This article explains the importance of having a natural looking link profile including a reasonable amount of links from social media. It's not a good idea to say that this is the way to rank a page on Google, or that it isn't, because as soon as you figure something out with SEO, it changes.
Social media shares are more important for SEO than they ever have been before, especially since the recent changes to the algorithms in Google.
Having said that, by the time I write this, it might be that Google realizes that they went too far, and changed the algorithms too quickly, and that they need to change them back so that all of the billions of pages made in the preceding years are not unfairly ranked.
SEO started out being about back links from pages with a certain amount of page rank. Page A links to page B, and page C, and it has a page rank of two, so an amount of link weight divided by two is given from page A to pages B and C.
This was soon exploited by sites who made back links by the millions through spam methods to millions of sites set up for the sole purpose of making spam back links.
Google soon realized that they had to change their algorithms, and tried to make alorithms that recognized duplicate or low quality pages that had no back links leading to them, and that were on sites that offered no value.
They set up algorithms like the hilltop algorithm, which recognizes authority based on the number of expert pages which link to them, who also link to other authority sites on different domains.
With the latest algorithm changes, people are actually panicking so much about their link profile that they are asking to have a way of telling Google which links to disregard.
Links from syndicated content or badly spun content on low quality auto submit article directories are no good anymore. Neither are large amounts of social bookmarking links, blog comments, low quality directory links, forum signatures, profile back links, or almost any of the things that used to work.
Having said that, there is not really any reason to panic either. They cannot change the algorithms to such an extent that the results change completely, and they cannot allow negative SEO on competitors to be the thing people focus on either.
They have to keep some of the old algorithms for back links in place, but just disregard, or slightly punish sites that have unnatural looking links.
What Does Work In SEO These Days?
A back link from a high quality article writing site like this is still of great value, and I would suggest that you join Knoji, and write here, (baring in mind that it is not a place for promotional articles).
A guest post is still good, or having someone link to you on a good blog is still good, if it is good, and not just some crappy blog made for making back links from, written by someone who doesn't speak English so good.
What is becoming more important than ever in determining quality is the amount of time people spend on the page, or the bounce rate.
Whether they go back to search on Google, or whether they stick around and read the page, or click through to other pages on the site, or other sites that link from that page.
Only high quality back links really matter, and that means a lot of original content, on a good site, or at least some nice photos and videos on a page on a good site, perhaps with back links leading to that page also from high quality sites.
Social media shares are something which Google is paying attention to, and they have not yet really been able to work out the difference between a natural and unnatural share, although you don't want to test that theory too much by buying thousands of social media shares to try to get SEO rankings.
I do know how to get people to share your site to their Facebook friends, or tweet it, and it not only looks good and natural from an SEO perspective, but it also generates a whole bunch of targeted traffic at the same time.
It's not perfect, and it's still in the early stages of development as an industry, but it is likely to become bigger than SEO, so long as people get connected, and join the sites which pay people to share with their friends and followers, or swap social shares.
One such site is You Like Hits, another is Add Me Fast, and Twiends is an old favorite of mine, and I advise anyone to join that if they have a Twitter account with a good following of real people, and want to swap tweets with other people, or do anything really involving marketing and social media because it really works.
There are too many other sites like that to list here, but I advise anyone who has some good social share swapping sites to add them in a comment below, and also read this article about social media links and SEO, and if you are interested in talking about hiring me to help you with that, also follow that link.