Google's Cutts: Links Still More Powerful Than Social Signals

Jul 6, 2012 • 8:23 am | comments (26) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google's Cutts at SMXMatt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, was interviewed at SMX Advanced by Danny Sullivan. The latest video snippet was of links versus social signals.

My take away was that Matt Cutts says links are still, for the foreseeable future, going to be a more powerful signal for search rankings than social signals. Cutts does say that in ten years that may change but right now, links are indeed more important.

Here is the video:

Links versus social signals is one of those debates in the SEO world that is heating up.

Social does factor in big time when you are on Google+ and searching logged in. But in terms of a core ranking signal for users who are not logged in? Well, Matt Cutts would know best.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Steve Napier

07/06/2012 12:42 pm

With every post you produce I notice more and more errors; typos, grammar, spelling. Your heading should read 'than' not 'thank', sorry for being a pedant but it is sad to see and don't forget Google panda looks at english standard. :)

Roi Alon

07/06/2012 03:53 pm

I think it was mention on latest SMX by Todd Friesen. Barry write/cover so fast. information that those mistakes are "fine" - i defiantly can understand it.


07/06/2012 04:32 pm

It just seems logical that links from on-topic sources would be of more importance as social links are built on a mish-mosh of information. But isn't it rather pitiful that at this stage of the game that Google hasn't been more clear about this until now? I'm reminded of an All in the Family episode where Dan Rather came onto the tv following a presidential speech and Archie wanted to know why; Edith told him that Rather was going to explain what the president just said. So true.


07/06/2012 05:24 pm

Finally, some words from Matt Cutts on links and social signals. I was sure links can't die like that, they will be playing strong role in SEO for long.


07/06/2012 05:30 pm

I don't believe Matt. All my friends in social media swear social is more important than links for organic rankings. They can't all be lying..... Or maybe they are just drinking each other's koolaid.


07/06/2012 06:16 pm

SEO is live still and backlinks still have importance for google sounds good :)


07/06/2012 08:00 pm

Takeaway: 1% of links are nofollow, why does Matt know this number? #buyaclue #whitecoatseo

The Article BOSS

07/07/2012 10:33 am

Good to hear. Makes sense anyway, as Milania mentioned. :)


07/08/2012 02:19 am

Just tell Cutts not to try to make it a rocket science. The more he tries to bring new parameters, the more trouble he may he will bring to Google and waste the time of SEOs. Because SEOs quickly find a way to adapt to new directives ........... let it be simple.

Nell Terry

07/09/2012 06:14 am

Dude - check your own comment. You're not in the greatest position to be throwing stones...

Paul Mackenzie Ross

07/09/2012 11:20 am

I don't mean to be a pedant either, Steve, but the word is "English", with a capital "E"

Michael Martinez

07/09/2012 05:57 pm

Funny. Matt didn't mention "rankings". It's not all about rankings for a search engine.


07/10/2012 12:15 am

It's always been about the links and it always will be. Read their original patent and you'll see why. The whole algorithm is based on links and they can never change that. What they didn't foresee, 14 years ago, is that people would manipulate the algorithm, and therefore the search results, by artificially building links instead of just sitting around waiting for them to get built organically. This whole organic link thing is another topic entirely and shows what kind of idealistic thinking was going on at Google, and across the whole internet community, at the time. Computer geeks at that time just didn't understand that the greedheads will always step in and try to use anything for their own purposes. Also, did Larry and Sergei really believe that everyone would just start linking to each other's sites because they thought that there was some swell content there? Please.

Peter Mead

07/10/2012 05:15 am

So what is best? Still confused? Oh well there is always PPC, Adwords just pay for the traffic and built the advertising cost into our product... ?

Rob Davis

07/10/2012 12:15 pm

Well, natural link building plus social media is the best way right now to boost your ranking on Google.

Green G Fitness

07/10/2012 03:09 pm

I've been getting conflicting reports is it social or links?


07/11/2012 07:15 pm

You're doing it wrong. Your blog comment campaign is not natural. It's artificial, and it's spam. (He's been spamming a lot of blogs.)


07/16/2012 01:23 am

Karen, any data to back that up? Or just the opinions of your friends? Sorry, but I'll believe the guy who's qualified to comment on it.


07/17/2012 01:45 am

social metrics are easy to manipulate, i am happy that links are still the most important factor, the problem with Matt is, that he is not always telling the whole truth :(


07/25/2012 09:21 am

Organic links are not easy to get but social media is only medium which helps to get desired amount of those links in order to build a perfect link building structure.

Magnus Bråth

07/30/2012 02:18 pm

Haha, two thumbs up!


08/04/2012 09:36 am

Social sites factor a big affect when you add in sites and search in large amount.But Core ranking signals are not appear in it.Artificial link buildings just waiting to get organic link building and that all link building show what kind of commanding in search engines.

Sanket Patel

08/04/2012 09:45 am

Social signals have highest correlations with highest search ranking.It based on the relative newness of the results of networks.It had strong correlations with signals of the points.


06/28/2013 10:07 am

Because high search ranking causes high social rank to a degree ;-)


07/28/2013 05:05 pm

I'm trying this will update to test this theory


07/28/2013 05:10 pm

I'm trying this social signal gig will update to test this theory

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