I am often asked by clients if Google would look negatively upon them using a social media consultant to get links for their websites and content.
I have always done my best to explain that social media does not actually get links in the same way as you would buy them, but rather it gets the right exposure to put your content in front of the largest body of link givers on the web. With that exposure and great linkable content, you actually get natural links to your content, which Google sees as legit and good.
Recently I came across an interview that Eric Enge did with Matt Cutts, that further clarified how Google feels about hiring a social media consultant to help get natural links for your site and content.
Here is just a part of the interview, but it addresses using a consultant to help you succeed in sites like Digg:
Eric Enge: Right, yeah. So, let’s take another example, Digg. You can get great results by getting in the homepage of Digg.
Matt Cutts: Yeah.
Eric Enge: And, you can get hundreds or even thousands of links, right? And, it’s certainly something that we have done some work on helping people accomplish. So, those links could be on topic and relevant, right?
Matt Cutts: Oh, sure. Yes.
Eric Enge: Yet, at the same time it’s possible to go out there and hire people who have the relationships in the social media world, right? I remember at the past conference you went on record to say, “Yes, you did hire someone to help you get there, and you paid for the help to get to the Digg home page, but the links were still freely given.
Matt Cutts: Yes. There was an editorial choice.
Eric Enge: Right.
Matt Cutts: Whenever you pay money to a social media consultant to try to show up on Digg, you are not paying for links. You are funding some creativity; you are sponsoring your page for some creativity.
It’s not like you held a gun to anyone and said “Okay, you have to link to me”. The people who link to the site are linking because it’s something compelling instead. So, there is still some editorial choice there.
As you can see Matt is very clear on the stance that hiring a social media consultant and getting links from social media communities is not buying links, and not a negative tactic for SEO.