It has long been speculated exactly how much influence Facebook and Twitter have when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Since a lot of social networking sites implement nofollow values on links, it has long been said that while Facebook and Twitter are valuable in your overall SEO approach, link building and making your site SEO friendly are far more important when looking at the big picture.
However, a recent interview with both Google and Bing lends credibility to the overall impact Facebook, Twitter, and social media in general have in your SEO activity. SearchEngineLand.com reports that Google uses over 200 ranking factors when deciding where a page should appear in the search engine results pages, or SERPs.
Specifically, Google stated in the article that they pay attention to the data found in the Twitter “firehose”, that is a constant stream of what people are tweeting about in real time. In that data stream, links do not carry nofollow attributes as they do on your regular Twitter page. Google stated that if an article is retweeted or heavily referenced on Twitter, any included links are included as a ranking signal despite being listed as nofollow on the users Twitter page. Awesome!
Your Twitter reputation matters as well! Google and Bing both said they take into consideration the authority of the author when calculating ranking signals. Google specifically refers to it as author quality, while Bing mentions making associations with known public figures or publishers. Google and Bing also said that a link will carry more weight for the ranking calculation depending upon the person who tweets it.
Facebook is a little more obscure. Google and Bing both say they treat links shared on Facebook just like tweeted links, although getting specific user data might be a bit more difficult is the link isn’t marked to be shared with “Everyone”. The major difference here is while Bing calculates authority data on Twitter based on the individual Twitter user, the same calculation is not made on Facebook based on the individual Facebook user. Google, on the other hand, claims to extend the same treatment to Facebook as they do to Twitter with respect to user authority.
This is a very interesting interview that I would recommend any Webmaster to read. OurChurch.Com also has an SEO Tools and Tips section on our website which provides additional resources for increasing traffic to your website using Search Engine Optimization.
Will Google and Bing’s acknowledgment that links posted to Facebook and Twitter influence search rankings impact the way you use social media?