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.
I have never held a gun to someones head for a link. Maybe, for a blog post with three links. But, its not worth killing someone for just one link.
I think there are many more creative ways to market your company in social media than getting to the digg homepage. Plus we all know the digg homepage is run by an elite force looking out for our best interests and are never paid for their help, right?
The goal of social media marketing is visibility… So you are right that there are many other ways to success outside of Digg. However, Digg has the largest audience of people in the learn mode. They are the sharers of information and can really help spread the word about your content.
Digg is run by people who understand Digg and have earned the trust of their community. It is no different than any other community on or offline.
I like Chris's style.
Sure there are other tactics that can be used to get links and market your company, but getting on the homepage of any number of social media sites would sure help. I'm curious, how much does a "social media consultant" charge to get your content onto the front page of Digg anyway?
Hey Chris, do you need a job? I like your "go get 'em" attitude 😉
I wonder what digg.com's stance would be on the issue.ROFL? 😉
"Whenever you pay money to a social media consultant to try to show up on Digg, you are not paying for links" I wonder!!!!!!!
It looks both of us think in same way
As someone who helps clients with social media, I can say that Digg is way down the list of necessities.
I would disagree in every case but making direct connections with customers. Social media is many things but if you want visibility, branding, traffic, or links… Digg is one of the best sites there is. It just depends on if you are marketing or making connections.
It's only one of the best sites if you know a Power Digger. Otherwise it's just a bunch of noise that very few benefit from.
And the new Digg toolbar just takes more benefits away from the target – no real impetus for the user to visit a site if they can stay within Digg to view something.
Well that can be said about any site. Google is only good if you can rank, Twitter is only good if you have followers…
I know a few people, including myself, who have tested making brand new accounts with entirely new networks and I was able to regularly front page content in less than 2 weeks.
DO power users help? Absolutely… but there is a lot of aspects that go into success on Digg. The biggest one is actually participating and knowing what the Digg audience likes.
I do understand your point that for the average person without any understanding of social or the ability to participate and build a friendship with other users, will have a difficult time in Digg.
Again, that is the same for any aspect of marketing. If you don't have the ability to do SEO or hire an SEO, then you are not going to rank as well. If you cannot code or hire a web dev and designer, your site might not work well.
It all comes to a level of success that you want. There are social media consultants that can help people get on Digg. And Digg still provides the biggest bang you can get from social… like 5,000 natural links and a half million visits type of success.
So if it is not something you are able to succeed within just makes it low on your own necessity list, but it doesn't make it lower in the scheme of social media marketing.
I wanted to comment about the Toolbar seperately to keep things easy to follow.
What benefits is the new Diggbar taking away from the target? If you have been following the Diggbar changes, then you know that the only real concern was that if people linked to the Diggbar url then the target would not get the credit for the link and that if the Diggbar urls were ranking for the target instead of the target's page.
Both of these were resolved when they auto 301 to target unless you are logged into Digg and have the option set to use the Diggbar. They also noindex the pages to avoid having them show up in search engines.
What other concerns were there for the target?
And if users don't like the bar they can just turn it off…
You also have to note that the entire article you are commenting on is about whether hiring a social media consultant to get you on Digg is ok or not with Google.
It is a mute point if your social media consultant is not able to get you on Digg. 🙂
It is a moot point, although one that should be made. I've had clients on top page of Digg but I'll still recommend other avenues that have more residual and passive traffic (Stumbleupon is excellent in this case).
And I'd say SEO is a lot easier than many make it out to be, speaking from personal results and those enjoyed by clients.
StumbleUpon is phenomenal for traffic, but a little harder to get links out of since people are mostly finding it through chance. Also mainstream media has not picked up on StumbleUpon as much for a source of topics to discuss.
Since to me social media is about visibility, I would never suggest only using Digg. You should use any site that works for you to reach your visibility goals.
I normally recommend Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, and Twitter currently.
As far as SEO… it is more of a knowledge set than anything. It is easy when you know how to do it and a complete nightmare when you don't. What I have learned is that SEO is a lot harder than people give it credit for since it takes a lot of trial and error to learn what can help you, what can waste your time, and what can get you banned.
However, in response to your original question – any company serious about an online presence would do well to benefit from an outsourced consultant (if they don't have any in-house). 🙂