Google: Facebook Likes "Will Not Influence Your Ranking"

Mar 22, 2011 • 8:40 am | comments (35) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Facebook Likes and Google SEOJack from Google said in a Google Webmaster Help thread that adding a Facebook Like Button to your web pages will have no influence on your Google rankings.

The response needs to be put in context. One webmaster claimed his rankings dropped soon after adding the Facebook Like Button to his web pages. In response to that, Jack said - no, it wouldn't drop.

The thing is, we know that Google uses site speed as a ranking factor. We also know that Facebook Like Buttons, if implemented certain ways, can slow down the load of your page. Does Google specifically make sure to ignore the Facebook Like Buttons in the speed tests? I don't know. But if not, and it slows down your page load time, it may negatively impact your rankings. That being said, it is not specific to Facebook, anything that slows down your page can be detrimental to your rankings.

Going a bit beyond page speed, we also know Google uses social signals for rankings. Right now they use Twitter, Google Reader, and other social sites but currently do not use Facebook. So Facebook has no real direct impact on rankings as of yet.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help .

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03/22/2011 12:54 pm

Hey Barry, some thought provoking stuff but according to the interview Danny posted back when the "social signals" story broke, Google does use Facebook: "Google: We treat links shared on Facebook fan pages the same as we treat tweeted links. We have no personal wall data from Facebook." So, likes and shares from individuals may not help, but it would seem it has an impact for fan pages.

Barry Schwartz

03/22/2011 12:55 pm

I guess you did not read this post in it's entirety.


03/22/2011 12:57 pm

I did and I know what you meant, specifically that "likes" do not impact rankings, my disagreement was with: "Right now they use Twitter, Google Reader, and other social sites but currently do not use Facebook. So Facebook has no real direct impact on rankings as of yet." Wasn't trying to nit-pick, just to clarify.

Barry Schwartz

03/22/2011 12:58 pm

I see. Sorry.


03/22/2011 01:00 pm

No problem at all. Definitely find the fact that "likes" don't matter pretty thought provoking and something that a lot of people cite as important without having done the testing so I definitely appreciate you raising the issue :)

Moosa Hemani

03/22/2011 01:04 pm

To conclude, can i say adding Facebook like button to your page may hurt your rankings (keeping page load time in mind)??

Barry Schwartz

03/22/2011 01:07 pm

No. Test it. I have facebook share buttons on these pages, we rank fine. So do many sites.


03/22/2011 01:37 pm

I think Google sees FB as one of their main competitors to the point of where they don't want FB to in anyway impact their products. So I assume they will only count crawl-able links from FB. I notice they give FB zero press and fluff it off. I also notice about 9 months ago a lot of G employees dumped their FB accounts. Do you think they were instructed to dump them?


03/22/2011 02:05 pm

I think you should make the thumb downwards instead of upwards. :)

Nick Stamoulis

03/22/2011 02:25 pm

How much affect Facebook has on site's ranking is still being debated and speculated by the entire SEO community. Google doesn't include Facebook results in the SERP like Bing does, but that doesn't mean that a link shared on Facebook isn't affecting the site it links too in some way. But I doubt Google is going to intentionally penalize a site because they add a "Like" button to the page.

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03/22/2011 04:28 pm

yes, Google is right it is only a like nothing else.


03/22/2011 06:27 pm

Some implementations of Facebook link buttons include standard anchor links (some variations of AddThis for instance) which become external links... on every page of your site. Assuming your site has thousands of pages, add such a link to every page and that is a pretty big leak of PageRank away, which will affect your rankings. Always make sure you use pure javascript versions of these widgets without any noscript components for the crawlers to read. I noticed distinct rankings increases some months ago when I switched old legacy share buttons (that had such links) into newer pure javascript ones.

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03/22/2011 07:53 pm

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Robert Lloyd

03/22/2011 10:53 pm

I'm going to add time tracking scripts to pages which use open graph in the future. I suspect the increase in HTTP requests is the problem.

Rick Vidallon

03/22/2011 11:31 pm

I recall only 'ONE' time seeing anything related to the Face book Like Widget having influence in a business consderation. I had visited a website for a software purchase and the 'Face Book Like' widget served up 2 people I knew who had 'Liked' that particular website via the widget. Did I buy the software? No. Did I trust the 2 people I knew? Not really. Was I surprised? Yes! While the 'Like Widget' does not help with SEO, it does impart some degree of social marketing influence.

Lee Johnson

03/22/2011 11:57 pm

I have done lots of testing on page load speeds and I have seen very little difference in the rankings of faster pages. I think people should stop worrying about catching the donkeys tail and get back to the basics. I understand the article Intention but this type of thing just ads too so called SEO's who use wild tales to scare and snare people to take their services.


03/23/2011 12:01 am

As Rick says - like has the potential to increase user interaction with particular results - (in his case maybe not the desired affect). Remember Bing recently announced the functionality in results:


03/23/2011 12:04 am

I concur.


03/23/2011 09:55 am

I tend to find that the social marketing influence of facebook goes the other way round, so, not so much that I see that items on a third party website 'liked' by my facebook friends, but that when I log into facebook and check my wall for friends' activity, then I see their likes and link posts. Its for that reason that in the training courses we run we tend to push social bookmarking links that put something on the users Wall, or equivalent as this seems a more robust way to suck in some traffic.

Antti Kokkonen

03/23/2011 10:28 am

Saying that Facebook like buttons have no influence on SE rankings is thinking in one dimension. First, SE rankings drop after Installing Facebook Like button is coincidence. And speed, while very important and something I'm quite obsessed about, is not that big of a factor *directly*, even that it does improve user experience greatly, which in turn, has a lot of positive effects, like less bounce, more conversion, more money... (not to mention, that it's quite easy to add Facebook like button to a page in a non-blocking fashion via JavaScript, and have no effect on loading speed) But whether or not Facebook likes bring direct SEO benefit or not (to SE rankings)... Facebook, like any other social media is where people *share* your site with their friends/followers, bringing in traffic... and more people visiting your site increases the possibility that someone likes your content enough to write about you in their blog or site and/or links back to your site. So yeah, Facebook like buttons, share buttons, Twitter buttons and all that most definitely have influence on SE rankings, in a positive way!

Bill Sebald

03/23/2011 01:50 pm

Antti and Rick stole my thunder - I completely agree with the "big picture" they put out here. That's the long tail of how Likes can contribute to your rankings.

Barry Schwartz

03/23/2011 02:02 pm

Who said that? I am talking about site speed here. :)


03/23/2011 03:04 pm

You may have thought you were talking purely about site speed but the way the article is structured and written implied to me that you were talking about SEO and that site speed is a factor. You say tomato I say tomato I think. :)

Barry Schwartz

03/23/2011 03:06 pm

Really? Maybe just the title. The article clearly says the quote needs more context.

Antti Kokkonen

03/23/2011 03:24 pm

Well, the title doesn't say anything about speed, but it does say about rankings, and we all know how much weight titles have :) Anyway, as you said in the end: "no *direct* impact", I took that and pointed out there is the *indirect* impact.

Bryan Bliss

03/24/2011 04:45 pm

i think the short article doesnt address the true value of an added like button. it IS a good idea to allow /encourage engagement and the actual likes and shares themselves generated DO in my opinion improve speed and position of ranking. if considering site speed alone, without any interaction or sharing from readers, then a link from a like button is not a positive influence on ranking. some people used to say that ANY official link from huge pr facebook would help in seo profile, this google employee insight only seems to discount the value of the like button link itself.


03/31/2011 09:36 am

Interesting post, I have been delving into website design and creation over the past few months, and have recently come to understand the importance of certain aspects which affect your Google ranking. I have written a blog about my struggle to top Google's rankings: Hope you enjoy reading my post too!

Tim Aldiss

05/23/2011 02:32 pm

 Google Reader! I'm amazed. Hasn't RSS usage halved in the last 18 months. I mean I use Google Reader but I know very few other people who do, especially outside of 'the echo chamber'.


05/25/2011 06:54 pm

I am wondering if Google does use Facebook signal into Google search engine algorithm, what would our marketing strategies are? Post more content on Facebook and engage even more with our fans?

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05/31/2011 03:20 am

i am using Google and Facebook from last two years.both very interesting sites.thanks for sharing.

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05/31/2011 03:25 am

Always make sure you use pure javascript versions of these widgets without any noscript components for the crawlers to read. .thanks for sharing.keep it up.

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05/31/2011 03:29 am

Google: Facebook Likes..........


06/21/2011 07:19 pm

it does effect ranking it lowers down your site rank. 1. facebook script tags are not normal html tags so easily identifible by crawlers and cause invalid markup problem. 2. goole reduced the site rating.


10/07/2011 09:38 pm

thank you, hadn't thought of the angle that the link could slow my site and therefore effect page rank


12/02/2011 07:21 pm

Is this the same with the Google +1 and twitter? i don;t understand how social networking will help your rank yet the biggest social network in the world globally isn't included?

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