Poll: Do Social Signals Influence Google Rankings?

Dec 5, 2012 • 8:28 am | comments (19) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Google + ButtonA WebmasterWorld thread has SEOs and Webmasters debating if social signals have any role in the Google rankings.

Of course, we know when you are logged in, social factors can come into play in how you see search results. That we know.

But on a purely organic ranking level, do social signals have any or a limited influence on Google's search rankings?

Matt Cutts told us about five months ago that links are still more powerful than social signals and he downplayed how important social factors are at Google right now. Will that change? I believe so. When is the more important question.

But for now, do social factors influence organic Google search rankings? Take my poll:

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: December 4, 2012
 

Comments:

Praveen Sharma

12/05/2012 01:43 pm

Only a little. Didn't saw any website getting huge benefits from social signals yet.

Santa

12/05/2012 01:55 pm

Only +1 does. In fact, it's the only one that shows up on Google's search results so it's the only one that has a DIRECT impact on ranking.

bradkrussell

12/05/2012 02:04 pm

If they aren't playing a huge part in Google's algorithm now, they certainly will in the future. Those that don't have a social media presence will be left behind IMO!

Ray

12/05/2012 02:04 pm

I think the biggest benefit of social signals and social media in general is the additional point of presence. Its an interactive directory that ranks.

Yakezie

12/05/2012 02:09 pm

I hope not. Endless time sink.

Lee Smallwood

12/05/2012 02:20 pm

I'm seeing significant rank increases using social signals - independently of traditional SEO. It's not an 'across board' observation - certain sectors are only seeing a small increase through SMM - but the signs are there

Daniel Carlyon

12/05/2012 02:44 pm

I think, now, more than any other time it matters. Brand building is becoming such a huge factor.

Lyndon NA

12/05/2012 03:34 pm

It depends on the definitions. What is a social signal? Are we talking things like plus1 and likes, or sentiment, or reference/cite/mentions, or circle/follower counts, or the number of profiles, the amount of activity, the frequency of acticity, the subject/topic of posts etc.??? Ranking influnce? Are we talking direct or indirect? Personal or Neutral? Freshness/Trending, or short term or long term? Are we talking local or national or international? I see many "SEO Pros" pointing to the power of things like G+, and ignoring that it only works that way for those logged in with SPYW enabled. Though I see plenty of correlations between things like pluses and likes to rankings - I'm just about cnovinced it's inverse ... popular means there are more likely to be links, than it being Pluses or Likes themselves. G have stated (numerous times) in the past that things like +s etc. are not influencing the SERPs. That may have changed - but if it has, it is likely tiny and indirect. Instead, Social Signals are likely still be used to verify/support other factors ... such as link acquisition, trust and subject authority. I don't see getting 1000 +'s or likes pushing you up the rankings. I do see the same 1k resulting in more links, more mentions, and G taking that as aa signal to adda little more weight to the links/relevancy (they can trust it more than the same number of links without the SS being present).

Daniel Carlyon

12/05/2012 04:04 pm

One other thing i would like to know, although probably depends on the niche, is which social signals influences the most. Google+? because it belongs to google, twitter? the short and snappy pull you in with curiosity or facebook? the huge network of brands and people.

Susanta Srichandan

12/05/2012 06:32 pm

Yes, Social signals the best part of Google rankings, such as Your brand building or popularity to create on world internet market.

Adam Lundquist

12/05/2012 06:56 pm

They will absolutely play a role in the future of search. They will be more and more important.

Josh

12/05/2012 07:40 pm

They play a role as an overall link profile - helping dilute any unnatural link profile. I think the link by its self will not do much; however, spread over various outlets and combined with a link profile it can help a website link profile look more natural. I don't believe there's a direct correlation though.

Sanjay Yadav

12/05/2012 07:46 pm

But I get it.

Alex Pyatetsky

12/06/2012 12:11 am

I respect everyone here and their opinions. That said, I was really surprised how this poll was framed and introduced. "Will that change? I believe so. When is the more important question." SER is a leading voice on SEO to many of its readers. A statement like that is going to dramatically impact poll results. Like I said, I mean no disrespect. I'm just speaking in the name of sound polling/observational methods.

Sunil Singh

12/06/2012 07:55 am

This is just starting of the new trends... Social Signals gonna show huge influences in the future searches...!!

Nikhil Raj. R

12/06/2012 10:55 am

Social shares may be counted as backlinks..! I read this back in February 2011 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/tweets-effect-rankings-unexpected-case-study

DaveKeys

12/06/2012 05:20 pm

I think that this social signals are scored on a more complex formula that involves real engagement- the kind of engagement that would create website engagement behavior on its own anyway but social signals help validate that- probably in a more pessimistic sense, eliminating fake social engagement by validating authorship, etc. of real people involved in that engagement.

Rajen

12/09/2012 08:49 am

Humor intended.

Terry Van Horne

12/12/2012 03:43 pm

If Social is used at all... it is reflected in visibility...SEO should use visibility rather than links and rankings as metrics for measuring campaign sucess. I would say conversions but often SEO's do not have control over "the sale" process so it is only their job to deliver traffic. A lot of links are just ignored by Google.Since we do not know which we can't assume that all links are created equal... even those with apparently the same TBPR ... one could be ignored for reasons not apparent by just looking at SEO metrics of the page.

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