Social media activity helps SEO – it’s official

rose Google and Bing have now both confirmed that they include social media usage on Twitter and Facebook in their ranking algorithms.

This doesn’t come as a surprise – it would be surprising if they didn’t – but it is now official.

In a recent video blog post, Google’s Matt Cutts confirmed that both Facebook and Twitter links had been used for sometime. What is a bit new, though again not perhaps surprising, is that Google is now trying to determine the credibility and authority of an author from their Facebook and Twitter activities. As always it is quality not quantity of links that counts.

The video post was in reply to a question quoting a blog post by Danny Sullivan. Matt Cutts essentially confirms the ideas that Danny puts forward.

So how does Google decide the authority of a Tweeter? One way is simply by using the same system that it does for other links. Each Tweeter has their own Twitter page which has pageRank, and like a link from any other page, the pageRank of the page the link originates from determines its value. But tweets have a nofollow tag on all links so that suggests it isn’t quite as simple as that.

It looks like what will make links from tweets help the search rankings of their targets are

  • the authority of the tweeter determined probably by, or at least influenced by the pageRank of their home Twitter page
  • the number of times the link has been retweeted or referenced and the quality of the Tweeters doing so

Generally speaking Google and Bing treat Twitter and Facebook in much the same way – for a more detailed analysis of the differences, refer to Danny Sullivan’s excellent article.

So in summary, authoritive and valuable content posted on Twitter and Facebook can help your web rankings – but, Matt Cutts says, at the moment such activity plays only a small part in the Google algorithm.

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