I love presenting at conferences and seminars because while I’m teaching, I always end up learning something, too. I was reminded of this at a presentation I gave recently for small business owners at the Small Business Development Center in downtown Phoenix.
The title of my workshop was “Tune Up Your Site for Search Engines,” and I was on the topic of link building: How to use links from other websites to improve your search ranking. I had made the point a couple of times that posting to Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites doesn’t help your search ranking. I explained that this is because those sites use a “nofollow” tag on posts and comments that prevents Google from following the link back to your site, so you don’t get any of the PageRank benefit of those links.
I was wrong.
And I was right. And I learned something from one of the attendees to make my next presentation better.
Here’s why I was right: The “nofollow” thing is true, and Google doesn’t follow links back to your site, and you don’t get any of the referring site’s PageRank, and it doesn’t help your site’s search ranking. (You can make your brain hurt by reading about PageRank at Google employee Matt Cutt’s blog.)
Here’s why I was wrong: As the smart woman in my session pointed out, Google DOES read and index your posts and messages on many social networking sites, so being active in those communities DOES help your search visibility.
Now, my presentation was about getting better search ranking for your website, and my point was that social network posting doesn’t help. That’s true. But if those social media postings include links back to your site, they can still help generate traffic to your site. That’s good. And, done correctly, posting on social sites and blogs can help your overall search engine visibility. That’s good, too.
In future presentations, I’ll say that social posting doesn’t help your website’s search ranking, but it certainly can help your search ranking. My thanks to Kim K for asking the smart question that made me think a little harder about how I explain this concept.