Today we have a question
from Ryan in Michigan. Ryan asks, “Are
Facebook and Twitter signals part of the
ranking algorithms? How much do they matter?” Interesting question. So let’s try to walk
through this a little bit. Facebook and Twitter
pages are treated like any other pages
in our web index. And 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, oh, 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. Now let me talk a little
bit about why not. We have to crawl
the web in order to find pages on those
two web properties. And we’ve had at
least one experience where we were
blocked from crawling for about a month and a half. And so the idea of doing a lot
of special engineering work to try to extract some
data from web pages when we might get blocked from
being able to crawl those web pages in the future is something
where the engineers would be a little bit leery
about doing that. It’s also tricky because
Google crawls the web. And as we crawl the web
we are sampling the web at finite periods of time. We’re crawling and fetching
a particular web page. And so if we’re fetching
that particular web page, we know what it said
at one point in time, but something on that
page could change. Someone could change the
relationship status or someone could block a follower. And so it would be
a little unfortunate if we tried to extract
some data from the pages that we crawled and
we later on found out that, for example, a wife had
blocked an abusive husband or something like that, and
just because we happened to crawl at the exact moment
when those two profiles were linked, we started to return
pages that we had crawled. So because we’re sampling
an imperfect web, we have to worry a
lot about identity when identity is already hard. And so unless we were
able to get some way to solve that impasse where
we had better information, that’s another reason
why the engineers would be a little bit wary
or a little bit leery of trying to extract data
when that data might change and we wouldn’t know it because
we were only crawling the web. So I’m not saying not to
use Twitter and Facebook. I love to tweet. There’s a ton of people
who get a ton of value from both Facebook and Twitter. And I think that both
of those services represent a fantastic avenue. It’s a way to drive visitors
and traffic to your site. It’s a way to let people know
about news related to you or your company or your website. So I think there are
great ways to build up your personal brand,
but don’t necessarily assume that just because there’s
a signal on Facebook or Twitter that Google is able
to access that. A lot of pages might
be blocked or there might be no follow on links or
something along those lines. It was funny because there
was an SEO that said, OK, we see a lot of
links on Facebook and those are the
pages the rank well. But that’s correlation. That’s not causation. Instead it’s
probably that there’s something really awesome,
and because there’s something awesome, then it
gets a lot of likes on Facebook and a lot of people
decide to link to it. That’s the sort of thing where
the better content you make, the more people are to
like it not only in Google, but in Twitter and
Facebook as well. So as far as your
question, I hope that helps clarify
things a little bit. One thing that I
want to point out is I think over a multi-year,
10 year kind of span, it’s clear to me
that people are going to know more about who’s
actually writing what on the web. It won’t be just
completely anonymous. There will hopefully
be still options for people to post anonymously,
but if Danny Sullivan posts something on a forum, I want
to know about that whether he posts on a well known forum
or a forum that nobody’s ever heard of. And I think over 10
years, we’re more likely to understand
identity and to understand the social connections
between people. But at least for the time being,
we have to deal with the web as it is and what we
are allowed to crawl and what we can easily
extract from that and count on being able
to access in the future. So I hope that gives a little
bit more context on the answer to your question.

73 thoughts on “Are pages from social media sites ranked differently?”

  1. Sure and I wish wel see more G+ links in the future. No more spammy links from facebook which is 50% of the time are not useful. It is there because of that Correlation not the causation thing 🙂 [Algorithm] 

  2. What? You said 3 years ago that social signals do impact rankings: Does Google use data from social sites in ranking?

  3. You might say that Google Reviews is also a 'quasi social' site… that 'real' or 'honest' reviews should impart strong 'reputation' signals. However having analyzed website+ reviews of my own site and client customers websites; this does not seem to be the case. In fact it has little if any impact at all which does not make much sense. 

  4. I doubt that something like that would behoove anyone's ranking or otherwise, and it sounds like to do so would be more trouble than it's worth.  (Interesting question.)  🙂

  5. Now is the time to think about a lifetime online and all the implications. Nothing anonymous for what good or bad that means. And Facebook and Twitter signals don't matter. G+ matters!

  6. At every turn we are being told to think and create good content that people will find useful. I say hallelujah! So sick of the garbage being published that is so called "SEO content". Call it what it is. Garbage.

  7. I don't think the amount of Facebook Fans should be a ranking signal because I can just buy my fans through Facebook Ads. Same with Twitter. But you can't buy followers on Google Plus, at least not yet.

  8. Interesting – does this mean that Google is not looking at Klout or Peer Index or similar APIs for real time authorship, social graph and influence ranking? I had it mind they would buy Klout! LOL. 

  9. By watching this video, it has to be said that there is no impact of any social signal in the ranking. If this is true then why Google is integrating their Google+ to their different products, Youtube, Adwords etc.

  10. I think a lot of people are missing something important about this video, perhaps Google don't crawl FB & Twitter and use social signals as such but a good social media profile will result in more visitors to your site; SPAM/bought for followers aside, if they follow you they obviously like you, bounce rates will be reduced, your content will be shared and they should spend time actually reading what you have written. These are all signals that we know Google DO like.

    So from an algorithm point of view maybe they don't currently matter at all but as your social circles grow, your content, if good enough, should get shared more, resulting in more visitors, possibly links, you being talked about and hopefully you become increasingly more trustworthy as a publisher. Being an authority in a subject is always positive.

  11. Matt does not answer the title question (Are pages from social media sites ranked differently?) in this video. He answers a different question; “Are Facebook and Twitter signals part of the ranking algorithm? How much do they matter?”

  12. Seeing lots of people's comments below taking a little of what Matt said out of context. Matt directly reference the number of Likes on Facebook and the number of Followers on Twitter. What he wasn't specific in answering was about the content you send out specifically. These pages, pieces of content, he says are still indexed. Social signals help to show the correlation of great content online with people engaging with it. The Question was about signals not the number of followers or likes on these platforms. Was there a choice to avoid the direct question?

  13. I don't get, I've seen a rapport that shows that Google does count the sum off facebook likes, shares and comments in order to determine Domain Authority, Domain Trust and MozRank. But if I understand Matt correctly he is saying the opposite is true. 

  14. I'd love to hear how they classify LinkedIn and Google+ in the equation. I'll dig to see if they talk about Google + already. 

  15. If you believe this, I've got some oceanfront property in Tennessee that I'd like to sell you real cheap. Of course Google is using social signals in their algos, its even tracked in Google Analytics. And of course it also depends on how active the social media page is (aka clout)… meaning how many followers/friends, likes, views and so fourth. Usually Cutts is better at skirting around questions that he doesn't want to answer but this was dirty deception.

  16. Thanks Matt, I also got an idea for your team, simply de-index FaceBook from Google web search in it's entirety and you will be doing a favor for humanity 😉

  17. Facebook and Twitter signals seem to help with the recovery process of websites that have been "slapped" by Google… ??

  18. Here are some great thoughts about using social media as a distribution model and not just about gaining followers.

  19. What i have understand behind this message – Go for White Hat strategy if you are building a site that resembles you. Period.
    By engaging in FB, twitter or other social media platforms, you are recognised for being a specialised in your own industry. When you have the social interaction and people like your service, they will naturally link to you in the form of forums, social bookmarks or articles. That is what Mat and his team would like to see and this will never change. A natural form of link building through the process of social interaction. With these links, your site will be ranked differently. That being said, quality link building remains the indisputable ways in ranking a site.

  20. Interesting – I remember this being discussed a few months ago & it being said that social signals were massively important in website ranking. I suppose what he's saying is it's not a direct correlation between 'likes', 'follows' & Google ranking.

    What about Google +? I'm guessing that possesses more impact on a sites ranking?  

  21. What's important to distinguish is the difference between inbound link counts from posts and shares versus their "signal" metadata, Likes, Comments, Page Likes etc. Facebook has a treasure trove of metrics, but on a practical level, what can a crawler do about it? So what Matt Cutts is saying is that a page with few fans sharing a large amount of inbound links has a greater impact to a page with a lot of fans sharing a small number of inbound links. 

    But that begs the question: Will a large number of inbound links from a single site be looked at as suspicious? #google #SEO #socialsignals

  22. Something awesome (typically) = lots of FB likes / shares but also lots of back links (from FB and other sites). My interpretation is that 1) Google can only index some FB links to begin with, so they don't rely heavily on it and 2) traditional back links still matter more than "social signals" but social can definitely help content gain traction outside of the social platform, thereby also gaining in SERP as well. Hence correlation vs. causation.

  23. So many seo's claimed social signals were a big part of ranking, now I wonder what else they got wrong?  Really have to do you're own research and rely on your own results.

  24. Summary: use social to be awesome. By being awesome, you can expect other awesome side effects.  Rankings may correlate with your social awesomeness, but not be caused directly by it.

  25. I've often wondered when Google was going to wake up and see the monster they have created in all the people gaming the system with social to get better rankings but it seems it wasn't Google at all.  Just more SEO myths.

  26. It's funny because Google said they don't show likes and followers from Social Networks but certainly shows how many people in in your @Google+ Circles

  27. Not sure if your #social #media activities are picked up during #searches ? Check out this video to know what how #Facebook  and #Twitter   signals are treated by @Google. Are pages from social media sites ranked differently?

  28.  Interesting facts which shows the importance of crawl and access as different thing very important. Social signals according to Matt are no a ranking factor or algorithm. Crawling now and being able to be crawled in the future is the…. Core!!

  29. Realmente no dice si influyen o no influyen en los rankings… Como no lo aclara seguramente influyen de alguna manera

  30. What signals does Google use in their current algorithm to rank individual Facebook pages and Twitter accounts?

  31. I feel like you really have to "read between the lines" on Matt Cutts' videos. He does not answer whether or not if content shares, tweets and retweets are measured in Google's Alg.

  32. This is a "signal" showing that authority (related to GPlus, AuthorRank, authorship markup) now matters, a lot.

  33. In 2010 May : "We don't care about Facebook and Twitter"
    In 2010 Dec : "Yes, We do care about Facebook and Twitter"
    In 2014 Jan : "We don't care about Facebook and Twitter"
    We know Matt, Your hands are tight. Why don't you just say. "2011 June We Launched Google Plus" 🙂

    I also write an article about "Google's double headed policy on Social Signals to promote Google Plus"

    Nothing personal Matt, We need to give some answers to our SEO clients, after they spend $$$ on Facebook and Twitter.

  34. Google (per Matt) have more recently changed their position on this. But I think he's partly missing the point. It's not about likes and followers, it's about shares and tweets – real, measurable human behavior ranking something they collectively find "awesome" – across ALL social channels (there are 13 social icons right above this comment – and YouTube is a Google property).
    Indeed, Google upranks that activity!

  35. This is an interesting one. Social media is only going to become a bigger player as time goes on. We might see fluctuations in the popularity of different social networks and we might also see some new ones pop up, but social isn't going anywhere for a looooong time. It will be interesting to see how Google reacts to future social changes, especially as it relates to privacy.

  36. Referencing the article on "Matt Cutts: Facebook, Twitter Social Signals Not Part of #GoogleSearchRankingAlgorithms    " – by Jennifer Slegg, January 28, 2014
    http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2325343/Matt-Cutts-Facebook-Twitter-Social-Signals-Not-Part-of-Google-Search-Ranking-Algorithms
    .   . where Matt Cutts and Eric Enge found in a study that Facebook likes and shares don't impact @Google  search rankings.  
    @Google Webmasters  #algorithm  

    @Matt Cutts  states:  quote "Looking forward about 10 years, Cutts said how Google treats #socialsignals   might change . . I think over 10 years, we're more likely to understand identity and to understand the social connections between people, but at least for the time being, we have to deal with the web as it is and what we are allowed to crawl and what we can easily extract from that and count on being able to access that in the future. So as of now, Google doesn't seem to be using Facebook and Twitter social signals when it comes to ranking. However, there are obviously still plenty of benefits and marketers shouldn't cease those benefits simply because there doesn't seem to be direct relation between those two social media platforms and Google ranking." end quote
    http://youtu.be/udqtSM-6QbQ

  37. Google track Facebook and Twitter like any other page and don't pick up on signals such as like counts or follower counts. #SEO #SocialMedia

  38. Thanks for the video but now i am so confuse  few days back i saw a video in which you said twitter and Facebook is ranking factors i lost the link of that video.please if you get time reply

  39. Hi matt I got what you are trying to explain. as you said  social network websites aren't crawled or indexed different from any other website and also the problem you  face but if I talk about some website and they are trying to build good reputation in social media as you told in last video (we are also trying to figure out a little bit about  the reputation) then how you will figure out about reputation of an author or website.

  40. Come on level with us, Matt. Clearly, big G is taking social signals more into account than you have let on here. Perhaps, in 2015 G is looking at social signals as part of the algo. I have seen them rank sites without any backlinks pointed at them. Gimme a break!

  41. "To the best of my knowledge, we don't currently have signals like that in our web search ranking algorithms"…. That statement is a little weak for me.

  42. Social Signals are not that important from SEO, but links from Social Media Sites have some real high authority so it wouldn't be too much technically incorrect to say that 'Social Signals do matter' :).

  43. Hi Matt,

    In early 2014 they opened up enough to admit that social signals are NOT an active part of their ranking algorithms. Which was the complete opposite of what Google said in 2010. What gives?

    We all definitely know social is a large part of most digital marketing efforts. And, social has the power to drive traffic, both organically and via paid channels.
    Source :
    https://www.searchenginejournal.com/social-signals-affect-seo/135956/
    https://moz.com/blog/your-guide-to-social-signals-for-seo
    http://www.manojblogszone.com/social-media/search-engine-changes-we-can-expect-in-2015/

    Its really disappointing for all of us specially who put lot of efforts in selling content. Earlier it was said social signal is going to boost content ranking i.e. if the content, having social sharing buttons get more hits , shares this means people is liking that particular content and hence Google starts giving it more priority.
    Now with current status its really disappointment.
    First Google+ got is no more visible and now social signal is valueless.

    Hope Google start adding social signal as part of ranking otherwise people start killing social sources that were generating signals.

    Manoj Kumar Sethi
    Owner of www.manojblogszone.com
    Digital Marketer

  44. Oevae has been using both Facebook and Twitter in a very unique way to help consumers find our clients… much more than posting "trending" topics but using stats from both to groom customer relationships.

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