In recent years there has been much speculation about whether social signals from Twitter and Facebook are factor into Google search algorithm or not. Some SEO experts look at social in first place for traffic, awareness or other indirect benefits. Nevertheless there are some professionals that focus on social media for the rankings potential.
Google’s stance on social media influence
In May 2010, Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam team, explained that the algorithm does not use social signals as a factor in google search results.Then, only 6 months later, i Cutts revealed that their algorithm does use social signals.
In his latest webmaster help video from January 2014, Cutts stated:
Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it, then we can return that in our search results. But as far as doing special specific work to sort of say “you have this many followers on Twitter or this many likes on Facebook”, to the best of my knowledge we don’t currently have any signals like that in our web search ranking algorithms.
Should we then stop using Facebook or Twitter with SEO purpose? Of course not. Cutts pointed out that there is a lot of value in both social networks.
So I’m not saying not to use Twitter or Facebook, I love to tweet, there’s a ton of people who get a ton of value from both Facebook and Twitter… But don’t necessarily assume that just because there is a signal on Facebook or Twitter that Google is able to access that. A lot of pages might be blocked or there might be nofollow on links or something along those lines.
Social is a search engine too
Visitors who find the company on it’s social platforms like Facebook or Twitter are searching, accessing, and interacting with the company in a real way. So that’s why social signals are still important to SEO. All big social platforms (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Google +) have their own search algorithm. And if the size of your social empire is irrelevant then is at least your social presence a very relevant when it comes to search. Cutts’ video on the role of social media in SEO also suggests that future search results may provide tighter integration with social results.
So, as we move forward in the new SEO era of social, the conclusion is to stay active on the social networks. Remain plugged into this resources and of course curate them, improve them and enhance them.