Back linking has become so infectious and easy to manipulate that the search engines are altering their algorithms to better measure the value of a page and the content within. Latest updates to the algorithms have found methods to separate bad linking from good linking; one technique is to focus on the anchor text, others monitor the amount of backlinks created on a daily basis and looks for any irregularities. Back linking is still an integral part of SEO, but more in an organic sense and not to force the issue.
Search engines are putting more emphasis on social sharing features, whereas backlinks used to control a huge part of the algorithm ranking factor there has been a shift in latest algorithm updates focusing more on social sharing as a method to quantify the worth of a page.
You may have noticed recently while searching, more and more blogs and articles are appearing in the search results via the Google plus feature. The plus feature is like thumbs up, a stamp of approval letting the search engine know how valued your content is.
This is a lot harder to manipulate as you will be required to set up AND MANAGE all social network platforms, before now we have being gaining credit and value from backlinks, floating links that when created can be left to float on the web with your link value being at the mercy of the website that links to you, how often do they update their website alongside other factors.
With Social media such as Google plus, you tube, twitter and Facebook the algorithm will not only take into account how many followers, subscribers or likes you have but how active are those who made the connection on their own accounts. For example if a company has a marketing team and they create hundreds of fake social media accounts, they would need to manage these accounts organically NOT SO EASY.
Think of the placement of your social media icons and where they are placed on your page, taking into account those visiting your site from a mobile device, make sharing easy for them. I also feel it is important to give a little instruction, if you just have a floating icon it will not perform as good as an icon with “Follow Us”.