy it. It's a social tool so the number of people that respond to marketing mesages is obviously going to be limited.

Let's face it, one could probably make money from an old fishbone and a wooden spoon if one was resourceful enough. I see Facebook as simply another "meh" worth exploring.

lucy24




msg:4419684
 8:16 pm on Feb 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've never once seen a message warning me (or even telling me) I am leaving Facebook to visit an external link and I click quite a few links

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http://www.example.com/{rest of url}&h={long string of alphanumerics}

You can leave off the h= parameter, and insert any URL into the u= parameter.

The Page says:
Please be careful
For the safety and privacy of your Facebook account, remember to never enter your password unless you're on the real Facebook web site. Also be sure to only download software from sites you trust. To learn more about staying safe on the internet, visit Facebook's Security Page. Please also read the Wikipedia articles on malware and phishing.


The words I've put in boldface are links. By some oversight, the Security links work even if you are not a FB member.

Simsi




msg:4419707
 9:47 pm on Feb 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

Must employ different behaviour for different sets of people then Lucy because I've never seen that here (UK).

Onders




msg:4419712
 10:01 pm on Feb 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

Really interesting topic - can Google penalise you for not promoting yourself using social media? You would hope not.. but then on the other hand it makes perfect sense that Google would push other sites up the ranking that do promote themselves more than you (assuming other sites in your niche do use social media).

So, you may not be punished, but if everyone else overtakes you then it is pretty much the same thing.

Another great point that was raised though is that although you may not have profiles or promote (or want to promote) yourself, others may be doing it for you. If your product / service is really good then even if you don't do anything proactive with social media yourself, enough people may be talking about you to give you a great "presence"

This is a hobby site you are talking about so I wonder if you be treating it differently if it was your bread and butter? Would you still be thinking about this? With my business I'll do anything that I think can keep me ahead of my competitors, and if I see people using social media I'd be assessing it, weighing up the probabilities and then acting on that. For my business, whether I wanted to take it social or not would have very little influence.

Damn frustrating though when new things pop up so often!

rlange




msg:4420911
 3:05 pm on Feb 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

aristotle wrote:
Is the content on facebook generally high-quality?

This seems to be completely irrelevent. It's like asking if the content on the Internet is of generally high quality, implying that it is not and for that reason you should avoid the Internet.

Also, even if you believe the user-generated content on Facebook to be of low quality, why prevent people from sharing your content on Facebook? Wouldn't you be raising the bar? Wouldn't the fact that folks are willing to share your high quality content be evidence against this ill-formed belief that Facebook is nothing but a cesspool of crap?

Do you not get a warning message when you click an external link on a facebook page?

I get a warning (not sure if it's the same as posted above; never paid much attention to it) when "clicking" a link from the Facebook app (possibly the mobile version of the site, too; I don't remember), but I don't recall ever seeing a warning when clicking on a link from the non-mobile website.

Isn't there a system that makes it easy for members to hot-link images?

I'm not privvy to the details of the thumbnail generation they use, so I can't answer that question.

--
Ryan

lucy24




msg:4421135
 11:41 pm on Feb 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not privvy to the details of the thumbnail generation they use, so I can't answer that question.

If you are on FB and have a www page with images, you can easily test it. Look at your stats after setup and you will see a "facebookexternalhit" UA picking up all images. Now get a few friends (either real ones or FB "friends") to visit the page containing the thumbnail you picked in the previous step. Look at your stats again and you'll see the hotlinks.

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