How far along is Google from using social media signals as ranking factors?
Can Google use engagement and follower metrics from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other Social Media Networks to evaluate the authority of an individual?
To me, the answers to those questions were the buried headlines in a Google Webmaster Help video (embedded below) by Matt Cutts. Even though Matt is currently on an extended hiatus from his job as head of Google’s webspam team, I believe what he had to say in this video remains the case today.
How does social media affect SEO?
Are Facebook and Twitter Signals Part of the Google Ranking Algorithms? That’s the question that Matt Cutts chose to answer in this video. Let’s break down the main ideas in his answer:
1. Facebook and Twitter posts are treated like any other web pages for search.
2. Google is limited in how much of the social web it can crawl.
3. Google does NOT currently use signals like Facebook or Twitter followers for search ranking.
4. “Because we’re sampling an imperfect web, we have to worry a lot about identity, when identity is already hard.”
5. Social signal correlations with higher rankings for sites do not equal causation of those rankings.
6. Be on social media not for search rankings but to build up your brand and drive qualified traffic.
7. Understanding identity and social connections for ranking purposes is a long term project.