More threads by djbaxter


Jun 28, 2012
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Google: Again, Social Signals Do Not Influence Your Ranking
by Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Round Table
Aug 25, 2015


At the 19:52 mark in the video, John answered the question: Do Social Signals have an impact on organic rankings in Google?

Not directly, no.

So it is not that there is any kind of ranking affect their. To a large part, social networks also have a nofollow on the links that they kind of provide when they post. So it is not the case that that would give you any kind of ranking boost there.

What you do sometimes see however is that the social posts do show up in the search results. They can be content like any other piece of content, and they can rank for keywords, they can rank for your product names, so they can show up in the search results as well, which in turn maybe gives you a little more presence, maybe provides some context for users as well in the search results.

Another aspect there specifically around Twitter and Google+ at the moment is that when we recognize that there is content on these social networks that are relevant to the user we will try to show that in the search results as well. I believe we show Twitter content in the US on mobile (now desktop also) so that is something that might be visible as well. It is not that your content will rank higher because of that, but there is just more content with your company name or your brand or your product name out there and we might choose to show that in the search as well.

Haha, timely post David!

I was just working on this year's Local Search Ranking Factors for David Mihm and one of the Qs was how much do we think social affects ranking. I think I put 2% because I do think to a very limited degree Google could count mentions from authoritative social accounts as a vote for your business, or indication of quality or popularity. So I do think Google is looking at stuff like that. Just does not count in the ranking for much because it could be too easily gamed.
Couple of thoughts to add:

Social media leaks - even if the sites do declare no-follow I've uncovered multiple instances of where entries in social media platforms "break free" from the platform or get scraped by another service, and the links become "live" to the site.

I also suspect G is or will be doing some amount of sentiment assessment with links.

So to my thinking SoMe shouldn't be a primary linking strategy, but it will play a role in the big picture.

Businesses go on SoMe for relationships with their customers, customer service and marketing.

If your'e doing *anything* for links only... well you just shouldn't!
I don't believe this.

#1 Google always says things like this. It's getting hard to believe anything they say anymore :)

#2 Social votes are mini backlinks. Backlinks were/are used to crowd source the best articles on a topic on the internet. Social votes operate the exact same way without the barrier to entry. For backlinks, you need a website, which a low portion of the population has. But guess how many people have a social profile and are able to like, tweet, or +1?

There are 2 problems though with social signals: weight and spam.

People who don't promote their articles on social media, although the article may be very (very) good, will hardly ever get any social votes. Or, at the very least, much less votes than their counterparts. So, there needs to be a smaller weight to social votes than backlinks. Especially with the spam issues.

If Google can't verify the source of a vote, they can't trust it. With websites you can trust them based on their amount of incoming links and other factors, such as website age, unique content amount, etc. With social votes, there is no verifiable data for trust. No age, no incoming trust verification (such as websites have with inbound backlinks).

For example, Google doesn't have direct access to Facebook so they couldn't get the data to verify a profile's integrity such as the age of the profile. Even then, they would have to be able to access profile content as well to see if it's spammy (profile just being used to game the system or if it's a real by a real person). Facebook just isn't a good candidate because of Google's lack of access.

G+ isn't either because of its segmented audience and low adoption rate.

Twitter is a better source but it also has a segmented audience and a smaller adoption rate although it is much bigger than G+. Google now has direct access to the Twitter fire hose, so they could probably get all the data they needed to verify profiles (age of profile, is the profile real, etc.). So, Twitter is by far the best candidate. However, they still have the issue of weight to deal with in any best case scenario.

Really, Google needs to play nice with Facebook. That's really the only instance they will get social vote info that can add significance to SERP's.

I definitely think social votes matter, but in proportion. I think they also only climb in relevance from here on out.

10% would be my conservative estimate.
Agreed with Josh!

IMO Social is for lazer targeting demographics and content dissemination, anything additional from social efforts are lagniappe.

I'll be interested to see how FB's local-search features evolve in the next 1-2 years. I personally think Google is jealous of the detailed personal-data that FB has.

I've always thought that PageRank was much easier to fake than social-authority (still not impossible), but individual social accounts with 5+ years of check-ins and content engagement is tough to fake.

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