Social Signals and Search Engine Optimization

May 22, 2012 (1VIZABILITY.COM - Google News, SEO News, Web News)

How Much Relevance Social Signals Contribute to Web Search Ranking?

The incorporation of social signals (in ranking algorithms) to help search engines better understand traffic behavior is not something new to us.  Search giants like Google and Bing have already revealed to the public that they use social signals from famous social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter to determine the relevance of a certain webpage.

Though no one except Google (for Google Search) really knows the complete formula in ranking websites, there are basic factors Google has revealed on how they rank content and one of this factors is (as mentioned) through the use of social signals.  But, though we already knew about the use of social signals, we are not really sure how much relevance these signals contribute to web search rankings.  Good news is, either with or without clear relevance, most SEO Services nowadays already incorporate social media optimization in their basic packages.

What are Social Signals?

For those who are still neophytes in the internet marketing industry, social signals are mainly social media activities or actions done by users interacting in social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and now Pinterest.  These actions mainly include the sharing of contents, clicking the link of that shared or retweeted content and visiting the webpage from that link, tweeting, retweeting and sharing, resharing, liking and favoriting, pinning and repining (for Pinterest), pressing the plus 1 (Google+) button to recommend a content, and a lot more human foot prints that serve as evidences on how valuable a content is.

 Relevance of Social Signals to Web Search Ranking

Social Signals are both used by Google and Bing in Social Search Ranking by incorporating social tools that can be used by their users in searching relevant information that are famous in the social media circle.  Google has Social Search Results and Bing has Facebook Liked Results.  These signals are used in Social Search Ranking Tools: for Google’s Realtime Search and for Bing’s Social Search.  Unfortunately, the results displayed from these social tools are way different from the normal web queries most online searchers do.  This makes most search marketers question how much really is the relevance of social signals (if there is) to web search ranking.

In the first quarter of this year (specifically in the month of March), Google released the 50 major search algorithm changes they have implemented.  Among the important algorithm tweaks they did include the improvement in indexing public profile pages from more than 200 social media websites.  They also made the +1 button available in many more languages.  Since these two major tweaks affect normal web search ranking, then it is obvious now that social signals really have relevance when it comes to affecting web search rankings.

The question now is, how much?  Well, only Google knows the exact measurement or calculation.  The important thing is that we are informed that social signals definitely are important in ranking websites.

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Qamar Zaman
Chief Visionary at One SEO Company. An Internet Entrepreneur SEO & lawyer Internet marketing professional & Starbucks Lover.
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