Well, if you’ve heard the latest statement given by Matt Cutts, which was in January 2014, you’re probably confused whether social signals impact a website’s rankings or not. And maybe rightly so, as Matt Cutts is looked upon as someone highly authoritative on how Google’s search algorithm works.
Confusing statements by Matt Cutts
However, he is also someone who hasn’t stuck to a specific view on social signals. In May 2010, when Cutts publicly commented for the first time on social signals and whether they impact search engine rankings or not, he said that Google’s algorithm doesn’t take social signals into account for ranking websites. Then, in December of the same year, he further announced that the search algorithm does take social signals into account while coming up with the rankings.
Social signals do reflect a website’s actual popularity. Click To Tweet
Now, coming to the latest statement he has given on the matter, which was in the January of last year, he again told that social signals don’t actually impact a website’s ranking in Google. This is almost a shock for the Internet marketing community, as all these years almost every Internet marketer was living and working under the impression that social signals do form a major and important part of a website’s SEO strategy.
However, if Cutts latest statement is completely true, then all these years tons of marketers have been throwing millions of dollars on something that doesn’t even matter. But, if that was the case, wouldn’t anybody realize it? After all, one does expect results when they invest such a huge amount of money and efforts into something.
Why social signals still matter?
Well, keeping aside what Cutts told on the matter, and taking into consideration the way rankings have behaved to changes in the social signals count, one can probably easily conclude that social signals do matter. In fact, they seem to be mattering more than ever. Also, if some of the surprising ranking results are something to go by, it seems that social signals are probably the new SEO.
After all, social media has become more important than ever in the lives of people throughout the globe, and hence social signals do reflect a website’s actual popularity. Also, quite importantly, regardless of whether social signals matter in the rankings of a website or not, they definitely seem to offer quite a few advantages.
What exactly do they bring to the table?
Social signals help bring in quality and targeted traffic. Social media sites are growing at a record pace, and so is the traffic websites get from them. Hence, ignoring social signals would mean saying no to such a massive amount of traffic which could well change into tons of dollars for any business.
A surprising fact
Well, while doing SEO and making a SEO strategy for a particular website, probably all one takes into consideration is Google’s algorithm and how it would react to it. The reason behind it is the fact that Google is a pretty much dominant force among all the search engines, where about 90 percent organic traffic seems to be coming from it.
However, there’s also a surprising little fact most of the people forget about. They forget that these major social media sites too are a search engine in themselves. The reason the actual traffic coming from them can’t be seen in the analytics is because most of it goes to the social page of a particular website or company, and not directly to the website.
However, the people landing on the website’s social page too are very much interested in what it’s offering, and interacts with it in a rather real way.
Understanding Cutts’ statement in a bit more detailed manner
Okay, so though Cutts mentioned that social signals do not have any special impact on the rankings of a website in Google search engine, a little detailed analysis of his statement does reveal a few relieving facts.
He mentioned that Facebook and Twitter pages are considered as the same as any other pages on the web. So, if Google is able to crawl them, they’ll take them into account in the same way as they do other pages. What this seemingly means is that though the authority of your social media accounts may not impact your website’s search rankings, the links posted on them surely can. After all, they might still be getting counted as backlinks, and that obviously matters.
A look at some interesting research
Well, despite the surprising statement from Cutts, the research done by quite a few SEO experts and some authoritative SEO agencies reveals some interesting results. Firstly, one can go back to the video released by Matt Cutts. He had also mentioned in his statement that Danny Sullivan has asked Google and Bing directly about the effect social signals have on a website’s rankings. Surprisingly, both search engines replied to his question saying that how a person is looked upon on Twitter can have an impact on a page’s search rankings.
There a couple of interesting things one can make out from this statement. Firstly, both the search engines, including Google, agreed that a person’s Twitter profile and the authority that revolves around it may play a role in their page’s search rankings. Secondly, they didn’t mention any other social networks but Twitter. This somewhat hints to the fact that Twitter, as a social network, might be having more influence over a website’s rankings than its other counterparts.
However, this isn’t exactly surprising. After all, though only very few people seem to be aware of it, a deal seems to have been signed by Google and Twitter to work together. Maybe they’ve realized the benefits that await them if they work together.
The first result of the deal was tweets from Twitter starting to appear in the search results, which otherwise would be looked upon as something quite surprising. After all, Google+ didn’t actually work out well for Google, probably leaving no way but to resort to getting into a deal with Twitter again.
Now, coming to the second interesting fact, the numerous researches and studies done by various SEO experts and reputed agencies such as SearchMetrics, social signals affecting the search rankings seem to be way more than a false belief.
A final word
A final word
After going through the above highly unique and useful information, one can probably easily conclude that social signals are far from being something worth avoiding.