Today, more than ever, Social Networking is an integral part of Search Engine Optimization and how search engines organically rank websites. The fact that networking socially online has become such a big part of our lives, would only make sense that search engines look to these sites to find more user-experience-relevant information. Both Bing and Google have confirmed that links shared in Facebook and Twitter directly impact rankings. The real question though, is how?
Social Media sites are similar to Google’s PageRank (PR) in many ways, for example: many links from quality places is good; linking/following/’Liking’ is better than exchanging; etc.
Here are the rules to keep in mind for Facebook & Twitter:
If an article has a high volume of retweets, references or ‘Likes’ (from different accounts) in Twitter/Facebook, Google uses this as a strong signal for organic rankings and for news rankings (even though Social Networking links are ‘nofollow’). Based on how many people share the article, Google also uses it to enhance the news universal results.
Quality and Authority
Google tries to calculate the authority of who is doing the tweeting and assigns ‘author quality’. ‘Author quality/authority’ refers to Google’s score derived from the evaluation on the person/entity that is link sharing in Facebook/Twitter. Known public figures or publishers, for example, carry more weight and are higher in quality.
Google has reportedly announced that a link does carry more weight depending on who tweets it, especially in the ‘Top links” section (of Google Realtime Search). This can be compared to PageRank, that the more authoritative the source of link sharing the content, the better.
Other Determining Factors
Without knowing exactly what the search engine algorithms look for, we’d have to make some educated guesses. The following are strong predictions of other determining factors regarding Social Media trends that impact SEO:
- Quality of Friends/Followers – the friends/followers you have can help score points in your favor. Earn high “authority” friends/followers and you yourself will be considered as a high authority source.
- Ratio of Friends/Followers – Whether a social account is following purely out of reciprocity rather than true interest, may play a part in authority scoring. If an account has 1000 followers and follows 950 of them, but the engagement interaction is low, they’re likely not as authoritative as an account with 1000 followers with few follows that are constantly engaged, retweeting, ‘Liking’, sharing, etc.
- Topic Focus/Relevance – Being recognized as an “authority” is subject-specific, meaning that you receive high-authority points for engagement in your topic of expertise. Keeping the relevance of the subjects in which you share your knowledge on one topic, strengthens your authority.
Is It all Good?
So it’s clear that using Social Media and networking through them in a quality and consistent manner is conducive to one’s online marketing. With the good comes the bad and one of the biggest concerns with Social Media is the amount of spam that takes place there. The search engines continuously try to understand the spamming techniques in order to discredit them so that’s a plus but the amount of improper behavior, especially in Twitter, is something that we need to watch out for. This will be discussed in another blog post soon.
So go ahead and engage, the Social Media world is open for you to explore as you see fit. And if you have any questions about this blog or web marketing in general, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Photo “Social Media Plymouth” courtesy of Flick user, Plymouth Devon under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License