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Do Social Signals Affect Your Google Ranking?

15 phút
Written by
8 Nov 2022

As social media platforms become increasingly popular, people wonder if engagement on these networks can help improve their visibility in Google search results.

So, let’s take a look at social signals and shares as ranking factors to see if they have any effect on search rankings.

Are Social Signals A Ranking Factor?

Social signals are when social media users interact or engage with the content you have shared from your website. This interaction can be in the form of a like, comment, share, or view.

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Are Social Signals A Ranking Factor? Question from Semrush's tweet
Are Social Signals A Ranking Factor? Question from Semrush’s tweet
(Source: Internet)

Social signals are a crucial part of any digital marketing strategy. Here are some examples of social signals:

  • When someone shares a link to one of your pages on Facebook, it’s a valuable social signal. Not only does it show that they found your content worthwhile, but the engagement (likes, comments, shares) that the post generates can help boost your page’s visibility.
  • Similarly, when someone tweets a link to one of your pages, it helps get your content in front of a wider audience. The replies, likes, and retweets that the tweet generates can also help boost your twitter’s visibility.

The Evidence Shows that Social Signals are A Ranking Factor

Google does care about social media to some extent. In the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide, Google admits that interesting content gets shared, and organic buzz will improve your website’s reputation.

“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here. Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means.

Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.”

After that, when referring to website promotion, Google suggests that you show know about social media sites because:

“Sites built around user interaction and sharing have made it easier to match interested groups of people up with relevant content.”

Inside Google Analytics, there is a section for Social reports. According to analytics, Google states:

“Social analytics provides you with the tools to measure the impact of social. You can identify high-value networks and content, track on-site and off-site user interaction with your content, and tie it all back to your bottom line revenue through goals and conversions.”

Google Business Profiles pulls together information from a variety of sources, including social media profiles, to give potential customers a fuller picture of the local business.

While Google does place importance on social profiles for Knowledge Graph panels, this doesn’t mean that social signals can directly lead to improved rankings. If you’re looking to update your information on Google, be sure to check their advice page.

In 2010, they posed a question to Matt Cutts, former head of the Webspam team, asking how Google rates links from popular sites such as Twitter and Facebook when linking to a new website. He responded that regardless of the source site (.gov, .edu, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), Google treats all links the same.

"How do you rate links from sites like Twitter and Facebook?" - Video from Google Search Central
“How do you rate links from sites like Twitter and Facebook?” – Video from Google Search Central
(Source: Internet)

Later, when someone asked Cutts in 2014 if Facebook and Twitter signals are part of Google’s algorithm, he responded that Google does not include signals such as the number of followers or likes in the algorithm. This means that you shouldn’t assume that simply just because a signal exists on Twitter or Facebook, Google will also pick it up.

The Evidence shows that Social Signals are NOT a Ranking Factor

A few months later, Cutts answered a question:

“As Google continues to add social signals to the algorithm, how do you separate simple popularity from true authority?”

Answer from Cutts - Google Search Central
Answer from Cutts – Google Search Central (Source: Internet)

In his response, he says that there is an “assumption” in the first part of his question, which adds social signals to the algorithm. He then goes on to dismiss this assumption.

In 2015, John Mueller, a search advocate at Google, said that social signals do not directly help in organic rankings but clarified that the social posts that link to your website could appear in search results. He went on to say that links in most social posts are nofollowed, which means they won’t help with organic rankings.

In August 2021, Mueller was asked if clicks via emails could have an effect on rankings. He replied:

“No effect on SEO. Like ads and social media. It’s good to have multiple separate sources of traffic to your website, and not everything needs to have an SEO effect.”

Tweet reply from Mueller
Tweet reply from Mueller (Source: Internet)

A few months later, Mueller was asked if social media had any direct or indirect impact on SEO ranking. He answered:

“If I give you advice on Twitter, which helps improve your website’s visibility in search, would that be an indirect effect of social signals on SEO?”

Tweet answer from Mueller
Tweet answer from Mueller (Source: Internet)

The Final Verdict of Social Signals

Well, the answer is that social signals are definitely NOT a Google ranking factor! 

There’s some confusion about whether social signals affect organic search rankings. Google may have experimented with social signals in search results between 2010 and 2014.

Moreover, social media can actually help your SEO efforts in several ways. Even though social signals aren’t currently a ranking factor, social profiles and links can influence how your brand appears in search results.

Before you go

People often believe that social signals are a ranking factor, but that’s not the case. In the past, Google may have used social signals to create better user results. However, it now looks like social signals are a thing of Google’s history.

So, if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us anytime at EverRanks. Thank you for reading and we are always excited by the feedback we receive from our readers.

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