What About The Proof That Google Uses Social Signals As A Ranking Factor?

correlationIn Matt Cutts video, he raises a point about the correlation between ranking and social signals. He is saying that web pages that are ranking high in Google often have a lot of Facebook likes, shares, Tweets etc, and his comment to that is that it is “correlation” and not “causation”.

In other words, the social signals are likely to be there because the content is great, and not that the web page is ranking as a result of the quantity of social signals.

It is interesting in the video that Matt talks about Twitter and Facebook and categorically states that Google does not use social signals from Twitter or Facebook as a ranking factor (he actually means that they don’t factor these “social signals” under its social signal algorithm that it currently analyses G+ with, but notice that he does not include Google+ in his statement, and you can be certain that his omission was a deliberate one.

Now that video was made about 1 year ago, and as I have already said, Google is making it quite clear that social signals are in fact playing and going to play a key role as a ranking factor now that G+ is in full operation and Twitter is about to follow as part of Google’s integrated algorithm process.

Authorship – Google’s Future


Google Authorship is not new, and has been around pretty much since the launch of G+. The purpose of Google Authorship is for Google to gather author identity.

Matt Cutts covers the purpose of Authorship in the above video and the reason behind it. He also provides us with a bit of insight in how Google are going to fashion their search engine in the years to come, and Google+ and Authorship are going to be a key aspect, because Google will certainly be adding weight and power to content that comes from popular authors.

It is all about expert status, and Google can determine expert status through G+ with its Authorship side of G+. Google wants to move right away from anonymous content, and the importance of Google+ and content Authorship will become more and more important in the SERPS.


Ok, let’s recap for a minute. We have looked at what social signals are, or rather, what the industry means when they talk about social signals, and these are namely: –


  • Likes
  • Shares
  • comments


  • Tweets
  • ReTweets


  • +1’s
  • Shares
  • Comments

There are other “social signals” such as Pinterest, Linkedin etc, but really, other than the fact that Google may crawl their pages and pick up a link pointing to your site, they do not factor in anything “special” to do with ranking, as neither does Facebook and Twitter (although Twitter will very soon as I have already said).

We have looked at how Google has battled over the years with social signals, and how it has emerged with a strong social arsenal to analyze and code a highly accurate and informed algorithm that does actually factor social signals as a ranking factor.

We have also looked at how the SEO industry is slightly off track (misinformed) and out of date with its view of social signals, and in the main, completely missing the mark with the “real signals” that are available and in full scale operation from Google in the form of Google+.

Next time, we’ll talk about the important distinction between social signals and social bookmarks.  They are not the same, and one of them can damage your rankings greatly if not used with care…

John and Chris

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