“It’s been proven: tweets and retweets affect Google rankings”, wrote Branded3’s head of social media, Steve Creek, in a guest blog for Brightfire. Steve’s statement is not just another speculation about what has long been a putative link between social and search but is based on a rigorous study that Branded3 conducted, which found a correlation between tweets and search rankings. Eureka!
Now another report, this time by Searchmetrics, claims to have found proof that social shares on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ closely correlate with how a website ranks in Google search, according to Econsultancy.
Of all the social signals studied, unsurprisingly, Google’s very own social website Google+ has the strongest correlation with search rankings. Outwith Google’s products, Facebook shares are the metrics having the highest impact on search rankings, followed by total Facebook activity, Facebook comments and Facebook likes. Tweets are the sixth strongest social value behind Facebook and Google+.
What do these findings mean for SEO?
- Social signals are the most important factors affecting how a website ranks on Google so here’s yet another reason why you should focus your attention on engaging your online communities on Facebook and Twitter.
- Google+ has not yet seen a significant uptake but is definitely the one to watch as it is the social website with the strongest correlation with Google search rankings.
- On-page content factors, such as keyword in H1, title character length and position of keyword in title are not as important as they used to be.
- The quantity and the quality of backlinks still counts – in fact, number of backlinks is the third most important search ranking factor, according to the study.
Ultimately, all these findings emphasise the importance of building your online marketing strategy around quality social content. Not only will you gain better visibility but you will be Google-proof against future search algorithm updates.
Image credit: Searchmetrics.com