Why Social Influence is Changing Everything About the Internet

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 08/08/11 •  5 min read

Do you remember the days back when the internet was more like the wild, wild west?

The days where if you knew even a little bit about how things worked, you could dominate the search engines for virtually any keyword you want?

Well, to be honest, I don’t.

Those days were well before my time, and over the last couple years we’ve seen a really dramatic shift in how the internet operates.  Google has clamped down on spammers and ranking for high quality/high traffic key terms is getting more and more difficult because of it.

That said, we’re poised for an even more dramatic shift over the next few years, and if you’re savvy enough to pay attention, you may find yourself on top of the internet game faster than you might think.

The End of An Era

We’re closing in on the end of an era.

As it stands right now if you’re willing to put enough time into article marketing, guest posts, and other forms of low level link building your probably going to see a modicum of success. Enjoy it, it’s not going to be like that for long.  Why not? Well for one, that system is broken.

Social media is enveloping every corner of the internet. I can access just about anything via Facebook and Twitter connect. Google Plus is tightly integrated into my email account – the bottom line is that real people are what’s pushing the internet forward.  Right now you can still be anonymous.  You can lurk behind the scenes trying to push your niche sites, spam or any number of other offers online – but you won’t be able to do that forever.

The Have’s Versus the Have Nots

In the next few years, the internet is going to turn into a game of the “haves” versus the “have nots”.

By that I mean, there will be those who have a voice and those that won’t.

We’re seeing it already. You can tell who has influence by their number of retweets, likes on Facebook, and more importantly +1’s on Google.  The whole concept of the +1 hasn’t quite taken off yet, but give it another 6-12 months. It’s going to change the way the internet and the search engines work, especially as Google Plus grows.

The people who have influence are the ones who are going to have a voice, and ultimately the power in the internet.  There are a few services, namely Klout, that recognize this and are working to track it.  I expect that sooner rather than later we’ll see that getting even more in depth, and you’ll be able to very quickly and easily see not only who the thought leaders are in any given industry, but exactly how and who they influence.

The potential is incredible, and as these social forms of sharing improve and become more relevant, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes more intertwined in search.

Why You May Be More Internet Savvy Than You Think

All that said, as we continue to push towards the next frontier of the internet, it’s becoming increasingly clear that social influence is the wave of the future.  The sooner you embrace this, the sooner you’ll be able to start capitalizing on it.

You know that Facebook fan page you’ve built up? That legion of Twitter followers?  That actually means more to you than just an ego boost – or at least it should. Moving forward, the social proof that comes in having an audience is going to be huge.

Here are just a few ways it will benefit you:

If you’ve already begun your efforts to build your social sphere (and I bet you have), good, don’t stop now.  It will pay huge dividends down the line, when it’s all of your content that is showing up in Google – not that worthless affiliate site.

Like I said, I don’t remember the days when url and keyword stuffing were surefire strategies. However, I do remember the days when Facebook was just a way to stalk that hot girl you met at the bar the night before, or perhaps the one sitting next to you in your econ class.  We’ve come a long way since then, and never did I imagine that it would be communities like Facebook that would have such a dramatic influence on the way I search for information, communicate, and do business.

But folks, that’s where we’re going.

So if you’re serious about being in business online, pay attention, learn everything you can, and start thinking in terms of influence.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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