Social optimization is the new hot SEO technique, but is it really white-hat SEO? As usual, there is more than one answer to any search engine optimization question, so I’ll try and help to clarify each social SEO method and tactic.
Blogs and Blogging
Blogs, almost anyone can write blogs. Nearly everyone has a blog. Most use blogs as an extension for their business, an easy way to spread news ideas and updates. Some abuse blogs simply blogging to spam links into the search engines and social networking websites; the absolute worst blog links links and more links. Using automated content and blog writing scripts they pull links from their website and blog them with no other content. With WordPress blogs, this cannot be stopped, as each blog’s owner has total control of the content. With Google Blogger and Blogspot blogs there is some measure of control. There are many other blogging platforms available, but Blogger and WordPress are the most commonly used, so I will reference these.
In the event that you are a blatant blackhat SEO blogger or search engine blog spammer, you will know this already. For the rest of you, I will try to fill you in on which SEO methods are considered whitehat, which SEO methods are considered blackhat, and which SEO methods fall between those two distinctions.
A 100% whitehat blog will be full of useful or informative content. The majority of the content for the blog will be associated with its main topic or niche. Linking internally will be minimal and only occur where appropriate. Linking to other blogs and websites should appear natural and always be in reference to a specific subject, such as articles, products, or work done by the blog or website being linked to.
Blackhat blogs will be full of links, may or may not contain relevant content, are generally automated. More times than not, they tend to be useless. There are many methods for setting up these types of sites. Some use RSS feeds to automate the posting of their blog. Others use software or server-based scripts to do the posting. The only real intent of this type of blog is to get search engines to find the links or generate revenue from the blog reader. Many of these blackhat spam blogs will contain nothing but keyword links.
Now, in the middle, you will find everyone else. Bloggers link to things all the time. Many companies have staff who write blogs specifically to link back to products and information that are on their website. Internet marketers use blogs to help generate traffic for affiliate websites and niche websites. In the eyes of search engines, this is actually spam. Yet, since it tends to be informative or useful, it is given a blind eye. So if you are not sure what kind of blogger you, are or what type of blog you are reading, this has hopefully helped shed some light in those regards.
Pings and Pinging
Pings are notices sent to search engines and Social networking sites to inform them of new content, news, or information on a blog or website. This can be done manually through blog pinging services such as Pingoat, Pingomatic, and the like. It can also be automated from sites such as Autopinger, or with automated pinging scripts. These scripts are built in with WordPress and can be added to Blogger or Blogspot blogs.
Whitehat pings are for real updates and information changes, and are generally only to blogs and RSS feeds.
Blackhat spam pings are sent out for blogs and websites regardless of updates. Many people will ping a blog or website repeatedly in the hope of getting more traffic. There is a process called blog and ping or blogging and pinging, which is a very common practice for spammers in the marketing world and a technique often used in blackhat SEO.
So, if you make an update to your blog and ping it, you have done nothing wrong. This is what the ping services are for and would be considered whitehat. On the other side of the coin, pinging just to do it, or repeated pings to the same post, would be considered spam or blackhat SEO.
Tags and Tagging
Tags are special links used in social networking sites to label things. The act of tagging is done socially to group similar websites’ ideas and blogs for social informative searching. Search engines use tags to determine relevance to topics and help return better search engine results. Social networking sites do this very heavily.
Tagging a blog or website is a normal social act. It helps to share your opinion or thought on what you tagged. Later, other people can look for something by a tag and may find what you tagged as the topic. This is all natural and considered whitehat SEO. It provides natural information and data about topics. Websites and blogs may both be tagged, as well as videos music or images.
On the blackhat or spammy side of this, the process involves using large amounts of tags and non-relevant tags, again for more traffic. The tag and ping method is very popular for this. Spammers will make a blog post then tag it and ping it. This is done hoping to increase search engine ranking for more traffic.
I hope this has been informative. We will go into more detail on our primary SEO website. A full Social optimization section is being developed to cover all aspects of blogging, pinging, and tagging, with data on most of the main social websites. Feel free to post your comments and questions.