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Social signals in: social media now part of the Google algorithm

Link-Assistant.Com | Posted in category GuestBox

guest post by Mark Collier

Google have recently confirmed that they use in a small part social media signals in their search engine algorithm. In fact it was Matt Cutts who confirmed that since May 2010 they have taken social signals into account in their algorithms. At the moment they use social media mostly in the search results for realtime results like this:

Google Realtime Results

But social is becoming more and more a part of the internet and Google's search results. People are spending more time on social media sites especially Twitter and Facebook. Twitter is the so far the largest contributor to the social trend as part of Google's algorithm.

How Google use social signals

So far the evidence presented indicates that Twitter is the most used social signal. This is probably the case because you must be logged in to see most Facebook pages therefore presenting a problem crawling pages on Facebook for Google.

While social signals are small part of the algorithm it is most likely the case that Google are laying the base for how they will use social in the future. Creating the base of a sub algorithm like they did with PageRank. While the PageRank algorithm has emerged over time and new sub ranking factors developed the base ideal that backlinks are used as votes for websites and each vote is weighted on the number of and quality of links pointing to the page that's voting.

So it is fair to say that the way Google is using social now will change over a period of time but that the base ideas will be similar in let's say 5 years time.

Here are some possible ways Google is using social signals

  • The same way Google uses PageRank now, they may simply disregard the nofollow tag on social sites like Twitter. Using the PageRank of the linking page.
  • Google have said they have tried using user reviews to rate user's opinions of products and they link to a large scale sentiment analysis system. It is quite possible that Google are able to tell whether when you link to a page you like the page or not. In fact if you do an advanced search on Twitter you are able to search for people who are happy or unhappy in their Tweets.
  • Google may also use a clout rating, something like Hootsuite's Klout rating. Those with a high clout, links would be trusted more.

There is no time like the present

The key take away from this confirmation is that you should be using social media. If you, your website or your organization isn't using social media you need to start now.

The main benefits of social media lie in the connections you make and the direct traffic that you get as a result. I wouldn't worry about optimizing your social efforts for any ranking signals just do what's right for the user and Google will adapt their algorithms to that.

This is simply just another reason you should be going social. And the search engine benefits of going social can only grow in the future. You may think that it is a crowded marketplace and there is too much competition, but all these social media sites are free and accessible with little or no learning necessary. So just jump right in there and learn from your mistakes.

About the Author
Mark Collier is the author of Link Building Mastery, master the art of link building. His new eBook features 12 expert interviews with experts such as Marko Saric, Andrew Warner, Tamar Weinberg, Glen Allsopp, Ann Smarty, Linda Bustos, etc. You can get your copy of his free social media eBook and send your website's traffic and backlinks soaring.

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