Why Your Search Engine Optimization Strategy Must Now Include Social Validation

You probably have heard me preach it before: if at all possible, for search engine optimization purposes, your web site should include a blog or other section of your web site that includes articles. To rank well in the search engines, your web site needs new, fresh, topical content added on a regular basis. But to fully take advantage of the search engines and social media, you need to socialize your website’s content. Here is why any good search engine optimization effort must include a social validation program in order to be successful.

Back about two years, I wrote a blog post about social media and search and how “success in social media means that you’ll get noticed in the organic search results. The search engines love fresh, unique content–and they love to find new URLs and links. If your site gets a link on a social media site, it will get noticed and crawled.”

For over two years now (actually a lot longer than that), I continue to combine search engine optimization efforts (both on-page SEO factors as well as off-page factors like a linking campaign) with a very specific targeted social media marketing or what I now call “social validation”.

In order for an article on your web site or even a blog post on your blog to rank well in the search engines, the search engines (Bing and Google) are looking for social validation. They see your new URL and index it, but will rank it higher in the search results if they can find some reason to: and one of those reasons includes social validation.

What is Social Validation?
When you create a new article, blog post, or a new page on your web site (a new URL), the search engine will crawl that URL. They might even see some links form other web sites to that new URL. But if the search engines see real people mentioning the URL and interacting with it, they consider that the URL is validated, socially. The URL is “accepted”. And it’s that human interaction that the search engines are looking for. If the search engines can figure out some form of social validation of a URL, then most likely it is going to be a page that they will want to show in their search results. Social validation is that human SEO factor that the search engines have been looking to include in their algorithm for a very long time.

Social Validation is now a search engine optimization factor. Just like all of the other Search Engine Optimization Ranking Factors out there, anchor text, keyword use in the title tag, diversity of link sources, and trustworthiness of the domain, I am now adding a new search engine optimization factor to my list, social validation.

Social validation is really a dream come true for the search engines. Rather than hire hundreds or even thousands of employees or contractors to review web sites, social validation is a factor that the search engines can rely on in order to do that job. Sure, it’s not as good as hiring real people to review web sites. But it might be even better: the users who use search engines are the same people who frequently participate on social media and social networking web sites. So, it’s only logical that if a URL is liked on a social networking or social media web site, it’s also going to be liked if it shows up in the search results.

If you would like to take a look at social validation more in depth, take a look at this December 2010 article at Search Engine Land. Below some of the questions that Danny Sullivan got answered, along with responses. (For the full list of questions and answers, see the article I just referenced):

1) If an article is retweeted or referenced much in Twitter, do you count that as a signal outside of finding any non-nofollowed links that may naturally result from it?


We do look at the social authority of a user. We look at how many people you follow, how many follow you, and this can add a little weight to a listing in regular search results. It carries much more weight in Bing Social Search, where tweets from more authoritative people will flow to the top when best match relevancy is used.


Yes, we do use it as a signal. It is used as a signal in our organic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our news universal by marking how many people shared an article [NOTE: see the end of this article for more about that].

I believe now, more than ever, is a time that you need to start implementing social validation as a part of your overall search engine optimization strategy. Perhaps in a future post I will tell you about some of the actual techniques you can use in order to implement true social validation campaign. So for now, I am including a social validation campaign as a critical part of an overall search engine optimization strategy, just like a link building campaign.

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  1. Houston Search Engine Optimization says

    This is just an example of how social media is taking over the way that we view everything. Being able to judge real people in real time is something that will change the way we all approach seo in the future. I think 2011 is going to be a great year for internet marketing.

  2. TM4Y SEO says

    It is probably long overdue since we all know that SEO these days basically consist mostly of link building and link building, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, ultimately does manipulate the results in the SERPS. For the search engine to be able to add another layer of validation to a page apart from just the number of links coming in to the page will probably help sift the wheat from the black hat chaff.

    But it does make life more difficult for us who primarily concentrate on link building as an SEO strategy and yes, we will definitely have to start considering incorporating it.

  3. Nick Stamoulis says

    Social media has become a big part of link building and SEO in general. That’s why it’s so important to have a social media presence. It’s crazy that some companies still haven’t caught on to this. All of the proof is there that it’s a legitimate marketing strategy, and not just a fad.

  4. Luis Lazo says

    I do believe that social media is taking a great integration in everything we do on the Internet and SEO is not an exception. It’s also been taken into account now in email marketing as well. I was finding out about some new email features on iContact and found out that they are doing also social media integration as well like with Facebook, etc…

  5. Craig Weiss says

    Social media has become a crucial part of SEO in general. We just have to adapt and push forward, after all we are the ones interested in building businesses in the web, so let’s make the best of it.

    With internet web sites we have to keep reading and updating ourselves in order to stay ahead.


    Craig Weiss

  6. Dr_Jer says

    Ultimately, this will add value to the SE users so I’d agree that it’s a good thing, even if it make the IM role more difficult. Since I’ve started promoting my blog content through social channels, we’ve experienced some lift when compared to standard link building campaigns.

    I look forward to your post about techniques to implement social validation in SEO campaigns.

  7. bub-essentials says

    its just another time consuming layer – great for professional seo experts. Its just getting too time consuming for the little fish trying to do it all on their own…. time to start paying up for the pros

  8. Arthur Williams says

    Just learning all this stuff and finding it very hard. Anyway I will keep reading sites like this one and it will sink in one day I hope. I never thought Internet Marketing was so complicated!

  9. Robert Path says

    I agree, with the tools coming out and the integration of sites as well as content, the ability to broadcast to larger and larger audiences is happening exponentially. I’m having trouble keeping up with all the new plugin’s and tools that seem to come out every day.

  10. John Roberts says

    There is no doubt that web blogs, wordpress is a great FREE example, add plenty of value to an SEO campaign, if they regularly add fresh, unique content to the blogsite. Courses for affiliate marketing is a great example for optimising content. Googlebots and other spiders love blogs and will regularly return to rank fresh content, RSS feed is a must add in this context.

  11. Shawn K says

    Man this SEO stuff is killing me. I just learned about basic backlinking and article marketing. It’s nice to have so many avenues to explore for backlinking, but it’s all so time consuming. Now I have to add social networking to my list. If I’m trying to rank for one keyword, is it best to use different variations of that keyword or just keep it as is?

  12. travis davis says

    Yea, seo can be kinda hard now a days, so many things to think about and keep track of.

  13. Roger says

    I think the integration of Social Media into SEO startegies aren’t necessary to force on companies, sooner or later they will realize by themseves that something is not right with their current practice as there will be less and less result for themselves whilst their competitors will be well ahed of them. They will find out what is the difference – mind you this is the hard way…:)

  14. Mike Fernandez says

    How valuable is it to create a promotional video and post it on youtube? Is it worthwhile or am I wasting my time?
    Thanks, Mike

  15. Spellen says

    WordPress is doing much work of SEO nowadays. But even then its very hard to get at top of Google. Competition is simply killing many sites.