Simsi - 10:22 pm on Dec 5, 2012 (gmt 0)
In numerous verticals I play in, social signals have made a large difference in ranking.
Not wishing to sound patronising but I assume that's based on your opinion/best judgement? It can't be proved, right?
Here's something I have at the back of my mind, working on the assumption that 99% of SEO *should be* logic/common sense: Having the social elements added to a site to prompt users to get involved is one thing but if Google wants to give users truly authoratative results, it has to find a way to ensure that it doesn't give a non-authoratative site an unfair advantage over an authoratative site that chooses not to add social signals.
Or put another way, the algorithm has to prove to itself a social signal is natural before it can be trusted.
Personally, I think that's hard. It's sometimes possible I'm sure, but with 100% reliability? Not for me. Which is why I think social will remain a bit-part player in algorithmic terms.