We need to talk about your social signals

by ilee
16 replies
  • SEO
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No, this thread isn't about ranking websites with social media links only, it doesn't work, and the effects of social media links are really quite negligible at the moment.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't work with social media. Why? Because regardless of whether it's much of a ranking factor for google now, it's very much possible for it to be a big ranking factor in the future.

By working on your social media, you're pretty much hedging your bets, protecting you and your websites from a future update that could give increased weighting to social links. There are no negatives I can see of working on social signals, you get instant traffic, and it helps diversify your portfolio in case google does update in favour of the twits and the facs.
#signals #social #talk
  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    Originally Posted by ilee View Post

    No, this thread isn't about ranking websites with social media links only, it doesn't work, and the effects of social media links are really quite negligible at the moment.

    That doesn't mean you shouldn't work with social media. Why? Because regardless of whether it's much of a ranking factor for google now, it's very much possible for it to be a big ranking factor in the future.

    By working on your social media, you're pretty much hedging your bets, protecting you and your websites from a future update that could give increased weighting to social links. There are no negatives I can see of working on social signals, you get instant traffic, and it helps diversify your portfolio in case google does update in favour of the twits and the facs.
    I am not sure if I could possibly disagree more.

    Social signals can be gamed easier than backlinks.

    More importantly, Google can be completely shutout from gaining information about social signals at any moment (it has happened in the past), then the SERPs go into all kinds of flux.

    That is why they will never rely on Tweets and Likes in the SERPs.

    But if people want to waste their time focusing on that stuff, I'm all for it. It is just taking away their focus and energy on doing something that would actually be productive for their business. Makes it easier for the rest of us.
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    • Profile picture of the author ilee
      Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

      I am not sure if I could possibly disagree more.

      Social signals can be gamed easier than backlinks.

      More importantly, Google can be completely shutout from gaining information about social signals at any moment (it has happened in the past), then the SERPs go into all kinds of flux.

      That is why they will never rely on Tweets and Likes in the SERPs.

      But if people want to waste their time focusing on that stuff, I'm all for it. It is just taking away their focus and energy on doing something that would actually be productive for their business. Makes it easier for the rest of us.
      I see your point Mike.

      My problem is that there's no way facebook and twitter don't have their own algorithm for finding spam accounts, they know which ones are very likely to be, they just choose not to take action. And why should they?

      Now facebook and twitter aren't in direct competition with google the search engine. Could it not be possible in the future that either facebook or twitter shares their information on suggested fake accounts, in return for being a ranking factor in google, thereby ranking all their serp positions several places higher. Sounds like a pretty fair trade to me, especially if google gives this exclusivity to just one of the two social media giants.

      I know it's very unlikely, but that's why I said social media should be done as an insurance method so you're not left in the dust IF it happens. It really does not take much time or effort.
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      • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
        Originally Posted by ilee View Post

        I see your point Mike.

        My problem is that there's no way facebook and twitter don't have their own algorithm for finding spam accounts, they know which ones are very likely to be, they just choose not to take action. And why should they?

        Now facebook and twitter aren't in direct competition with google the search engine. Could it not be possible in the future that either facebook or twitter shares their information on suggested fake accounts, in return for being a ranking factor in google, thereby ranking all their serp positions several places higher. Sounds like a pretty fair trade to me, especially if google gives this exclusivity to just one of the two social media giants.

        I know it's very unlikely, but that's why I said social media should be done as an insurance method so you're not left in the dust IF it happens. It really does not take much time or effort.
        Facebook cannot even get their own ad targeting right. I wouldn't trust them to do a good job identifying junk accounts.

        No way Google makes that kind of deal with any company. You want better placement, you buy ads. That's the way it works.

        Besides, Facebook does not need search engine traffic, so from their side, there is very little reason to make that deal either.

        There is just no chance that Google gives that kind of authority in their algorithm to something that they could completely lose access to at a moment's notice. It would be a piss poor business decision.
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  • Profile picture of the author ppscslv
    There is a huge difference between fake social signals and real social signals (search engines can identify very easy a fake like/plus one/favourite/repin/etc). That's the main reason for, many so called SEO experts believe that all social signals don't matter for ranking.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by ppscslv View Post

      There is a huge difference between fake social signals and real social signals (search engines can identify very easy a fake like/plus one/favourite/repin/etc). That's the main reason for, many so called SEO experts believe that all social signals don't matter for ranking.
      Identifying fake +1's I can agree with. It is Google's own platform.

      Identifying fake likes, favorites, etc... nope.

      Set your Facebook profile to private and see what Google can index from it. Barely a thing.

      So how the hell would they be able to tell that you are giving fake likes?
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  • Profile picture of the author ilee
    Yeah cheers. You're absolutely right.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Waller
    The way I see Google incorporating social is not by the links themselves, but by the traffic that they send. Google has plenty of ways to track this (including sneaky ways if you believe that video that Matthew Woodward recently shared) and I do believe that user signals will become a growing part of the algorithm as Google gets better at identifying manipulative practices.

    I have yet to come across a way of gaming social signals so that all those likes and tweets you buy actually lead to meaningful traffic - if there is one then can someone please point me in the right direction
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Forget gaming and spamming.

      Its never going to happen as a big factor because that just not how corporate business is done and never will be.

      Microsoft will never have an Xbox service that relies on Sony

      Amazon will never have prices that rely on Google API data

      Google will never say the integrity of our results will be dependent on our ad campaign competitor Facebook.

      I don't care if its just traffic they are monitoring traffic can be rerouted - its just NOT going to be a big factor

      Social can have an effect on SEO by getting your brand out there and getting links and other metrics from that exposure. That explains the weak correlation some studies have found b ut as direct cause of ranking....and a major cause - thats just not how real business is done. You just don't put your whole business at risk depending on companies that in some areas compete with you. In fact you don't stake your whole business on another company even if they are not competing with you in any way.

      Anyone suggesting that at Google would probably need a new job for the new year.
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    • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
      Originally Posted by Steve Waller View Post

      The way I see Google incorporating social is not by the links themselves, but by the traffic that they send. Google has plenty of ways to track this (including sneaky ways if you believe that video that Matthew Woodward recently shared) and I do believe that user signals will become a growing part of the algorithm as Google gets better at identifying manipulative practices.
      User signals are not social signals. I really wish the whole social signal theory would die out but for some reason so many people keep preaching that it is an important strategy for SEO.

      Mike mentioned using social media to increase exposure which ends up creating links, and that's exactly right.

      A few months ago, it might have been 6 or 7 months ago, Neil Patel made some sort of blog post about social signals on twitter, and how it increased his ranking. When people that work hard to come across as an authority like he has, continue pushing this crap, it's easy for beginners to get confused.

      It was never any social signals that allowed him to rank higher for whatever keyword he was targeting. The reason he started ranking higher from retweets and favorites is because it increased his exposure to an audience that is likely to blog and link to the content he created, within their own content.

      In short, more legit social signals = more exposure which should = more links.

      Social signals are not impacting ranking itself... the amount of likes, or retweets are meaningless. The broadcast ability they have in order to increase your exposure is what matters because that results in links.
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      • Profile picture of the author ilee
        Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

        User signals are not social signals. I really wish the whole social signal theory would die out but for some reason so many people keep preaching that it is an important strategy for SEO.

        Mike mentioned using social media to increase exposure which ends up creating links, and that's exactly right.

        A few months ago, it might have been 6 or 7 months ago, Neil Patel made some sort of blog post about social signals on twitter, and how it increased his ranking. When people that work hard to come across as an authority like he has, continue pushing this crap, it's easy for beginners to get confused.

        It was never any social signals that allowed him to rank higher for whatever keyword he was targeting. The reason he started ranking higher from retweets and favorites is because it increased his exposure to an audience that is likely to blog and link to the content he created, within their own content.

        In short, more legit social signals = more exposure which should = more links.

        Social signals are not impacting ranking itself... the amount of likes, or retweets are meaningless. The broadcast ability they have in order to increase your exposure is what matters because that results in links.
        I'm not saying social signals are a big ranking factor right now. Im saying that there's always a chance that they could be in the future, and by doing a bit of social media on the side, you can cover your ass if that does happen.
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        • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
          Originally Posted by ilee View Post

          I'm not saying social signals are a big ranking factor right now. Im saying that there's always a chance that they could be in the future, and by doing a bit of social media on the side, you can cover your ass if that does happen.
          It's not just that they aren't a big factor right now, it's that they are not a factor at all right now, period.

          I guess there's always a chance, I just don't see it. I've never believed it would be with the exception of Google owned properties.

          Of course I don't believe you should be ignoring social media... I think it's important for the online branding of a company and certainly for reputation management purposes. Using it solely as an SEO strategy would be a huge waste of time though.
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        • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
          Originally Posted by ilee View Post

          I'm not saying social signals are a big ranking factor right now. Im saying that there's always a chance that they could be in the future, and by doing a bit of social media on the side, you can cover your ass if that does happen.
          I see a 0.00% chance of that happening. It just does not logically make any sense for them to incorporate them. Let's look beyond the argument about Google not putting a significant portion of their algorithm into someone else's hands.

          They provide no real value. Look at the crap that people like and retweet. It's mostly pictures of cats doing stupid stuff and shit like that. And that is exactly the kind of crap that would happen. Websites would start posting more stuff like that on their sites and Facebook pages just to generate social attention. It would be a giant clusterf@$k.

          So instead of having good quality sites, you would have more sites overtaking top positions full of stupid junk that had a better chance of going viral.

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          • Profile picture of the author ilee
            Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

            I see a 0.00% chance of that happening. It just does not logically make any sense for them to incorporate them. Let's look beyond the argument about Google not putting a significant portion of their algorithm into someone else's hands.

            They provide no real value. Look at the crap that people like and retweet. It's mostly pictures of cats doing stupid stuff and shit like that. And that is exactly the kind of crap that would happen. Websites would start posting more stuff like that on their sites and Facebook pages just to generate social attention. It would be a giant clusterf@.

            So instead of having good quality sites, you would have more sites overtaking top positions full of stupid junk that had a better chance of going viral.
            Well the beauty of social media is that anybody with an account can vote content up or down based on likes and retweets. If we remove the argument that social signals are easy to game, isn't the best kind of content quality control one where real people decide. If we only work with links, sure everyone with a website can vote someone else's content up with a backlink but the majority aren't normal everyday people. They're bloggers, webmasters, Web developers.

            All these arguments are based on the fact that social media is easy to game, but if Google has done such a "good" job with filtering spam sites, why can't Facebook twitter do the same?

            I am playing devil's advocate now, but this is what forums should be for.

            On a slightly unrelated topic, was Facebook not trying to build a search engine for Websites to compete with Google?
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            • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
              Originally Posted by ilee View Post

              Well the beauty of social media is that anybody with an account can vote content up or down based on likes and retweets. If we remove the argument that social signals are easy to game, isn't the best kind of content quality control one where real people decide. If we only work with links, sure everyone with a website can vote someone else's content up with a backlink but the majority aren't normal everyday people. They're bloggers, webmasters, Web developers.

              All these arguments are based on the fact that social media is easy to game, but if Google has done such a "good" job with filtering spam sites, why can't Facebook twitter do the same?

              I am playing devil's advocate now, but this is what forums should be for.

              On a slightly unrelated topic, was Facebook not trying to build a search engine for Websites to compete with Google?
              My argument to that would be simple, do you think that Google really wants to put the power of ranking websites into the hands of everyone though? The majority is not always right or well informed. Basing it on links weeds out a lot of the uninformed from voting.

              Filtering out spam sites is an ongoing battle for Google. It would be the same problem with Facebook and Twitter.

              And the result would just be people building better, more realistic looking Facebook pages that are still fake. Not all that different from what people are doing with private networks.
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  • Profile picture of the author ilee
    Electronics companies in competition use each others parts quite commonly, as long as they have agreements in place for mutual protection there's no problem in that.

    Financial services companies often outsource various bits of work to other finance companies in competition with them.

    Mike A, you may be right that this is how corporate Internet business is done. But definitely not how corporate business is done in general, for all industries.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by ilee View Post

      Electronics companies in competition use each others parts quite commonly, as long as they have agreements in place for mutual protection there's no problem in that.]
      Not applicable Ilee.. You buy the parts and they cannot be changed once they are in the electronics. Of course there are suppliers for all kinds of things but the parts are bought and secured and DONE. Its conceivable that one day twitter might enter into a contract with Google but as in your supplier example there has to be a compelling reason to marry the two companies . Electronic companies HAVE TO rely on suppliers. Google doesn't so to devise a system where their rankings are married to twitter results would need a compelling reason that just does not exist (they can rank pages in other ways.)

      Mike A, you may be right that this is how corporate Internet business is done. But definitely not how corporate business is done in general, for all industries.
      I'll stand by what I wrote across the board because its not what you claim I stated. Sure there are partnerships between companies but

      " You just don't put your whole business at risk depending on companies that in some areas compete with you. "

      Is still true. Companies don't enter into partnerships that put their whole business at risk. Google 's whole business is their search results. They may have partnerships with Amazon over some things and shucks even Microsoft but they are not going t put their whole business at risk with any of them,

      Depending on other companies to secure the integrity of their search results would be a foolish move.
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