Today it is kind of hard to find a more-serious business that does not have a Facebook or G+ page. For many people this is the only content platform that allows for example for news distribution or that enables sales channels. “Do not put all eggs in one basket” hopefully rings a bell.
The statement above is not to say “do not have a Facebook/G+ page” – it’s exactly the opposite. If it helps you engage your customers or in any other way increases your visibility or turnover – go for it. But remember, that these platforms in the end are a dependency factor and all your work in fact “belongs to them”. You are also dependent on their availability, popularity and people that control it (shareholders and those who pay for ads). This is also one of the shortcomings of cloud solutions – you have a mirage of the idea, that you own and control your own data. No, you don’t. You are able to control and influence it only as much as the provider allows you to do so.
So how should you build your long-term SEO strategy? Well, first of all make sure you publish as much as you can under your own content platform. What? You do not have a blog or your web page runs on a severely outdated CMS system? It’s definitely the right moment to upgrade the whole thing then. Facebook, Google Plus and other content sharing networks build their success based on the fact, that it’s extremely easy to share content on them. Adding pictures, movies, small notes etc. – there is an army of engineers and designers trying to make sure the whole thing is as usable as possible. You can mimic this in your content platform by going for either a commercial or open source solution. WordPress does a great job in that case and is fairly extensible (but one has to be careful not to install too many plugins – a good balance is usually the right solution). In the bottom of our hearts we are all lazy – and in order to share content it must be easy to produce it. So make sure your platform suits your taste and skills as much as you can. This will increase your productivity. Users value that.
Once we have that in place – make sure you use Facebook, Google Plus and other networks to distribute your content. If things that you write are valuable – people will for sure go to the source. If you limit yourself only to say Facebook – people might never discover, that you have a great web page and that you can something they could be looking for.
Another thing that especially FB shareholders do not want to discuss is the fact, that at some point some of these networks might become obsolete, unpopular or might simply fail. Yes, it sounds unrealistic that Facebook can fail. But here we come back to “do not put all your eggs in one basket”. Theoretically it can happen. Popularity of social platforms depends highly on their viral aspects and ability to spread and take on new users. After all, we get bored with almost everything at some point.
To sum up – use your common sense. Try to see the value of building your own content platform and use social networks to promote it – not vice-versa. Should these content platforms disappear any day – your precious content will still be there, indexed by search engines, working for your long-term SEO exposure. And remember – with your own platform it’s you owning and controlling the data.