Because there might be thousands of social networking sites on the Internet, this article primarily focuses on the top four most popular social networking sites. They are Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Linkedin.
The home page URLS of these four biggest social networking sites are:
1. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/
2. MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/
3. Twitter: http://twitter.com/
4. Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/
Before you dig more deeply into this tutorial, I suggest that you secure an account on each of those social networking sites. This will help you to understand the methods discussed in this article more quickly.
Getting links on social networking sites
Getting links using the targeted anchor text pointing to your websites, or at least earning a link, is one of the most important search engine ranking factors. That’s not only true for Google, but also for other big search engines, like Bing and Yahoo.
The good thing is that you can earn a link from social networking sites pointing to your website. However, below are the important points to note before you get started:
- Do not sign up for an account for the sole purpose of search engine optimization. You need to abide by the site terms and conditions, and follow the intended purpose of the website.
- Spamming and copying content from other websites and posting it on the social networking websites’ blogging platform (yes, some have blogging features, like MySpace) is not recommended, and will result in your account being terminated.
- Be an active member of each of the social networking sites on which you have chosen to participate. Get friends, contact old friends and make new contacts on a periodic basis. This is one of the best things you can do with your account, in addition to adding updated content.
Okay, now that you’ve taken note of these important reminders of how you are going to use these social networking websites, let’s start looking at how you can get links pointing to your website.
Facebook link building opportunities
You create a page in Facebook by going through the following steps:
2. Fill it up and create your own Facebook page.
3. The most important thing that you need to fill in is your website URL.
Now that you have a link from Facebook pointing to your website, you can do several important things. First, you can attract visitors to your Facebook page. Read these tips for developing your Facebook page to naturally attract visitors.
It is important to attract a lot of Facebook page visitors, because some of these targeted visitors might click on your website link.
Second, since Facebook puts the rel=nofollow tag on their links, does that mean you cannot get search engine credit? Yes and no. There are sites like Google Profile and YouTube that put a rel=nofollow tag in the early stages of a page. Once the page has earned some trust and reputation, the rel=nofollow attribute is removed. It is very possible that Facebook will adopt this kind of approach in the future.
This is why you should continually update your Facebook page, as well as get new contacts on a periodic basis, because these might be the basis on which Facebook considers removing rel=nofollow links in the future.
Do not underestimate referral traffic from rel=nofollowed links. If you have a lot of traffic for your Facebook pages, then a lot of the visitors landing in your page might purchase products or avail themselves of your services, so aside from getting a link, the referral traffic contributes to your website conversion rate, which in some instances is more important than getting a link.
MySpace link building opportunities
When I used MySpace a couple of years ago, it did have dofollow links on the profile pages. To get backlinks pointing to your website, you need to add your website to your MySpace profile. For example, if you are promoting an artist’s website, MySpace offers one of the best places from which to get links, because they allow creation of musician/artist profiles.
All you need to do is create the artist profile in MySpace, and in the space for the band’s website, put the URL. For example, check out this screen shot:
Again, using the same techniques you used in Facebook , you can attract many visitors, followers or fans in MySpace. The key is adding useful content, continually networking within your targeted niche.
Getting links from Twitter
Although we know that links in Twitter pointing to other websites receive a rel=nofollow attribute, you can get substantial referral traffic from your Twitter profile if you attract lots of followers. This type of referral traffic is targeted and might buy or subscribe to your services.
This is why a lot of companies, personalities and even freelance individuals are working hard to make their Twitter profile popular, because their Twitter followers can become customers, clients or even fans.
LinkedIn link building opportunities
The last but not certainly the least are the links from Linkedin. The good thing about LinkedIn is that the main page profile (the one that will be indexed and shown by search engines like Google) does not use rel=nofollow attribute. This means that if your page is completely relevant to your website (and most of the time it will be), you can get a link credit.
One of the best ways you can develop a great LinkedIn profile that increases the value of the link is to ensure that your profile is as complete as possible. In your profile, put substantial content which is relevant or related to your website. This will avoid an off-topic issue which might affect the value of the link.
Aside from the big four social networking websites, there are places on the Internet where you can put your profile and get some links. One of these places is Google Profile.
All you need to do to create your own Google profile is go to http://www.google.com/profiles, and then add your websites. Of course at first (based on my observation), Google will put a rel=nofollow attribute on the links. After some time, however, they will remove it.
Your next step is to build a useful Google profile. You will want to get some quality photos to add to your profile. You will also want to add detailed and original biographical content, which is related to your website. You will also need a verified email address or profile for one of your websites, which will be added to your Google Profile. You can read some tips here.
Your Google Profile will be shown high in the search results if someone searches for your name. This is one of the reasons you need to write a quality bio and have your profile/account verified.
You can also make that profile official, so you can provide it to your friends and contacts. They will click on the link leading to your sites, which can help encourage conversion or give you a chance to use it in link baiting.
You can also do the same with YouTube. If you add your website URL in your YouTube channel, after some time it will become dofollow. However, make your channel useful and interesting; make sure it contains content related to your website. In this case, you can add videos on a periodic basis and do the marketing to attract a lot of subscribers. You can read an article and the commenter’s interaction for increasing YouTube subscribers.