Are Social Media Signals A Ranking Factor?

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There is a lot of hype surrounding social media. I've come across many articles from "experts" telling me how I should hop on the social media bandwagon or get left behind.

This article from Quicksprout, is a point in case. I'm not picking on Neil here, it's just one of dozens of articles I've seen telling me the same thing.

Neil says, a Moz article was #400 and jumped to the first page on Google for the term “Beginner’s Guide” after Smashing Magazine tweeted out the guide.

How is this possible? Well according to Neil, "Because both Google and Bing use data from social sites in order to determine how high to rank your website."

This is a direct contradiction to what Matt Cutts says. According to him, "Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we're able to crawl it, then we can return that in our search results. But as far as doing special specific work to sort of say “you have this many followers on Twitter or this many likes on Facebook”, to the best of my knowledge we don't currently have any signals like that in our web search ranking algorithms."

It's generally recognised that there are hundreds of ranking factors. Does that mean that these factors go out the window and that 1 tweet can rank you on the 1st page of Google for the term "Beginners Guide"? Absolutely NO chance.

It's easy to manipulate Twitter and other social signals. Google never has and never will rely entirely of the data from third parties and this is exactly what Neil is saying they are doing. Google is ranking content purely on the data from social signals.

I think we are talking about correlation here. If you Tweet something and 50,000 people share it, it's bound to attract links and links are the backbone of Google's algorithm. It's the indexable links that rank content, not "social signals" in them selves.

To me it's no surprise that the results in Buzzmo bear no relation to the results in Google's serps in most cases.

Is it any wonder that the people who publish these "studies" are actually in the business of social media marketing?

Have you seen an example of competitive content ranking without any links and purely on social signals? If you have, I'd be interested in seeing it.
#factor #media #ranking #signals #social
  • Profile picture of the author malikkashif
    Social signals matters defiantly, we are running an SEO firm we focus first your niche socials appearance means social signals.
    we practice some niche which having low competition keywords get ranked just because of social signals.
    If you will just focus on your money keywords / main keywords , Google will kick out so e have to done with mix keywords.
    Money Keywords / main keywords we use only in best quality links like guest posting.
    Google recommend the keywords utilization %.
    Main Keywords %
    Mix Keywords % etc
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    • Profile picture of the author zimmerseo
      Originally Posted by malikkashif View Post

      we practice some niche which having low competition keywords get ranked just because of social signals.
      A website can rank for low competition keywords if the onsite SEO is done properly without any social signals or backlinks.

      I go back to my original question. If social signals are a ranking factor as you say, there should be lots of domains ranking for competitive search terms on social signals alone. I have yet to find any.
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  • Profile picture of the author nettiapina
    Originally Posted by zimmerseo View Post

    Is it any wonder that the people who publish these "studies" are actually in the business of social media marketing?

    Have you seen an example of competitive content ranking without any links and purely on social signals? If you have, I'd be interested in seeing it.
    You're right on the money here. You're quoting one of the leading apologists for "social signals". I don't need to even look at Neil's data (seen it before), and I can tell that he's got correlation at best. Causality - well, just one look at his infographics throws that out of the window.

    Neil is a pretty smart fellow, so it makes me fear that I have to make the least favourable interpretation about this stuff. That is, he's not merely confused, but actively trying to sell snake oil.
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    • Profile picture of the author zimmerseo
      Originally Posted by nettiapina View Post

      Neil is a pretty smart fellow, so it makes me fear that I have to make the least favourable interpretation about this stuff. That is, he's not merely confused, but actively trying to sell snake oil.
      I also have a lot of respect for him, but he is just one of many people peddling (in my opinion) the social media myth.

      The reason I chose to mention Neil specifically, was when I questioned some of the research in his 'study' in the form of a comment, which was pretty detailed, he declined to publish it, which for me says a lot and I find it disappointing when bloggers only publish comments that agree with their findings. Doing so make a comments section redundant and pointless in any blog.

      Anyway, before people spend their money on any kind of SEO, social media or otherwise, they need to question what they are being sold, regardless of who is selling it.
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  • Profile picture of the author cookiesfromhome
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  • Profile picture of the author princy91
    Now a days its like social signals have become one of the important ranking factor for google, it has become very important for a webpage to have a great social impact to rank well.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by malikkashif View Post

      Social signals matters defiantly, we are running an SEO firm we focus first your niche socials appearance means social signals.
      we practice some niche which having low competition keywords get ranked just because of social signals.
      If you will just focus on your money keywords / main keywords , Google will kick out so e have to done with mix keywords.
      Money Keywords / main keywords we use only in best quality links like guest posting.
      Google recommend the keywords utilization %.
      Main Keywords %
      Mix Keywords % etc
      Originally Posted by princy91 View Post

      Now a days its like social signals have become one of the important ranking factor for google, it has become very important for a webpage to have a great social impact to rank well.
      These threads always bring out the sheep who just parrot the same garbage pedaled by Neil and others about social signals. It's all lies.

      I have yet to find a web page that is ranking based on social signals.
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      • Profile picture of the author zimmerseo
        I honestly can't believe what I'm reading here.
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        • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
          Originally Posted by zimmerseo View Post

          I honestly can't believe what I'm reading here.
          You shouldn't be surrpised. this place is a wasteland for any kind of actual SEO knowledge anymore.
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        • Profile picture of the author jamesfreddyc
          Originally Posted by zimmerseo View Post

          I honestly can't believe what I'm reading here.
          So, you must have missed the recent "SEO Expert" (that's what is in their sig and offering their services) that posted the question:

          "What's a robots.txt file for?"

          And people actually were trying to help! LOL
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          • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
            Originally Posted by jamesfreddyc View Post

            So, you must have missed the recent "SEO Expert" (that's what is in their sig and offering their services) that posted the question:

            "What's a robots.txt file for?"

            And people actually were trying to help! LOL

            For reference..

            http://www.warriorforum.com/search-e...obots-txt.html
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          • Profile picture of the author zimmerseo
            Originally Posted by jamesfreddyc View Post

            So, you must have missed the recent "SEO Expert" (that's what is in their sig and offering their services) that posted the question:

            "What's a robots.txt file for?"

            And people actually were trying to help! LOL
            I read an article somewhere that said links are no longer a ranking factor. The biggest ranking factor of 2015 is going to be pictures of bananas on webpages. According to the article, "The bigger the bananas, the more juice you get. "

            Mark my words. You wait and see.
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            • Profile picture of the author nettiapina
              Originally Posted by zimmerseo View Post

              According to the article, "The bigger the bananas, the more juice you get. "
              I'm a web monkey, and I approve this message.
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            • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
              Originally Posted by zimmerseo View Post

              I read an article somewhere that said links are no longer a ranking factor. The biggest ranking factor of 2015 is going to be pictures of bananas on webpages. According to the article, "The bigger the bananas, the more juice you get. "

              Mark my words. You wait and see.
              I know you were joking, but you are not too far off of the kind of crap some people around here believe about SEO.

              http://www.warriorforum.com/search-e...nking-too.html
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            • Profile picture of the author DABK
              It's not bananas, it's plantains. And juice is only 1 of the 72 factors they're going to look at. And not the main one. The main one is the girth 1 inch above the part that's closest to ground.

              I read that in an article on the internet.

              Originally Posted by zimmerseo View Post

              I read an article somewhere that said links are no longer a ranking factor. The biggest ranking factor of 2015 is going to be pictures of bananas on webpages. According to the article, "The bigger the bananas, the more juice you get. "

              Mark my words. You wait and see.
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        • Profile picture of the author paulgl
          Originally Posted by zimmerseo View Post

          I honestly can't believe what I'm reading here.
          You post a question that has an obvious, real answer from even the newest of
          newbies: NO.

          How about Don Zimmer SEO?


          Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author aars14
    First of all, we need to know that, those 200 factors importance is different in each niche, but if your website has a certain Authority, Trust rank, some back links and combine it with social signals, you will see the jump.

    Facebook and Tweets aren't consider simple as other sites, just like, every site has a different value, so does for these websites.
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  • Profile picture of the author leecastro786
    yes social media channels are considered a ranking factor as social media provides you exposer and brings traffic to your website.
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    • Profile picture of the author nettiapina
      Originally Posted by aars14 View Post

      First of all, we need to know that, those 200 factors importance is different in each niche, but if your website has a certain Authority, Trust rank, some back links and combine it with social signals, you will see the jump.
      The mention of "200 ranking factors" is a clear sign that someone is trying to BS you. Google rep mentioned them years ago, and only for illustrative purposes. Google back then had more than 200 factors, and some of those may have dozens of factors under them.

      Domain authority and Trust Flow are both 3rd party metrics, and both are calculated from backlinks. Do you even know what you're talking about? Yes, the question is a rhetorical one.

      Originally Posted by leecastro786 View Post

      yes social media channels are considered a ranking factor as social media provides you exposer and brings traffic to your website.
      Yes, they're considered a ranking factor by a bunch of morons who don't know what they're talking about. Getting exposure and traffic aren't the thing that's ranking a site.
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      • Profile picture of the author zimmerseo
        Lets cut out all the crap here.

        I'll give $50 via paypal to ANYBODY who can show a website that ranks for a competitive search term purely on social signals.

        I'm not a gambling man normally, but in this case I'm pretty sure it's safe in my pocket.
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      • Profile picture of the author aars14
        Originally Posted by nettiapina View Post

        The mention of "200 ranking factors" is a clear sign that someone is trying to BS you. Google rep mentioned them years ago, and only for illustrative purposes. Google back then had more than 200 factors, and some of those may have dozens of factors under them.

        Domain authority and Trust Flow are both 3rd party metrics, and both are calculated from backlinks. Do you even know what you're talking about? Yes, the question is a rhetorical one.

        What are you trying to say? aren't those 200 factors a sign now? I have read now various case studies, where the user experience is even consider a factor, how much time you spend, what you do, Google considers that as well.

        Trust Flow considers social signals as well, i wonder who said to you that it is calculated based on backlinks only?
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        • Profile picture of the author nettiapina
          Originally Posted by aars14 View Post

          What are you trying to say? aren't those 200 factors a sign now? I have read now various case studies, where the user experience is even consider a factor, how much time you spend, what you do, Google considers that as well.
          Those 200 factors are probably in the algorithm, but the lists about "200 factors" are always someone else's guess. The contents of those lists are random, and quite often there's stuff that's not exactly known to be on Google's list.

          User experience is a factor only indirectly. Google is not a design police, although they'd like to see mobile etc. About the rest of that line, no. Google sort of might see how much time you spend if you come from their search. What you do isn't a concern for them.

          Originally Posted by aars14 View Post

          Trust Flow considers social signals as well, i wonder who said to you that it is calculated based on backlinks only?
          That's not something I said. I was commenting on your string of stuff that had 3rd party metrics and backlinks as if they were the same.

          Originally Posted by Mike Vick View Post

          If I can see in Google Analytics that I'm getting 1,000 hits a day from Facebook, does Google find this information worthless?
          Google doesn't probably use that data. Cutts has said that they want you to be comfortable with the tools, so they're not using it for that kind of purposes. Also, it'd open several cans of worms.

          But if you see 1000 hits a day that's not worthless to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author davidweb09
    No Social Media only help to increase website traffic not ranking.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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    • Profile picture of the author samkavin
      NO dear social signal is not and ranking factor

      Social Signal is Factor of Branding
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Vick
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      If I had 100k engaged twitter followers, I'm sure I could use 7500 tweets to "indirectly" increase SEPRS.
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
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        Originally Posted by Mike Vick View Post

        If I had 100k engaged twitter followers, I'm sure I could use 7500 tweets to "indirectly" increase SEPRS.
        ...and Google will indirectly bury the page at position #84.
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    • Profile picture of the author hipeopo02
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      .......LOL.......
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      A crappy product or service by people that disappear from the forum for a long period of time to make it look like they were working on something so when they come back you will want to click on their crappy product or service link

      CLICK HERE! LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Vick
    Like I mentioned in another forum , I accept that no one has demonstrated a direct connection between social shares and SERPs. I just find it hard to believe that Google has this information and chooses not use it at all.

    If I can see in Google Analytics that I'm getting 1,000 hits a day from Facebook, does Google find this information worthless?

    Google can see that a fb visitor viewed a few of my pages, spent several minutes on site, and clicked on an adsense ad, etc. When I look at Google Analytics > Acquisition > Social > User Flow, I see a lot of data there that I'm inclined to believe Google uses. I could be wrong tho.
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  • Profile picture of the author kavyasharma561
    Just because Facebook and Twitter aren’t driving you a ton of sales doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leverage them. Why? Because both Google and Bing use data from social sites in order to determine how high to rank your website.
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    • Profile picture of the author zimmerseo
      Originally Posted by kavyasharma561 View Post

      Because both Google and Bing use data from social sites in order to determine how high to rank your website.
      Do you have an example of this?
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    • Profile picture of the author nettiapina
      Originally Posted by kavyasharma561 View Post

      Just because Facebook and Twitter aren't driving you a ton of sales doesn't mean you shouldn't leverage them. Why? Because both Google and Bing use data from social sites in order to determine how high to rank your website.
      No, they do not. Or at least it's not shown to be the case, and neither company has made a strong statement saying that they do.

      If Facebook and Twitter aren't driving instant sales, they may still be very useful to get your message out there and cultivating sort of fan/lead/potential buyer relationships.
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  • Hi zimmerseo


    social signal build a Brand, no ranking, but a good reputation and thus a good brand, they help the ranking, of course!
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    • Profile picture of the author paulgl
      Originally Posted by Ilenia Internet Marketer View Post

      Hi zimmerseo
      social signal build a Brand, no ranking, but a good reputation and thus a good brand, they help the ranking, of course!
      So it doesn't not help ranking but it does help ranking. Typical,
      inane answer.

      Here is the logic:

      1) I go to bed very early.
      2) I get up a little earlier.
      3) I start linkbuilding earlier, do it longer because I have more energy.
      4) Going to bed early will help your rankings.

      Newsflash: Going to bed early will help your SEO as much as social signals.

      Repeat: This thread should have stopped after: No.

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  • Profile picture of the author mikhailblaze
    Nope. Honestly, I don't think so. Google and Twitter formed a partnership though, and I've heard that they're indexing tweets now, so...

    That aside, social signals are never a ranking factor.

    Seriously, it's the same reason why we never see the latest trending topics on Twitter on the top spot of Google's rankings.

    Social media is more of a tool to connect and communicate with your users, not as a tool for SEO. Regardless, both elements are highly important and are two sides of the same coin: they may look at different paths, but they have a single goal.
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  • Profile picture of the author mirko76
    Okay, this is anecdotal and nobody in his right mind should take it as evidence, but anyway:

    I've set up a site in april to play around with social media. I didn't bother with SEO except for having a sitemap.xml and not having a technical train wreck. Every link to my site I dropped somewhere was rel=nofollow so they shouldn't be considered by search engines.

    For about two weeks now I see quite a bit of search traffic coming from Google. I haven't set up Webmaster Tools for this site and I couldn't find any rel=follow links with the usual backlink checkers (yet). Also, I do not see the search terms in my analytics.

    No idea what's going on but I suppose some social media activity at least won't hurt your SEO. But as I wrote, this is N=1.
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    • Profile picture of the author nettiapina
      Originally Posted by mirko76 View Post

      No idea what's going on but I suppose some social media activity at least won't hurt your SEO. But as I wrote, this is N=1.
      Of course not. But that's not what most reasonable people are saying.

      It takes a while for backlink tools to see all the links, so you could have some "followed" links without knowing it. Fairly interesting test, and it's a shame you had so little solid data about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author ankit008
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by ankit008 View Post

      Yes social media optimization best way of increase ranking.
      Originally Posted by zimmerseo View Post

      What experiences have you had to make you come to this conclusion?
      None. Just another moronic spammer.
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      • Profile picture of the author Horsecopulator
        As soon as someone from India/Pakistan/Bangladesh says something regarding SEO I usually just stop reading and leave the thread.

        To answer the already answered topic, no, social media isn't a ranking factor, lol. Please separate factors for traffic and ranking factors from each other.
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  • Profile picture of the author Leatherman
    Ok, I am doing it now. Not for the 50 bucks so please don't abuse me. Here is the story. A few years back I had the most useless website. Still I will not call it much better today, but at least I am now "warrior" and improving. That time I hardly had any , wasted almost 2 month of hard work designing myself the site. No traffic no fun, the usual. Now we start. I am a cobbler and James Bond fan. So I cam to know what are the shoes which Daniel Craig was wearing in Skyfall. The movie was not released yet. So I posted the 4-5 images along with hardly 300 words content on my site. Post title James Bond shoes in Skyfall. Pretty sure that nobody will read the post, I had not even but share buttons up. That I did all later. Now job done I was going back to fb and saw a new post on my feeds about Bond. The hype about the movie was going on. So, I thought why not give that fb bond site owner a message, why not look at the new Bond shoes? Two days later I get the message back "DONE". Two days after I posted it on my site. As you can imagine I got alomost 1000 visitors on the first day on my site and I was busy putting share. buttons up and put more text, later I have added a video, but this was certainly 2 weeks later. Anyhow next day, after the fb link, the fb site itself and my site have been first rank for James Bond shoes. As a James Bond fan, I tell you we look for his dress, cars everything. The manufacturer of his shoes have been ranked even after us.I don't know myself what happened, still then I'm asking myself and may be it helps for this thread. I'm 100% convinced that it was the fb push. Today I can not find any link related to the James Bond shoes and I'm also not ranking on 1 st page, somewhere on 3rd page I guess. That's the true story.
    Leatherman
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  • Profile picture of the author Leatherman
    I type on mobile, so pls forgive me
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  • Profile picture of the author SureshHiten
    Recently I've read a Google update in which i have seen if a site has strong social signal then the site ranking will boost.
    Now you can examine how well your social signal are?
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    • Profile picture of the author Horsecopulator
      Originally Posted by SureshHiten View Post

      Recently I've read a Google update in which i have seen if a site has strong social signal then the site ranking will boost.
      Now you can examine how well your social signal are?
      Please give us a link to this report so we can read all about it.
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      • Profile picture of the author clickstream
        Hey ZimmerSEO,

        I have been trying to contact you. The contact forms (all of them) on your website don't work, they just hang and exit out to the home page after a very long time. I sent email to info at zim...net and called your number at country code 353. The email says what I need so please contact me.

        Regarding social signals, if they include links, yes, they help your SEO. But if not, there is no effect. If there were, this would be the ultimate way to spam the search results very easily. Even links within social media have to pass contextual relevance tests, so using SM to spam links doesn't work very well either. Using social media for viral marketing can work if you can get the fad started, but I think it is a mistake to confuse viral marketing success with SEO success. They can go together, but I think there is only a temporary correlation. Link-based SEO has a much more long term effect.
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        • Profile picture of the author yukon
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          Originally Posted by clickstream View Post

          Regarding social signals, if they include links, yes, they help your SEO.
          Do yourself a favor & stop reading moz, your nofollow social links aren't ranking any pages on Google SERPs.
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  • Profile picture of the author noma01
    In my experience on seo this 2015, Social signal play a link sharing role which increase link popularity but mind you this works better for trending contents. There are two major seo approach for different websites.

    Shopping and services websites has 3 major ranking factor.

    SSL
    Keyword Position
    Content quality plus external referral mentions.

    Content producing websites need links to increase page ranking which will help their organic reach

    Although social signal is important but they are only compliment link building to be popular which may in turns get across many websites. Get other seo aspects right and wait few months to see result.

    This 1netnews forecast on 2015 Seo will help you understand more on what works and what don't work.
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  • Profile picture of the author kilobytestech
    yes!!! social signals does have an impact on our rankings.. even I have experienced the same on several projects..
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