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Social Signals and Google Rankings – Facebook and Twitter Out…Google+ In!

Posted on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - News, SEO, Social Media


A recent video from Matt Cutts (head of Google’s webspam team) declared that Google does not use Facebook and Twitter signals as part of the ranking algorithm. This has come as a bit of a surprise as social signals were thought to be used somewhere in Google’s algorithm. Slogans such as “likes are the new links” and debates over links versus social signals have become more and more prevalent as Google continues to smack down hard on blackhat link building tactics. I say this comes only as a “bit of a surprise” because Matt Cutts has alluded to links being more powerful than social shares, but the thought that social shares were somewhere in the algo mix was still prevalent.

The one thing to keep in mind is that Google didn’t say they don’t consider any social signals. They just don’t consider Facebook and Twitter signals. So what’s left? Google+ of course!!

Another Google-forced Win for Google+

It’s still safe to assume that social signals will become a more integrated part of Google’s algorithm. It’s probably just going to live in Google+ shares and authorship rank. This is yet another reason to jump on to Google+ and start building your followers.

Was this most recent video basically a scare tactic to get more people to use Google+ without saying Google+ is the only social signal they care about? Possibly; but their reasons for not using Twitter and Facebook make a ton of sense. It’s nearly impossible to keep on top of everything that’s happening behind the walls of Facebook, so why try…especially when they have a social network all their own to tap into.

Do NOT Abandon Twitter and Facebook

Just because Google does not use Twitter and Facebook social signals for ranking purposes, it doesn’t mean you should abandon them altogether. The fact is Twitter and Facebook have a more active user base (or probably more active among your demographic). You can still acquire new fans and customers through these social networks. It just means you should worry less about SEO implications and more about effectively sharing content and building followers through these channels.

About David Waterman

David Waterman of The Search Agency+ works in SEO, Content Development and Online Marketing, at The Search Agency - 11150 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 600 Los Angeles, CA 90064 as a Director of SEO/Search Marketing - Website: http://www.thesearchagency.com

David Waterman+ manages all SEO efforts for an assortment of clients. He has over 8 years of Search Engine Optimization experience with a specific emphasis on content optimization and website taxonomy/organization. He sets strategy for a wide array of top-tier clients in various industries and has experience managing international search marketing teams and servicing international clients. In his spare time he enjoys going to garage sales and swap meets in search of vintage and collectible items.



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8 Responses to “Social Signals and Google Rankings – Facebook and Twitter Out…Google+ In!”

  1. Matt says:

    Also just because they don’t consider FB and twitter now doesn’t mean they wont in the future as they develop their understanding of social. It would be extremely close minded for Google to value social only from their own source. If this did become common practice to only promote G+ it would be an extremely easy way to pick out spammers in the future if they have a huge G+ following and no presence elsewhere.

  2. Matt says:

    it is also worth considering that in the video, Matt does not discount the value of social signals from Twitter and FB only the quantitative metrics like 100 “likes” etc. The reality is the pages still get crawled like any other site, so brand mentions etc could still be beneficial.

    • Valid points Matt. There is still value in brand mentions, which are said to become more utilized in establishing online authority in the coming years. However, I’d still say it’s more advantageous to approach Twitter and Facebook as means to increase engagement among current and prospective customers and fans. There may be a tad bit of “SEO” that can be leveraged from these sites, but it shouldn’t be a primary focus.

  3. Lance Bangs says:

    This Matt guy sounds like a knob

  4. Richard W. says:

    More evidence that marketers need a well-rounded marketing plan. Google would be foolish to discount Twitter & FB if they are serious about author rank, etc… as those are way better platforms for community and brand building than G+. The only stuff that people respond to on G+ are pretty pictures in my experience but the quality of interaction is pretty poor compared to the other social media sites. If Google ever comes around then you should be all set up already with active engagement on all the platforms. I think it’s up to Google to catch up with the times rather than on us.

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