UserInteraction Schema For SEO & Social?

Jan 3, 2014 • 8:29 am | comments (29) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Social Search Engines & Optimization

Facebook Likes and Google SEOA WebmasterWorld thread has a webmaster who asked if Google will give him a boost because one piece of his content on his site hit over 1,000 Facebook likes.

It is one of those weird questions that makes you nod your head sideways. Why?

(1) Google said they don't use Facebook likes or even Google+s directly in their ranking algorithm. Heck, Google doesn't have access to Facebook data for the most part.

(2) However, if you really had content that was organically loved and liked by so many people. It is natural for a lot of people to link to it and share it and thus Google will pick up on other signals and likely rank that content well.

That being said, should you better markup your pages so Google can easily pick up the Facebook Likes on a specific page?

There is a markup named UserInteraction that lets you markup social related features such as Likes, Checkins, Tweets, Visits, and so forth. Here is the list:

Of course, you need a way to automate this and not manually enter this data into your HTML code. So you need a good social tracking system or integrate directly with each API from Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Foursquare, Analytics, etc.

Do you add this schema data to your site? If not, will you?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Adam Heaton

01/03/2014 02:27 pm

What I find frustrating is forever hearing "People will link to it", when that just isn't the case anymore. More people use their social media profiles to link to pages they like than linking from their own websites, and when they do link from their own websites people get worried about it. Google should really step it up and start using social media more than ever in their algorithm. Times have changed and they should, if they haven't already, move with the times in that aspect.


01/03/2014 02:41 pm

And how do you prevent the 'buy 50,000 likes for $10', the same problem that links had? Until you can answer that, Google aren't going to get themselves caught in the same trap again. Also a like from certain people related to the topic is also much more important than 1000+ likes from random people, so its not as simple as 1 like = 1 ranking point either.

Adam Heaton

01/03/2014 02:50 pm

I never said numbers of likes mattered, what I said was that people share links more on their social media profiles than they do on their websites. Just like a website, the higher quality it is the more it should benefit a website (like you've suggested in your comment), however if we are led to believe that Facebook, Twitter, etc. have no impact on rankings like Google say, then this isn't the case. It just frustrates me hearing the same thing "people will link to it if it is good". Yes, they will, but not the way they once did and it needs addressing.

Alexander Hemedinger

01/03/2014 03:02 pm

I agree with Adam. People are more inclined to use their social media profiles because it's convenient. Also what better way to trust than having people in your circles or groups that want to see that type of content. I don't think Google will track the likes, pluses, etc it's more referral base of where your page views are coming in. I feel popularity can be based on that scale. (my two cents...)

Durant Imboden

01/03/2014 03:52 pm

Yes, and "Likes" are easier to give than links, too. All they require is a reflexive tap on a "Like" button. Also, even aside from wholesale spamming, there's plenty of what Google might regard as "Like buying" going on. Every time someone enters a giveaway by Liking XYZ Corporation or Billy Bob's Blog, that's a "Like" that was motivated by financial considerations.


01/03/2014 04:24 pm

since when has google not used facebook factors in its ranking? I was always under the impression it did... besides, you know google lies to us, right? you'll be telling me next you believe Matt Cutts's videos. Its perfectly simple is it not, for google to check a twitter profile, see how many likes it has, and extract the URL of that profile, and count the number of followers/likers towards it as part of its algo. It would be a piece of p*** to do that. What really makes you think they aren't? What makes you think they WOULDNT? They would have to be made to to have incorporated this already... And, if they've done that, they've also done everything else too.


01/03/2014 04:28 pm

Adamn is right, also nofollow is a problem, I have had 17 links in the past year, all nofollow! People want to link to your site because they know its useful for their readers but no one wants to risk a nofollow link anymore, and why should they NOT nofollow when THIER users get the same result? (taken to the same site) Why take a risk? Its a mess and new websites are doomed, sites that were around before the madness and already have dofollow links are laughing!


01/03/2014 04:41 pm

nice. so if webmaster not added schema to his website, google will unable to count this votes? I not think so. However all that schemes prevent search engine from normal work (they must index ALL content).

Craig Hamilton-Parker

01/03/2014 05:48 pm

Problem is that webmasters are terrified to link out to anything now but also look at what people like or link to in Facebook: total trash. It means that what is now important on the web is today's versions of 'Dancing Hamsters'. The web as a cultural driving force is sinking into the mud of the banal. Well done Google.


01/03/2014 08:04 pm

we tend to think of 1 google algo when there has to be 3 or 4. Social media kicks in with viral content marketing. When used with local seo it can be very effective. When you start to rank fb posts for local seo serps, than you know google uses fb data whatever data possible.


01/03/2014 08:21 pm

Correction: Misinformed webmasters are terrified. There is nothing wrong with placing an editorial link on your site to another site. The problem is when people start selling those links, or getting involved with link exchanges/schemes. If all you are seeing in social media is dancing hamsters, I suggest you do some pruning of your "friends" and try something outside of Facebook as well.

Craig Hamilton-Parker

01/03/2014 08:40 pm

My point is that social links don't point to what is good necessarily but to what is popular - the web looks like the X Factor or America's got tallent. Same problem as TV - do you educate or titillate? (I'll take your tip on board about pruning Facebook friends though!)


01/03/2014 08:45 pm

I agree. To say Google doesn't use likes or +'s in their algo is laughable. It may not be a "50 likes per SERP increase", but to say G doesn't use the "viral-ness" of a post to influence authority just doesn't seem to match the data.

David Urmann

01/04/2014 06:50 am

I think would be fairly easy to detect the quality of the audience based on a variety of factors.

Durant Imboden

01/04/2014 03:58 pm

Isn't it possible that Google pays attention to "nofollow" links, at least from sources that it deems worthy, even when its crawler doesn't follow them? Search engines do have some flexibility in how they interpret or implement "nofollow." For what it's worth, some of our top landing pages ("inside" pages, not high-level pages) have hundreds of inbound links from a megasite that nofollows all of its outbound links. I've often wondered if Google isn't counting those links in some way even if it isn't using them for discovery.


01/05/2014 05:47 pm

google using white lists, not likes. It give grand boost to members of internet coalition (like amazon (and allow them to spam), google coupons sites, etc) and to sites sponsored by google (may be already purchased) like wikipedia.


01/05/2014 06:46 pm

This is totally flawed. The data could be faked and if Google has limited access to social web sites in the first place then Google has no way to verify the data.

Toby Crabtree

01/06/2014 05:54 am

Well, I am not quiet sure Google would track the social web sites. But this certainly seems an interesting way to get better ranking for your websites.

Soni Sharma

01/06/2014 07:49 am

Facebook likes and Google +1 can be purchased most of the small companies are doing such practices. This shouldn't be one of the ranking factor It will be the same as buying links.

Rahul Trivedi

01/06/2014 10:03 am

How google can identify those likes and followers are paid or natural?


01/06/2014 03:24 pm

Google using social media signals as a ranking factor would be a COMPLETE nightmare. If you thought things were unfair and unbalanced toward big brands right now (which they are), just imagine the unfair advantage that big brands and their 6-figure followings on social networks would get, especially considering many of these brands can get 1,000+ likes within a half hour regardless of how worthless or generic their posts are..just from the sheer amount of people seeing these posts and clicking "Like" on whatever they pump out on a regular basis. It would create a glass ceiling in serps for small businesses that would be completely devastating.


01/06/2014 08:06 pm

"Good" and "popular" are often not the same, but they are not always mutually exclusive. This is where the web's more democratic nature wins over TV. In broadcast media, the networks are making the choice for you, whether it is really good or not. In social media and the web, When people have something useful or meaningful to say, it will get shared around and discussed. Things generally don't become popular if they aren't at least entertaining to a large number of people. If most of your social media connections just "Like" everything that pops up in their feed without even thinking about it, then of course it is all going to look ridiculous. If you don't filter that stuff out and surround yourself with people who have something more to offer, then you will only get more fluff.

Ducktoes Computer Services

01/07/2014 03:21 am

facebook has taken on a life of its own, it has been really interesting watching it grow and diversify in some really unexpected ways

Adam Heaton

01/07/2014 09:08 am

I don't think there ever will be a fair way for small businesses to beat big ones anymore, even if social signals were to come into play. However, that doesn't necessarily mean it is impossible, just means being clever with how SEO is used to improve traffic/sales!

Sundeep Reddy

01/07/2014 09:51 am

Google can use this data to rank sites better, they just have to calculate the ratio between the number of interactions and total number of followers...interaction rates will be very low when it comes to paid followers... and for this to happen they should have reasonable amount of access to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter etc but I doubt that. ~Google Fanboy ;)

Jacques Bouchard

01/11/2014 07:22 am

I don't believe for a second that facebook likes and G+;s are not considered in their search algorithm, regardless of what they say. I know, for example, that G+ affects personalized search, and that googlebots crawl a +'d piece of content within six seconds of the interaction. It's a great metric -- why NOT use it? I think we've been down this road before with Google and how their cover story measures up...

Jacques Bouchard

01/11/2014 07:23 am

Is there any search factor that you can't "buy" improvements for, but with cheap results? Content, links, shares, etc. It's all for sale -- but you won't do it right until you do it well.


01/11/2014 01:31 pm

really? so i guess you are suggesting that is shows promise? :)

Soni Sharma

01/14/2014 02:54 am

I agree with you Jacques...

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