Sounds easy enough, right? After all, there are more than a couple of social media sites to choose from. The question is, are they strong enough to be built up to the first page and maintain rank? Are they powerful enough to do what online reputation management (ORM) combined with search engine optimization (SEO) is often meant for, namely to keep a bad review, lawsuit filing, or anti-fan site off the first page where the majority of searchers get their first impressions?
It’s safe to say that the higher a social profile ranks on its own accord (without any link-building), the better chance it has of staying on the first page with link-building. So which are the social profiles that rank well without help? Let check.
The idea was to see how profiles would perform in their naturally competitive environments, not to normalize the profiles and make some statistical inference. A name with high search volume, for example, is likely going to be associated with profiles getting a larger number of natural occurring backlinks, whereas a name on the low end would not. So if you’re dealing with a case on either end of the spectrum, you’ll generally end up with most names receiving the same level of natural linkage as others around their same search volume.
Normalizing and taking a much larger sample sounds like something that would be valuable and I’ll leave that to the SEO theorists. :)
The overview above shows the major disparity between sites like Facebook, Google + or Twitter and the “other” profile sites (which still have millions of users in some cases), but there are also bright spots, as I saw in the broader array of data not shown. Up until search volumes reach 1,000 for a particular name, the frequency of these “other” lesser social profile sites is actually very high. After 1,000 searches, the big boys like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Myspace are nearly the only social profiles to be found on the first three pages of search results
The great thing is, you’ve got plenty of options for social profile building and subsequent link building if the search volumes you’re dealing with are low. (Can I just say how much I would love to make an ORM strategy that includes a Mugglespace.com profile for the client? Talk about ORM wizardry!) The point is to not waste your time with the smaller profile sites if search volumes are high because the competitiveness is often just as high and you won’t get any return on a smaller profile.