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Are Search Engine Rankings Affected by Social Media Buzz?

Can Facebook “Likes” & Twitter “Tweets” Influence Search Engine Rankings? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for quite awhile. Thankfully, Rand and his team at SEOmoz have been collecting data, and they’ve reported their findings on Facebook + Twitter’s Influence on Google’s Search Rankings.

google facebook twitter

So what did SEOmoz find? That “Social Metrics are Well Correlated with Higher Rankings.” OK, but what exactly does this mean? It means that web content that is shared a lot through social media tends to rank well, which could be interpreted in 2 ways:

  1. Shared content is good content, and good content generally receives lots of links, and links are the #1 ranking factor in Google.
  2. Google is using this “sharing” as a ranking factor.

In my opinion, if search engines are not using this social media metric currently, they will be using “sharing” in their ranking algorithms in the near future. For this reason, it’s important to understand what types of sharing works best. Here it is in order of importance:

  1. Facebook Shares
  2. Facebook Comments
  3. Facebook Likes
  4. Tweets

So, it seems, it is more important to have your content shared through Facebook then simply having your content “liked.” And Twitter, as Rand points out, “May Be Less Powerful than I Thought.” Well, Twitter receives less traffic then MySpace, and I think we can all agree that MySpace is dead. So does that mean Twitter is dead? If you believe SEOmoz’s correlation between search engine rankings and social media, then the answer is yes.

Conclusion
We now know that there is a correlation between social metrics and search rankings, but we still don’t know if social metrics are affecting rankings. It’s all speculation for now. Any one have an opinion?

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About Justin Britt

Justin Britt (justin@hawaiilife.com) is Head of Innovation and Co-Founder of a little Hawaii Real Estate company. Britt oversees user interface design, SEO, programming, public relations and social media for Hawaii's 6th largest and fastest growing real estate brokerage.

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