Social media, and by that we are really talking about Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and a few niche sites that serve specific audiences, have been talked about and speculated for quite some time that they will replace links as the key offsite SEO indicator of a website’s authority and value for natural search visibility.
However, at the 2012 SMX Advance conference in Seattle, Google’s Matt Cutts lays it all out on the table during an interview with Search Engine Land’s Editor-In-Chief Danny Sullivan that traditional links as a ranking factor aren’t going anywhere:
“The fact is a lot of people think links are dying or links are not a democracy or it’s impossible to get links that aren’t nofollow or whatever. And the fact is that’s a little bit of a bubble in my opinion within the SEO industry because if you look at the actual percentage of nofollow links on the web it’s a single digit percentage and in fact it’s a pretty small single digit percentage. So there’s this perception that, yes, everything will go social or links are completely obsolete and I think it is premature to reach that conclusion. I don’t doubt that in ten years things will be more social and those will be more powerful signals but I wouldn’t write the epitaph for links quite yet.”
So while Panda, Penguin and other soon-to-be chosen zoo animals may have you scrambling to readjust how you are building those traditional links, you need to keep building a high quality and diverse link portfolio for the foreseeable future. Just don’t forget to nurture your social media accounts and creating unique content that will capture links and shares.