“An awesome piece of content doesn’t rank well because it has a lot of Facebook likes, it ranks well because it’s awesome, and in turn it gets shared on Facebook a lot because it’s awesome.”
This is what Matt Cutts said in a video he uploaded on 22 January 2014, and he added that social media shares don’t have any SEO value. You can read this post here.
Now Let’s go back in time to 2010, when Matt Cutts said:
“I filmed a video back in May 2010 where I said that we didn’t use “social” as a signal, and at the time, we did not use that as a signal, but now, we’re taping this in December 2010, and we are using that as a signal.”
So things may seem a little confusing. Ok, let me show a few more statements from several other experts:
“According to Sam McRoberts, CEO of Vudu Marketing, the number of reviews and the positivity of those reviews are two of the three biggest factors in local search rankings (primarily Google places listing). If that’s the case, then it’s not a stretch to believe that Google uses that information in its national rankings as well.”
Lets Move on Next Part
Danny Sullivan to Google and Bing
Q: Do you calculate whether a link should carry more weight depending on the person who tweets it?
Yes we do use this as a signal, especially in the “Top links” section [of Google Realtime Search]. Author authority is independent of Page Rank, but it is currently only used in limited situations in ordinary web search.
So It can be said that yes, both search engines have some connection with those social shares and engagement, but it is not clear whether that directly affects any Ranking Factors.
Google and Bing both can crawl only the facebook stories that are posted as public. This is what Google says when Danny Sullivan asked about it:
Do you track links shared within Facebook, either through personal walls or fan pages?
Ans from Google: We treat links shared on Facebook fan pages the same as we treat tweeted links. We have no personal wall data from Facebook.
Now let us move on to other parts
In 2012, I can still remember reading a blog post from Neil Patel where he showed the connection between Google rankings and the tweets a post has.
Here is a data Neil Patel provided in his kissmetrics blog post A Neil Patel SEO Recipe.
Now if we go with Matt Cutts’ statement then it can be debatable whether the post has such a high amount of tweets because it ranks on first page. Similarly, it is debatable whether it ranks on the first page because it has such amount of tweets. This scenario reminds me of the question “Who came first, the chicken or the egg?”
Ok leave this part unsolved for now and let me show you how Social Shares and Engagements can help you on some Google factors.
Different Search Result for Login and Logged Out User:
Google Plus is the Second Largest Social Networking Site in the world. However, it is more like a social layer than a social networking site. In fact, it is more of an authorship tool. Google plus has almost everything a social networking site has but that is not at all. It has a good connection with Google search results. If you are a regular Google plus user, then staying logged in to your account may have some great benefits. For instance, if you have +1 on any of your posts, or you are following any pages and communities, or any of the members of your circle is sharing any content or writing a post on Google plus, then it can be visible on Google’s search result if you stay sign in to Google plus or Gmail while you are searching.
Google Plus Post Result on Search Engine
Can you imagine your Google plus post, or a post from your brand page appearing on top of a Google search result page? Yes it happens, and this is one of the reasons why Google plus is getting so much attention from all kinds of professionals.
We all know that dofollow links are those links that passes SEO juice. Have you ever checked on whether the link you share on Google plus is dofollow or nofollow? It is dofollow. Therefore, it can be a strong point to believe that Google gives SEO priority to Google Plus Shares. Nonetheless, it is still unclear whether the same happens for other social media sites.
Ensure Repeated Visitor
Do you just create one post/ one product for your customers? The customers who bought a camera from you can buy other similar or different products from you. Thus, to sell more you need to create a good rapport with your customers for repeated sales or visits.
At the time I am writing this post (14th February, 2014), Search Engine Journal has published 5 blog posts on their blog. The seed topics were SEO, Facebook, Google, and a couple more. I read three of them yet I was not searching for any post or information related to their posts. I got those posts on my Google plus and Facebook feeds and I found them interesting and useful and read them. Therefore, from their point of view, I was their repeat visitor and one fantastic way of attracting repeat visitors is by strategically using social shares. Hence, this is one area where you can have an advantage and attract repeated crowds to your website as well gain more authority. More authority means greater possibilities of gaining search engine advantages.
Reduce Bounce Rate
Before 2013, people had no way of thinking about website bounce rates in term of SEO. Now, bounce rates is a major issues. Still, there is no clear evidence about any direct connection between bounce rate and search engine ranks, but most SEO professionals believe that bounce rate is important for SEO ranks. Google always points out that you need to create valuable content so you can fulfill the needs of your visitor. Moreover, if you can create valuable content then you can expect repeated visitors.
Therefore, we can say repeated visitors are those visitors who like your site and content and they come to your site more than your new visitors do. They love to read more posts or also love to engage with you. Thus, all of these things will increase your site visit time, will increase quantity of visitors to that page, and will reduce the bounce rate. Hence, bounce rate can be one of the signals of your visitors’ satisfaction.
So as I mention that Social Shares can help you to get repeated visitors and you can expect less bounce rates from such traffic.
Increase Brand Visibility and Cocitation
When I am talking about Cocitation the biggest example I should give is Open Site Explorer. One of the keyword it has ranked is Link Analysis Software. Yet the phrase appears nowhere in the website and even if you do a backlink analysis, you will not get enough anchortext with the phrase. Nevertheless, it still ranks number 1 for this keyword. This happens due to the power of cocitation. (The words present around the anchortext).
Rand Fishkin created an awesome video about cocitation which you can view to get a better idea about what it is and how it works.
Therefore, by being more active on social media or by getting more social media shares we can say that it will increase your brand visibility and also cocitation which may affect your Google ranking.
There are lots more advantages you can get if your site has good social shares but I am not going to write about that for this post. I simply wanted to point out those advantages that directly affect your SEO strategy. The lessons I have learnt are that:
- Google doesn’t directly calculate the social signals for SEO ranking but still it has big influence on SEO
- Google plus Shares has some direct influence on SEO ranking.
- Social Shares may give some signal to Google especially for local search results.
- Google Places Reviews has great influence on Google Local Search Result.
- Google Can Only Access information shared as public.
- Finally, I have not written anything about Google authorship, but Google will give credit on any topic by seeing who is sharing the content.
If you feel that I have missed some part or if you have a different view than mine then it will be great to discuss it through the comment section.