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It is clear that social influence is becoming ever more important in how content gets ranked in Google. This fits with Google’s overall strategy of promoting content to which users give their votes of confidence. Prior to social features, the primary way users voted for content was by posting links to admirable content on their sites. Now they have a growing array of ways to promote content they find useful. And Google is changing its algorithm to adapt to this user behavior.

As marketers, we must also adjust for this user behavior, not only because it is what our users expect, but because it improves the chances that our content will be found through search. No social media marketing or content marketing plan is complete without a robust process that places Facebook share, like and Twitter follow buttons near link-bait content. It’s no longer nice to have. It’s a business imperative.

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