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Google Confirms - Social Media Signals Are Used in Some Search Results
tedster




msg:4237508
 7:01 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Danny Sullivan has published an excellent article at SearchEngineLand about Social Media signals and Google search results - and Bing as well. He's not just making general observations, either. He actually interviewed spokespeople from these two predominant search engines.

1) If an article is retweeted or referenced much in Twitter, do you count that as a signal outside of finding any non-nofollowed links that may naturally result from it?

Google:
Yes, we do use it as a signal. It is used as a signal in our organic and news rankings...

3) Do you calculate whether a link should carry more weight depending on the person who tweets it?

Google:
Yes we do use this as a signal, especially in the "Top links" section [of Google Realtime Search]. Author authority is independent of PageRank, but it is currently only used in limited situations in ordinary web search.

[searchengineland.com...]

 

tedster




msg:4237523
 7:20 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

That bit about authority being a signal that is distinct from PageRank sounds like a big clue to me. The nofollow attributes still stop a link from sending PageRank, as "advertised". But it doesn't mean that a social media mention won't influence the SERP at all.

It's also interesting that they do use the "authority" of the person posting as signal. This would, to some degree at least, help to prevent gaming the social signal with bots and mechanical turks.

tedster




msg:4237542
 8:05 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Danny Sullivan just tweeted some unpublished information from the two interviews that's got my wheels turning:

didn't get into it, but both have previously said they can associate page title into shared links.

[twitter.com...]


Sounds to me like sharing your article with its exact title could help in assuring that your page ranks instead of scrapers.

aristotle




msg:4237545
 8:13 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here are some of my ideas on the differences between PageRank and AuthorityRank

-- A dofollow link transfers both PageRank and AuthorityRank.

-- A nofollow link transfers some AuthorityRank but no PageRank.

-- Mentions of a site name or brand name without a link may also increase AuthorityRank

engine




msg:4237548
 8:22 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

There was an interesting discussion on this in the WebmasterWorld Supporters area in October.
[webmasterworld.com...]
Note: WebmasterWorld Supporters subscription required.

tedster




msg:4237552
 8:29 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

There was another confirmation here about Facebook signals too - where a product page that was discontinued for nine years suddenly began to rank after it "went viral" on Facebook.

Here's yet another related discussion: SEO is from Mars, SMM is from Venus [webmasterworld.com]. I think Google's comments in today's interview should help remove some of the doubts expressed in that discussion.

Rlilly




msg:4237557
 8:41 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Very interesting. I know some folks who will take a fee to make a tweet. So know there will be paidtweet spam?

goodroi




msg:4237584
 9:51 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

i dont think social media siganls are used in some results. personally i think they are used in most results.

social media has provided many direct & indirect benefits for my rankings. i still do not understand why most seo people i talk still do not have a social media strategy. there is a great potential for synergy.

tedster




msg:4237587
 9:55 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

there will be paidtweet spam?

Has been for a while.

Tallon




msg:4237591
 10:02 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

So would contest entry tweets and retweets be kosher or no? A lot of bloggers in my niche do this (tweet my site link for an extra contest entry or follow my twitter account for an extra entry or link to my page from your facebook account for an extra entry or friend my facebook page...etc., etc.) and I never got on that bandwagon because my perception is that those are "incentivized" links that will burn my site in the end...but my perception isn't what matters, it's google's that counts.

Good idea to run with that or no? Thoughts?

tedster




msg:4237594
 10:05 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

No one outside Google knows all the factors - but note that Google did say they take the authority of the posting person into account.

Rlilly




msg:4237596
 10:06 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

This all comes back to "content is king". The better the content the more likely it will be tweeted, stumbledupon ect

Whitey




msg:4237603
 10:16 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

-- A nofollow link transfers some AuthorityRank but no PageRank.

-- Mentions of a site name or brand name without a link may also increase AuthorityRank


This has been my non scientific hunch for a long time

If a search engine knows that an authority source restricts it's implemented links with no follows , it may also by implication in this context, use this an an endorsement of the authority that it is passing to the recipient site.

Link juice may not be " followed " through , but other ranking factors may be transferred. I can't believe that Google does not consider this contextual data. In fact , with the abuse [ in Google's eyes ] of paid linking , data like this must surely feed into Google's algorithmn as one of the many factors. Any thoughts ? Fact or fiction ? [webmasterworld.com...]


Google would seem to score pages by various methods of association. Don't confuse this with " link juice" , but i continue to believe no follow links or brand domain name usage can be useful. Social media signals may be part of that overall consideration , stronger or weaker I'd have no idea.

When hearing directly from the source , ie Matt Cutts and others , we have to be very careful on the ambiguity surrounding the interpretation which becomes technically confusing. This input looks much more direct and fortunately it's been cross checked between two different search engine personnel.

It's amazing how one search engine can track the others intent. With that understanding , more transparent information should be accessible , in my view , since the other SE acts on it or understands it .

Tallon




msg:4237611
 10:29 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

but note that Google did say they take the authority of the posting person into account.


Right...but if you're regularly doing "giveaways" and "contests" that incorporate retweeting, facebook "likes" and "friending" and subscribing to twitter accounts, etc., it wouldn't take long for you to have an "authority" twitter or facebook account (due to all the signups and retweets and facebook likes to get in on the freebie giveaway).

There's some really creative promotions going on that used to say: link to this post from your blog or website and you'll get an extra entry...but that stopped (due to fears of incentivized linking probably) and moved toward "link using your twitter and facebook accounts". It's a great way to build buzz that's for sure and I've seen sites get a tonne of links, tweets, retweets, etc., and thousands of new subscribers using this method.

Another thought: what about blog badges or site badges? Some sites in my niche will link out to another site and offer a linked badge for the link(ee) to add to their site (saying something like "as featured on siteabc123dotcom)...it's totally voluntary with an unspoken understanding that those who do add the badges to their websites will be more likely to get more links in the future.

There are a lot of things a person can do to generate some (manipulated) buzz and build authority accounts, I'm just really unsure of what's ok and what isn't ok or what's ok now won't be ok in the future.

tedster




msg:4237621
 10:43 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

The best bet is to be actually doing what it "looks like" you are doing. In other words, don't do anything only because it could improve your rankings. It's usually the deception that Google ends up penalizing. If you generate genuine interest in your content, then you are usually very safe.

MrFewkes




msg:4237626
 10:57 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

To quite whitey.
"When hearing directly from the source , ie Matt Cutts and others , we have to be very careful on the ambiguity surrounding the interpretation which becomes technically confusing"

When something cutts comes out with is ambiguous - then you know you need to look a little deeper - it simply means he is hiding something.

MrFewkes




msg:4237629
 10:59 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Quite - quote :/

Also - when something cutts blurts out is obviously totally easy and accurate - then its also probably common knowledge and/or of little or utterly zero value to anyone.

Tallon




msg:4237635
 11:04 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I know tedster but...and there's always a but lol...my site will lose ground to those that are using those methods (if they're fine). That's my problem.

What I'd like to see Google say: do promotional activity as you see fit, you won't be harmed by it. We may not count the retweets, likes, followers, feature badge links, etc., that were garnered through the promotional activity, but you won't be penalized or knocked a tic down for it either...now or ever.

That's all I'm asking for. Otherwise, if the "gray area activity" really is kosher with google and I don't partake because the lines are fuzzy and I'm unsure...my site loses out while others gain momentum.

I realize it's sick to let a search engine dictate how to promote my website, but this one is a biggy that I don't mess with in any way, shape or form. I'd hate to wash away years of hard work because I manipulated retweets for a giveaway and google decided that tweets and facebook followers count for something after all so they want them to be un-incentivized (just like they did with linking).

tedster




msg:4237637
 11:10 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, if your competition is engaging the market via social media and you are not, then you might be missing something important. Google will reflect that. Remember the Cluetrain Manifesto quote: "Markets are conversations".

AlyssaS




msg:4237656
 11:42 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've had one instance where tweets helped rank a page of mine.

Basically I'd recommended a product in conjunction with something else, and the manufacturer of that product picked up my page (because they had a Google alert set up?) and tweeted about it.

The page suddenly surged into the top ten after the tweet, then came and went from the the bottom of the first page for a few months, and then moved into the top three.

My guess as to what happened is that G knew that the tweeter was an authority because their twitter account was linked to from their website (so their authority wasn't just based on twitter followers, but based on reference from their website which was trusted).

My page then went on "trial" and I presume they moved it up to the top three because of user experience (people weren't backspacing back into the SERPs).

It's lovely when this happens, but very rare. I don't see how you could game authority like this, though you could attract attention by making yourself more visible.

netmeg




msg:4237674
 12:47 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

If Google is paying attention to my twitter stream, I should expect a precipitous drop in anything connected with me.

Whitey




msg:4237675
 12:50 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Interesting article released today on this type of theme :How to game Google: make customers hate you [smh.com.au...]

It has a link to Google's blog of earlier in the year : [googleblog.blogspot.com...] by Amit Singhal . Worth a read in the context of this thread.

indyank




msg:4237712
 4:26 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's also interesting that they do use the "authority" of the person posting as signal. This would, to some degree at least


I see a lot of risk there as in the current world,determining a person as clean is not that easy...unless a person is clean, we cannot say him to have real authority...

and as someone said about the paid tweets, we are going to see a huge jump in paid tweets and paid "likes", just like the paid links...

but it is good that these signals are not used widely (if it were true) and hope they don't make it so...

but it surely paves way for a new (or a much improved) revenue stream to online celebrities...

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4237803
 11:51 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

You don't need an actual text link to give a "vote" anymore. Talking/writing about something/someone is good enough.

Seoering




msg:4237837
 2:05 pm on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I noticed this a couple of months ago regarding tweets from Katy Perry and Kayne West. Very interesting to see confirmation from Microsoft and Google.

Rlilly




msg:4237855
 2:45 pm on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Tallon
I dont think there are any grey areas. If you exchanging money, coupons, discounts, favors ect for a tweet, FB like, bookmark it is black according to G. Asking your customers to write about you for something in return is black. G only wants to count neutral editorial tweets, links...

jimbeetle




msg:4237868
 3:09 pm on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've had one instance where tweets helped rank a page of mine.

Sorry in advance, I can't find my bookmark to it at the moment.

Somebody did a nicely controlled test a few months ago that showed tweeting a new post or page drastically cut down on the time it took for Googlebot to visit the page (the number I remember is 80 seconds), and also the time it took to appear in the index.

And your other observations about Twitter authority, etc., tie in perfectly with what Google passed on in Danny's article.

Robert Charlton




msg:4238219
 6:11 am on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

jimbeetle - I vaguely remember the discussion you mention, but I can't find it. Here's a very useful thread from May 12 along similar lines, perhaps the one you're thinking about, that you might want to bookmark if you haven't....

Getting New Sites Crawled Using Twitter
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4131659.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Rlilly




msg:4238352
 3:52 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Since a lot of links are shortened in Social Media. How does that effect things. I hear some shorterners make it difficult for the SE to follow the content?

drall




msg:4238377
 4:21 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Told ya...

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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