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Google & Bing Are Looking at Links on Twitter & Facebook for Organic Ranking

Links Shared in Social Media Matter in Search (Despite Nofllow)

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Search and social go well together, and the search engines are finding more and more ways to use them together. In fact, the right combinations of these two elements could eventually dictate who has the most useful tools for users. 

It’s become more and more clear over time that having a strong social presence is helpful in building a strong search presence for a variety of reasons, but it’s not been so clear, just how the search engines have looked at things like Twitter and Facebook profiles when it comes to organic search ranking. 

Should social media be considered in search ranking? Tell us what you think. 

Search Engine Land Chief Danny Sullivan posted an important article about this very topic, with some rare and surprisingly direct answers from both Google and Bing. While, neither exactly gave away their respective secret sauces, it would appear that they have set some things straight. 

Google

Google reportedly uses when an article is retweeted or referenced in Twitter as a signal in organic and news rankings (even though links on Twitter are nofollowed). They also use it to enhance the news universal results (based on how many people share an article). 

Google "computes and uses author quality" for when someone tweets. When Sullivan asked if they calculate whether a link should carry more weight depending on who tweets it, Google Responded, "Yes we do use this as a signal, especially in the ‘Top links’ section [of Google Realtime Search]. Author authority is independent of PageRank, but it is currently only used in limited situations in ordinary web search."

Google says it treats links shared on Facebook Fan pages the same way as tweeted links, but they have no personal Facebook wall data. Authority for Facebook Pages is also treated like Twitter. 

So, the more authoritative the crowd sharing links to your content, the better. Not that different than PageRank. 

Bing

When it comes to Twitter, Bing tells Sullivan it also looks at social authority of users and more specifically, looks at how many people they follow and how many follow them, adding that this can add "a little weight" to a listing in regular search results (though it carries more in Bing’s separate Social Search). Bing decides when links should carry more weight based on the person who tweets it. 

As far as Facebook, Bing currently looks at links shared on Facebook that are marked as being shared to "everyone" and those from Fan Pages. "We can tell if something is of quality on Facbook by leveraging Twitter," as Sullivan paraphrases Bing’s response. "If the same link is shared in both places, it’s more likely to be legitimate."

Bing does not use its new Facebook data in ordinary web search…yet.

On a related note, Bing is finding other interesting ways to utilize Facebook with search.

Bing Shopping Facebook integration

So, clearly it pays to tweet and build a credible Twitter presence. This means gaining a significant following in number, but also getting authoritative users to follow you (and hopefully retweet your links). This would appear to be good for plain old fashioned organic rankings as well as other supplemental search results. More importantly, it pays to create good content that will attract authoritative Twitterers to share it with others. 

These things of course pay anyway, but it’s nice to know that they actually do have an effect on search rankings as well. 

It’s not surprising that Twitter is currently playing a more important role in to search engine ranking than Facebook, simply because Twitter is public by default. Facebook is much more walled, meaning that most of the good Facebook data is private. Though it will be interesting to see what happens when Bing does integrate its newly acquired Facebook into its regular search offerings. 

This wall of Facebook’s is also a factor into why Facebook could potentially unleash its own legitimate search engine. It’s got a search feature now of course, but there is a great deal of potential for them to do a whole lot more and really get under Google’s skin. More on that here. 

Sullivan provides more background and context around the search engines’ social signals, as well as the full with both Bing and Google, and details about the Twitter Firehose’s lack of nofollow.

With the information Sullivan has gotten out of Google and Bing, will you focus more on social media? Comment here

Google & Bing Are Looking at Links on Twitter & Facebook for Organic Ranking
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  • Chris Crum

    Good question. I would assume the public stuff would be treated similarly.

  • David

    I think that whatever is going on behind the scenes with Google etc , its worth getting links out via the social media channels, as they will surely carry more weight as realtime search and content become more important to the search engines ?
    But what do you think about links via URL shortners ? I assume that these will be disregarded or will the search engines ‘ read’ the actual URLs hidden behind them ?

    • Chris Crum

      I don’t think it’s an issue, as most links on Twitter are in short URL form.

  • http://www.bradleyiscool.com Bradley Nordstrom

    Ya this would be very cool if google could become a social network and facebook become a search engine.

    • http://imediass.in imediasolutions

      cool comment …..yes google must learn from social medias…..

  • http://tweeter.com lee

    How do I get started

  • http://ebook-site.com Bryan Quinn

    An interesting article. Also worth mentioning is the Google PageRank of your twitter page although it’s not clear what effect this has on organic ranking. You may want to check your own.

    Feel free to compare it with mine – http://twitter.com/bryanquinn

  • http://www.tpguess.com Paul Guess

    Absolutely they should… great way to tell current involvement

  • http://www.1stclassite.com Otimizar Site

    In these days I would say that all backlinks from authority sites are good and will help your sites to rank well.

  • http://net-wealth.biz Tace Thompson

    Hi Chris Crum,
    Thank you for sharing this very interesting information, its good to know that my socail networking activities go some way to help my online presence.
    With Best regards Tace.

    • http://imediass.in imediasolutions

      Hi

      This is not a great thing i think so , because google must get some valid datas and URL’s.
      We can say that google is trusting links of twitter and facebook. Any how its good for seo’s ….

      Regards

      imediasolutions

  • http://imediass.in imediasolutions

    nice to get news on time and to discuss ….

    Keep posting this kind of articels

    good stuff

    imediasolutions

  • http://www.killerwebs.info Killerwebs Web Design Studio

    Excellent article, this must be already happening, becuase when I post a link to a new web design it is crawled by Google very quickly!!!!

    Comments please

    Thanks
    Darren – Killerwebs

  • http://www.pushbikewear.com steve

    I am new to this. Our web presence is only counted in months rather than years.
    So your articles, and I do read them all, are very useful, and hopefully preventing me taking too many wrong turns. This is complicated stuff, it is so easy to head off in the wrong direction.

  • http://www.canadaseopro.ca Todd Herman

    Social media is so over rated, people go the the social websites to do just that socialize, not puirchase. I’ve had the number one site for close to a year with search term “facebook marketing” and Facebook advertizing” within my area and minimul clients. The question is… is facebook even worth wasting your time with advertizing? I say no. Linked in will always be my main source of income. Its known for business networking, so social business networking? Yes, social media marketing? in my opintion, a huge waste of time and money. See you on top, Todd.

  • http://www.diversintl.com Guest

    I guess it depends on the type of business and website. Although not an expert, I don’t like to spend a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter, and certainly am not interested my self to be active on these social medias. I would prefer to spend my time under water with the fish. I don;t like to think that I have to be obsessed with being so active on twitter and facebook in order for my website to rank. If I had a differetn business then I might feel differently, but I don’t prefer this social media, and don;t want to be a geek on the computer all of the time.

  • http://virtualmarketingllc.com Rick

    I just posted an article on my business site this morning about how social media and SEO must be used together in order to ensure that our clients succeed in their online marketing efforts. Feel free to check it out at http://virtualmarketingllc.com/2010/12/seo-or-social-media

    Thanks for keeping up to date with all the changes going on.

  • http://www.urbaninsuranceagency.com Larry Lubell

    Who really wants to “Friend” their insurance agency?

    As owner of http://www.urbaninsuranceagency.com/ we are confronted by the problem that Google and Bing place importance on social media, but a car insurance agency is just not the business type that attracts much interest.

    I make a living selling car insurance, and I don’t care “talk insurance” with my friends. People join groups about the Rolling Stones, Megan Fox, Nascar; not insurance.
    So what is an owner of a necessary, yet boring business suppose to do?

    My son’s 15 year old friends are nice enough to “Friend me,” but not because they care about http://www.urbaninsuranceagency.com/ .

    • Chris Crum

      Geico has nearly 87 thousand Facebook Fans and over 2,300 Twitter followers. Allstate Insurance has over 22,000 Facebook fans and over 6,000 followers.

      You have to make people want to engage with your brand. Create compelling content that people want to share. Monitor your brand on social networks. Offer deals or contests. Advertise. Look and see what others in your field are doing right.

  • Guest

    ridiculous, people go to Facebook to hang out and be seen, same with myspace, and twitter is really useless. Want to sell something then, for a small business, it’s all about RSS feeds, and ebay and craigslist. We’ve wasted enough time and money on FB, not a single sale.

    • Chris Crum

      Maybe it’s time to take another approach. It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish too though. You may not have goals that Twitter or Facebook can help you achieve.

  • http://www.cisseo.com Wii BildSites

    As a pro in the SEO / Web Development field since the late 90′s I feel this Social networking taking priority over the Hard working SEO strategists is not a very smart move, on Yahoo, Bing, and Google’s part. Like other people on this Blog, I HATE social networking. Considering I really don’t care if someone I used to know has a sick animal, or what games these lonely people are playing. My co-workers were kind enough to sign up to “like” or “became a fan” of our business page, cause we all work together, but honestly, I think it’s an AWFUL move on the Search Engines part.

    At http://www.cisseo.com – We’re looking to try to use these social network tools for our clients, but as others have mentioned in this blog, who wants to read posts about Soil Sampling, and Drivers Education? Great Newsletter though, I am glad to be a part of it!

    • Chris Crum

      You might be surprised. This YouTube video on soil sampling has over 20,000 views. If you lived around here, you’d wish more people were reading up on drivers education.

  • http://www.rugfirm.com Hans

    What if the subject of a Facebook page is very specialized and will not appeal to everyday users of these social networks? How are the search engines going to evaluate the content of messages and posts? It just does’t seem very logical to me.

    • Chris Crum

      The subject must have an audience. Otherwise what is its purpose to begin with. It doesn’t necessarily have to appeal to “everyday users” as long as it appeals to the target audience, which presumably would be the same people searching for content about that subject.

  • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ james

    I think it is a good idea, to support the social media aspect through search. I mean Search is essentially a popularity contest combined with relevancy.

    It will be interesting to see how relevancy does or could play a role in social. Perhaps many social media links from “Authorized or Official” social media profiles will weigh heavier than others?

  • http://www.toysfor3yearoldboys.org toysfor3yearoldboys

    The most successful affiliate marketers I am currently following are still not sold on the power of social media, they are making money without it they say. Still I am tempted to work on this aspect especially after reading posts like this, thanks!

  • http://www.baliholidayswedding.com Gede Mertyasa

    That sound good if google, bing will follow twiter and also facebook

  • http://www.Yatra.com Amitabh Dixit

    It is very gud to knw that google and bing is going to follow twitter and facebook.But everything is depends on how this will affects the organic rankings in google.
    Lets wait for the best…

  • http://smartsearch-exploringnewtrends.blogspot.com/ Guest

    Its too good eagerly waiting for somemore updates.It also depends on the number of followers

  • http://www.aspireidea.net/ Web Design Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

    Is marketing on Twitter & Facebook getting more attention than other marketing channels e.g. Google Adwords, Yahoo Publishers etc? How far is the gap in terms of ROI and popularity among social media marketing and other marketing channels? What do you think?

    • http://shiningtalent.com Guest

      No I don’t think that facebook and twitter are better than search engines.

  • http://www.bestcreditcardratings.co.uk Guest

    Thanks Chris for sharing this information. I think that it would be a good things especially when you spend all the time to send updates on your twitter and facebook.

  • http://www.libertymarketing.com.au Paul Murphy

    Many companies in Australia block their employees from access to facebook and twitter. In some way or another Facebook and Twitter will need to generate revenue to compete with Google and Yahoo and the like. Socil media sites need businesses to accept the business model and concept of the advertising medium. If they feel the need to ban their employees from waisting paid working hours contacting their friends they will not spend advertising dollars on a site that is predomiatley a vehicle for contacting friends and family.

    Furthermore, people that are looking for friends are not in a buying mood and they will not be wanting to spend. The latest research I have found is the Facebook and appeals to 25 to 35 year old people and the older the age group the less appealing Facebook becomes.

    Business can only survive if the are selling products…Facebook and Twitter in their present for can only provide a brandiing and and awareness/discovery experience for business. In the end many businesses do not spend a huge ammount of their advertising budget on brand awareness unless its corporate business which is only 5% of businesses in Australia.

    Paul Murphy

  • http://www.seogeneration.co.uk/ SEO Consultant London

    Collaboration brings ideas, and great ideas most times would yield successful. Two biggest search engines merging with the two biggest social media sites to change sites visibilty in the serps..true genius

  • http://www.yorbalindarealestatepros.com yorbalindahomes

    I keep reading more and more about the power of social media and a few other forms of online marketing that I really really need to jump on board with…badly! lol. Have heard much about how social media can help get you noticed by your target market and such but not much in terms of linking but it would make sense….a link is a link and if you build up the power of your social media pages then it would make sense that the links would be counted toward SEO. Great read!

  • http://www.kevinmoralesproperties.com Kev

    I havent tried social networking. Although I did sign up at facebook a year or so ago. The internet sure has changed a lot. Seems like the primary domain business websites are not as important as they once were. Social Networking and blogging has really changed the net.

  • http://twitteentertainment.com/ TwitteTravel.Com

    We have held some of our 26 websites from any marketing and have noticed the link exchange works to a certain point and it matters on what type of site it is.

  • http://www.makeasizzlingwebsite.com Mark Demers

    I`m still pretty new in IM and posts like these keep me from doing things totally wrong .A little reading is easier than redoing all your work because of some small thing you didn`t even thinking about.

    Knowing that retweets hold more weight i will be focusing more time and effort on pure original and quality content for my tweets and for whatever i put up on my FB wall from now on.
    I started working on FB trying to understand all they offer for marketers. They have quite a bit of apps and advice on how to use them and starting a contest or something like this will earn retweets and Likes .
    Thanks for this post – excellent read.

  • http://www.axiomdesigns.com Printing Los Angeles

    I makes scene to me, since facebook and twitter have hug traffic and many many big companies have their profiles on it, as a source of advertisement.

  • http://www.oilpaintingcentre.com Guest

    It’s a good news for my oil painting website. I will spend more efforts in promoting my website and business on Twitter and Facebook in future.

  • http://21www.topsy.com Eddie Smith

    Mining the social web for links is the best way to understand what news is breaking along with what content is resonating with people, independent of what google’s crawlers have found the new links.
    Topsy has been providing search based upon links from twitter for a couple years, ranking results based upon relevance to the search query, time and authoritative source (influence). I’d invite everyone to check out www.topsy.com to check out results. As an example, here’s results from this article’s topic http://topsy.com/s?q=links+shared+in+social+media

    Eddie Smith,
    CRO
    Topsy Labs, Inc

  • http://www.visionefx.net Rick Vidallon

    Reason #1
    By conducting business on Face book you weakening the power of your website.

    I am amazed when large corporations such as MSNBC, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, and local TV outlets have their anchors say; Hey check us out on our Face book page or join us on Twitter.
    Little do they know they are slowly weeping away the value or ranking of their main website on search engines.

    Are you doing the same?

    While you spend all your time communicating on Face book instead of your website you are actively passing along valuable time and traffic to Face book. Face book will grow and grow while your website shrinks and shrinks.

    Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and other major search engines assign a higher value or position to a website that gets more visits and traffics over similar competing websites. Any savvy website owner understands that human visits and human traffic accounts for their website(s) placing higher in search engine queries.

    (Stop reading here if you have conducted hundreds of business transactions over Face book and made a tidy profits from your labors.) ~ Mea Culpa

    Reason #2
    You do not own Face book and you do not exclusively own your Face book page.
    You are simply leasing space for free on Face books’ Web application. So do not be surprised if all the hundreds of hours you spent conducting business on Face book suddenly disappears.

    Remember Geo Cities, and Angel Fire? I do. My Space is still hanging on… barely.

    While Face book is going to be around for a while, at the end of the day Face book can be counted on to do what is in the best interests of it’s investors. Period.

    While Face book ‘does’ allow you to download all the content you posted such as text, links and photos; if you were to upload all this information to another website, you will have none of the software application features that are at the core of Face books’ application.

    Reason number 3
    Face book is a ‘Social Networking’ Application. PERIOD.
    Unless you have a ‘Social Network’ plan in place, then your business does not belong on Face book. Face book is a ‘Social Networking Tool’. While there are some interesting ways to extend your presence over the World Wide Web; without putting some strategic plan in place for using Face book is simply a waste of time.

    Think about it. Would you get on a plane without a travel plan, hotel reservations, spending budget, travel itinerary, transportation planning and return date? If you do not have any plans and goals for your Face book strategy then you are simply wasting your valuable time.

    Too many businesses have jumped on board hoping for overnight success. Without a plan in place; it will not happen.

    Reason #4
    You have little or no control over defamatory material.
    If you have your business on Face book then it stands to reason that you will probably leave your page open to all for posting and sharing otherwise people are not going to take the time to wait for you to approve for joining your page.

    What if some post or information gets on your Face book page that is defamatory or damaging to your business. Will you be able to call someone at Face book or get help?
    If you do not exclusively control your web page, website or other web application then you are opening a huge can of worms.

    Don’t believe me. Go to Google and search ‘Complaints About Face Book’.

    Unless you are ready to spend lots of time monitoring your Face book page on a day to day basis in addition to responding to any and all complaints then don’t put your business on Face book.

    • http://www.effective-seo-campaign.com Guest

      I For one Rely Almost completely on the Connection between my websites and the Social Networks, particularly Twitter. Twitter has a Golden opportunity buried in the very Sign Up process its-self, and with careful planning, the beneficial use of the Twitter Profile, spreads great rewards throughout ones Websites and blogs. If it were to change and the Major Search engines No longer prioritized the Twitter Profiles, tweets, and “Mentions” – I would have to rethink the amount of time and financial investment in Any online Business. At The SEO Foundation ( http://seofoundation.yolasite.com ) we offer a download package that explains and Instructs on the Implementation of SEO components that are specific to Twitter and other High Profile Social Networks, and the incorporation of the Connecting code to form an Alliance with them that benefits all parties.

  • http://www.personalfn.com PersonalFN

    Slowly and steadily search Engines are taking social Media more seriously. It shows the power which social Media holds in modern era.
    Good to search engine giants, Google and Bing giving more importance to social media.

  • http://smsfree4all.com Guest

    I consider twitter links to be more of a spam especially url shortened links that are link to shady sites. I am not a big fan of twitter other than nice to know trendy topics or find often discussed topic that you are interested such as free SMS.

  • http://sendfreefax.net Charles

    I would consider facebook to be a place to waste time. Other than to keep track of all friends friend in one place, i see no value on facebook links other than to kill time. For SEO i would use some download SEO tools or work at getting back links.

  • http://www.focusa2z.com Focus

    Hello dear Chris chrum Can you suggest me how to getting rank to my site FOCUSA2.COM !! CONNECTS FRIENDS’ WORLD ?

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