No hyperbole - this article might change ALL of your assumptions about how social sharing relates to your SEO and content strategy

Hats off to +Rand Fishkin and +Moz for this article and Whiteboard Friday. If content marketing and content strategy, and how you use social media to advance your search engine traffic, this is a must read, along with the research reports linked within.

To pull out some important pieces from this longish read:

"...looked at articles that received social shares, in fact a million articles that were taken from their database, and then they looked at the number of shares and the number of links those received. The vast, vast majority received zero links. In fact, 75% plus of all articles they looked at received zero, not a single one, social shares. Same with links, by the way. I think it was 90% plus for links or maybe even more.... You're essentially seeing that a few articles get all the shares out there. Everything else really gets nothing. If you're not going to be in the top 10% of content that's created, don't even bother. You're not going to get shares. You're not going to get links. You're not going to get traffic. Forget it."

"I think Google is honest when they tell us, "We don't look at social shares to determine rankings."... Chartbeat basically analyzed engagement on socially shared content. What they saw was a plot that looks like this. Very, very few social articles have high read time. Even the ones that have lots of social sharing have very little read time. It turns out a ton of things that people share socially on the Web, they don't read at all. They may click Retweet. They may even include the URL. They might share it on Facebook. But they, themselves, may never have even visited that content."

After dropping these bombs, +Rand Fishkin then says something that many of us find ourselves saying all the time in one way or another: "I think Google cares much more about the engagement than they do about the social share counts themselves."

Sound familiar?

This ties into the conversations we've been having recently on share count numbers (https://goo.gl/BZu4o9) and social proof (https://goo.gl/GXIc61) and providing impactful content (https://goo.gl/N8NtcY a la +Ronell Smith)

It even ties into the massive study by +Stone Temple Consulting regarding Twitter engagement factors (https://goo.gl/zyyjD9 which is geared towards how to get more engagement).

It (should) encourage you to revisit your website goals, focusing less on getting social shares, and perhaps more on capturing email addresses (+Stephan Hovnanian at https://goo.gl/kxEoEt)

It's time to rethink the value of social shares and their place/value in your content strategy.
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