For many website owners, social networking has been a means to a traffic building end, however, the real benefit can be in the potential it holds to boost your off page search engine optimization strategies.
If you consider the basic principles of social networking, it is a means of linking up with likeminded people. Whether your social networking is through forums, sites such as Myspace or Facebook, or using social sites such as Blogcatalog or even Stumble Upon, the opportunity is there to meet other people with similar interests or from the same niche as yourself. There are obvious SEO benefits to some of these sights. You can link your profile to your websites and, when it comes to social bookmarking, you can have content bookmarked with links back to those pages.
That is not networking. Networking is an active engagement of other people. Discussing on-topic issues, even at times discussing off- topic, although someone often finds a way to link it back to their topics. By networking with others you are building a group that will, overtime, rely on each other. Members of the group will visit each other’s pages, often looking for inspiration on what to publish next. When someone from the group finds some of your content worthy of expanding on, chances are they will link back to your article as part of theirs – you would hope so anyway. Off page SEO depends in the main on acquiring these back links.
By socializing through some of these social sites, you will build a band of followers. They will follow you back to your pages and they will link back to you – it becomes a form of social search engine optimization.
The more authority you can develop through these social network scenes, the more links you will acquire – the basic tenet of all SEO.