It’s been confirmed by Bing and Google that Twitter and Facebook can help your search rankings. This is something SEOs have speculated about and known for quite some time. But how does it really affect your rankings?
Social Search vs Web Search
There is a distinction here that should be noted. When doing a search on Bing Social, you can see what people are saying on various social media sites, mainly Twitter and YouTube. The links in those results go to either a page showing where the term was mentioned, or the profile of the person saying it. This is a social search only, Google has a similar feature that’s tied to your Google Profile. Some social searches show up at the bottom of web searches also.
Web searches of course are just standard searches of the web, which is what we want to capitalize on. So how do they relate?
Once again, authority is king.
Both Google and Bing have confirmed that these social results do factor into your web results as well. Any guesses as to what they might focus on? If you guessed “Authority” you’re probably right. A solid tenet of good SEO is becoming an influencer. Reputation is everything and when Google sees that your site is an authority on a subject matter it’s treated well. If your site is one that others link to frequently and is shown to influence a niche, your rankings go up. Social search is no different.
If your links are frequently “liked” on FaceBook and your tweets are often retweeted, you’ll show up more in Social Search, but it’s also likely the links you post you will get some SEO juice as well. As many of you know, Twitter links are nofollow links, but it looks like they’ll still factor in. IF you are someone who has “authority” on Twitter you can expect some of your links to get some juice.
How do I take advantage of it?
The answer to this one is pretty simple, and something I preach constantly on this site: make something worth going to. Give out content people want, and they will follow. If you have a Twitter account that just posts constant links to your website, or you’re constantly hawking affiliate links people won’t follow you. But if you post valuable, entertaining or remarkable content, they will. And with a good Twitter or Facebook following you can get an extra kick to your search engine rankings as well.
A black hat solution of course would be to create some fake networks. You could create 1,000 twitter accounts and get a ring going where a bunch of the accounts retweet your links all over, and you could do the same with Facebook. And I’m sure it would probably work fairly well for a while, but they’ll have a detection method for it, if they don’t already. As I like to advise my clients, black hat SEO works, and often works well but it’s a poor long term business plan. Set your goals accordingly.
Some more reading on this subject: