How Important Are Social Signals To Your Rankings?

The role that social signals play in Google ranking algorithms is a hotly debated topic within the SEO industry with many different people holding differing views. It is clear that social signals play some part in deciding the rankings of a website in Google as Matt Cutts himself has confirmed but just how much influence they have is still unknown. Therefore, this article isn’t going to reveal any game changing revelations but instead I will aim to look at how social signals may be measured by Google and how important it is to be socially active in 2013.

Which Network Is Most Important?

A common question that many people ask when thinking about the use of social signals as ranking factors is which social network should I be using? Well the answer is as many as you can as Google seem to take into account Facebook likes, shares and comments as well as Twitter followers, tweets and retweets. You shouldn’t forget to be as active as possible on Google + as well, after all it’s Google’s own baby so they’re bound to be monitoring our activity on there.

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What Is It They’re Looking For?

It’s all well and good that Google are using social signals as a ranking factor but what is it that they’re actually looking for? If you have taken notice of the not so subtle hints that Google have been issuing with the Penguin and Panda updates you will be aware that Google places a lot of importance on high quality content and trustworthy authorship. Basically they want websites that are authorities in their field to be at the top of the rankings with the authors of their content being a trusted source. Therefore it’s more than likely that they are looking for the same thing from your social networking activities, they want to reward the most influential players within a giving industry so if lots of people are liking/following/circling you and sharing your information or content then Google will count them as a vote of confidence for your site and you as an author.

What’s The Future For Social Signals?

It is becoming more and more apparent that social networking is only going to become more important in terms of SEO in 2013 and beyond. Many people believe that likes (or their equivalent on other networks) are becoming the new links. The importance of links as a ranking factor may never totally end but it seems likely to diminish as the world now places more importance on the recommendation of their friends on social media sites than searching Google for them.

Whatever your opinion is on the importance of social signals as a ranking factor it’s clear that they do have a role to play and it looks likely that this role is set to get bigger so if you don’t have much of a social media marketing strategy in place you might want to get one asap.

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Written By Stuart Cooke

Stuart Cooke is a freelance SEO Consultant. His site pinnacleseo.co.uk helps business plan an affective social media strategy.

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3 thoughts on “How Important Are Social Signals To Your Rankings?
  1. avatarbsge11

    I plan to use Google plus for marketing. I hear it is really effective and fast. Tweets from twitter for certain niches would appear on google’s first page, now it’s Google plus.


  2. avatarSandy Halliday

    So many marketers are jumping on the social signals bandwagon now with their automated software that there is a danger that Google will see this as spammy and unnatural.

    I would not be surprised to see a future update discount social signals.

    Still best to diversify all your links and not rely on too much automation.


  3. avatarStacie Walker

    Hello Stuart,

    This is an interesting article. I believe that social media will eventually hurt search engine rankings for those not adding true value and just want a quick buck. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future. Keep up the excellent work.

    To Your Leadership,
    Stacie Walker



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