Is there SEO Value in Twitter and Facebook? The SE’s say YES

Recently Google and Bing have confirmed their positions on the use of Twitter and Facebook to impact rankings.  It’s long been suspected by SEO’s that social sites like Twitter and Facebook did have an impact and SEO value but there’s been no real confirmation… until now.

Both Google and Bing note that if an article is retweeted or referenced a great deal in Twitter then it’s considered a signal for greater value.  Bing specifically stated that they look at the social authority of the user in terms of how many they follow, the number of followers, etc.  This adds some weight to their placement in the search results.  More specifically it carries a greater amount of sway within the social search system where tweets from authoritative users flow to the top in terms of best match relevancy.

Google uses it in both organic and news ranking to enhance the content shared.  It helps them determine the relevancy of news content within the system.

For both, there is a strong emphasis on user authority so not every Joe Nobody with a Twitter account is able to influence SEO value with a dozen followers.  As such, the weight of the link is calculated depending on tweets it.  Author Authority, as Google puts it, is completely separate from PageRank but it’s still used in some situations regarding organic search.

So what are the signals that Google and Bing are eyeballing when it comes to social sharing and the authority that is given?

Diversity:

Having 50 tweets pointing to one link, with all of those links coming from one account is like having 50 links coming from one site.  It doesn’t hold the same juice as 50 links coming from 50 unique sites.

Timing:

When a share occurs on the publish of an RSS feed it can be valuable in QDF, but shares and tweets on older content could be more indicative of a longer-lasting interest or intrinsic value that’s worthy of manipulating (not in a naughty way) the search results for a given site.

The Surrounding Content:

The message accompanying the link can provide the engines with info to perceive relevance.  A tweet might be short but there’s surrounding content there.  Surrounding text can even provide the necessary relevance left by a complete lack of anchor text (such as with Twitter).

Level of Engagement:

This relates to the quantity of clicks, likes, retweets, etc.  The overall share; this could certainly impact how much weight is given to a specific link.

While both Google and Bing mention Author Authority and Social Authority respectfully, it takes a bit more to understand what they’re referring to.  Here are a number of things to consider in terms of establish that author or social authority:

  • Quantity of Friends/Followers
  • Quality or Importance of Friends/Followers
  • Analysis of Friend Ratios (If you’re following a 100k people but rarely engaging them the quality of the engagement relationship is likely slim, thus the weight given to links may be lower)
  • Topical Relevance
  • Associates Bias

Whether or not all of these signals are actually used is yet to be determined but Google and Bing are obviously considering various angles on how social interaction on the web changes the value of content.  The most exciting factor to consider with this announcement is that there is a great potential to reduce overall spam and poor quality content on the web (like PLR material).

This is a throwback (throw forward?) to true editorial models.  While a lot of people read and share content that generates manipulative links, many people are less likely to follow someone, interact and share content when that content is considered spammy and not at all authentic.

To Your Success,
Joerg Weishaupt

P.s. Get more information on social media and marketing in my free primer "Building A Successful Marketing Strategy". Sign up for your free copy today.

  • http://twitter.com/Internet_Jnet Jeanette Torres

    I recently started to take Twitter seriously from a business standpoint, I usually work in website development but I’m open to learning other stuff too and oh man Twitter is awesome. I’m reevaluating my career goals and implementing it in a serious way so that it can be used effectively for specific websites to gain web traffic. I’m just amazed and happy to be in this field, I love the article, it’s confirming exactly what I was already starting to piece together based on my “testing twitter use for one month” idea. 

  • http://alexwebmaster.com/ Alex Garrido

    How do you think they can differentiate for associated bias?
    Too many tweets from the account?

About Me

Joerg

Joerg Weishaupt is a 49 year old entrepreneur, software architect, search engine optimization and social media expert. Joerg has been building a lot of profitable Internet businesses since he put his first website online in 1995. He is also one of the founders and partners of Social Media Science LLC, where he launched a content syndication network called SYNND.

Joerg resides in a small, quiet community about 100 miles outside of Munich, Germany. If you ever seek to find him, look for where the cows gather.

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