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Does Google use data from social sites in ranking?

07 Jan 2011

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This video article comes directly from Google’s Webmaster Central Channel, which answers the question best. Below the video you will find a complete transcript of the video, we hope that it helps you decide as to whether you or your business needs to be involved in social networking or business social networking!

The question answered by the video is…

A recent article of Danny Sullivan suggests that Google uses Twitter and Facebook links as a ranking signal. Can you confirm this? Can you elaborate a little bit more on this?

Video Transcript

All right, we’re back for another round of Webmaster Questions.

A lot of questions today, we have almost 500 so we won’t get to all of those, but there were a lot of really interesting ones.

Let’s start off with the most popular one which came from WebSEOAnalytics, they asked…

Hello Matt, a recent article of Danny Sullivan suggests that Google uses Twitter and Facebook links as a ranking signal. Can you confirm this? Can you elaborate a little bit more on this?

Ah, yes I can confirm it; we do use Twitter and Facebook rankings as we always have in our web search rankings, but in addition we are also trying to figure out a little bit about the reputation of an author or creator on Twitter or Facebook and let me just give you a little bit of background on that. I filmed a video back in May 2010 where I said that we didn’t use that as a signal and at the time we did not use it as a signal, but now we’re taping this in December 2010 and we are using this as a signal.

So the exhaustive place if you are looking for comprehensive information is to lookup Danny Sullivan’s article and we will leave this as a link to the description of the video, but essentially to give you a little bit more of a background and a little more colour.

The web search quality team has a lot of different groups and a lot of different offices so people including the original blog search team, people whom worked on real time search have been working on using these sorts of things as a signal. So… primarily it has been used a little bit more in the real time sort of search where you might see individual tweets or other links showing up and streaming up on the page. We’re studying how much sense it makes to use it a little more widely within our web search rankings.

Now there’s’ a few things to remember…

  1. If we can’t crawl a page, if we can’t see a page then we cannot really assign page ranking to it and it doesn’t really count. So if we are able to collect the data then we can use it, but you know if for some reason a page is forbidden for us to crawl or we are not able to obtain it somehow then we wouldn’t be able to use it within our rankings. This is something that is used relatively lightly for now and we will see how much we use it over time, depending on how useful it is and how robust it ends up being. The one thing I would caution people about is don’t necessarily say to yourself, aha now I’m going to go out and get reciprocal follows and I’m gonna get a ton of followers, just like people used to get a ton of links. In the same way as page rank depends on not just the number of links but the quality of those links you have to think about is what are the followers who mean quality you know who are the people who actually are not just bots you know or some software program or things like that.

So it is a signal that we are starting to use a bit more but you will see it most within our real time search results as it is streaming through, but we are looking at it more broadly within web search as well.


Google Webmaster Central Channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleWebmasterHelp

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