Is your social media a ranking signal? We investigate.
There’s a lot of talk about Google and social. And we’re not talking about Google+. We’re talking about social followings and how they relate to search result rankings.
Experts in the search marketing field have noticed this: masses of social followers strongly correlates with high rankings in Google. But Google has denied it. So, who to believe?
What does Google say?
Matt Cutts made a statement, back when he was head of Google’s webspam team. He told us this, plain and simple: social media is not used as a ranking signal. Well, at least not for now. Correlation of popularity through social and strong web presences, he said.
The first reason he gave was that Google is limited in how much of the social web it can crawl. “Crawling” is done by bots that discover which websites have the most relevant information in order to rank them in search results. Though there are reports that social giants have blocked these bots in the past, it’s almost certain Google can now crawl all publicly available information on Twitter and Facebook.
But crawling them effectively would be hard work– these platforms are designed so users can update constantly. Google needs time to index a page– sometimes longer than the shelf life of a Facebook post. From minutes to weeks– you don’t get a guarantee from Google.
Where to from here?
Strong content, for both social and search, is an essential. And social amplifies that content, increasing your chances of linking from external websites. And the more likes and followers you have, the better this amplification.
So you see, while Google says social signals don’t currently impact ranking, doesn’t mean they never will.. or that they don’t. Or that social can’t assist search. Marketing strategies need to be integrated. This Google plus social case just highlights that. Whether or not social following is a ranking signal shouldn’t stop you pursuing that approach!
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