The Relationship between SEO and Social Signals

Ever since the launch of Google+, search engine optimization experts have been wondering about the role that social signals play in rankings. Originally, it was considered that signals from all social media affected SEO attempts. Some light was shed on the situation in 2014.

Matt Cutts Speaks

In January 2014, Google’s head of search and spam Matt Cutts answered some questions about the manner in which social signals affect search rankings.

Most social signals have no effect on search engine rankings, Cutts said in an official video, especially if these signals are not pointing directly to a particular website. Google crawlers index search engines in a manner that differs from the indexing of standard content-based pages, as well. This is yet another reason for the little influence social signals have.

According to Cutts, social signals are incapable of affecting search engine rankings directly. In his statement, Cutts said that the current ranking algorithm does not take in consideration the number of reshares or Facebook likes that a particular page or a piece of content gets.

Social Reputation vs. Social Shares

The types of social accounts that a particular website has are crucially important for the establishment of social reputation. Social reputation is the one factor that seems to be having some effect on website optimization.

Getting references from accounts that have good reputation and building a stable body of followers will both be essential for the establishment of good social reputation. Instead of focusing on dozens of low-quality possibilities, search engine optimization experts should work on boosting the quality of profiles.

Social shares, on the other hand, may have less influence on SEO but they are still great for promotional and brand establishment purposes. Stimulating many to share content and to popularize particular pages will ultimately result in higher popularity.

Social Media Signals and the Future

In a video, Matt Cutts made some interesting predictions about the future of social signals and their connection to website optimization.

According to Cutts, Google will be much more capable of identifying and keeping track of social media signals in the future. This is when the factor could potentially be included in the search engine algorithm.

For the time being, Google has limited social media crawling ability, which is why social shares and signals are more of a marketing tool than a search engine optimization method. Still, the benefits are too many to underestimate.

Google+ and SEO

One final question remains to be answered and this one focuses on the effect that Google’s social network has on website optimization.

According to, there is a correlation between Google +1s and improved search engine rankings. The results of the study suggest that Page Authority and the number of +1s are both vitally important for the high ranking of a particular page.

All of this information suggests that the world of search engine optimization will never be the same. Gone are the days of simple formulas and techniques that could guarantee proper ranking for keywords of interest. SEO today has become truly complex and in the future, website optimization will become an even more diversified field.

Photo courtesy of: SEO Planter

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