Does Twitter and Facebook matter for SEO?


Does Twitter and Facebook matter for SEO?

Over the last few years SEO’s have debated on whether social signals have any effect on search results and if they do how much weight do these social signals carry.

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of web spam has released a new video answering whether or not Facebook and Twitter signals are part of the search algorithm and the answer is... No!

Matt Cutts cleared up any confusion by saying Google doesn’t give Facebook or Twitter pages any special treatment and that these pages are treated like any other pages on the web.

He specified that Google doesn’t do any special indexing for websites to determine how many likes or tweets a specific page has.

Why doesn’t Google include social signals within their algorithm?

In the past Google’s crawlers have been blocked by certain social networking sites. Matt explains that it would require a lot of special engineering to enable them to extract that type of information which would be risky and potentially pointless if these social sites turn round and block their crawlers.

Google is also concerned about outdated information which could be harmful to users. For example, if Google crawls the page and then shortly after the page content changes but Google doesn’t see these changes for a period of time, the outdated information Google would be returning within their search results may be harmful.

SEO’s in the past have thought there were social signals within Google’s algorithm because articles that have had lots of likes or retweets have also ranked highly within Google’s search results, however Matt explains that this could be down to the pages just being really good content and receive a lot of links from other websites as well as likes on Facebook or retweets on Twitter.  

Regardless Matt elaborates on how useful social media can be to a business and that there is still a lot of value using these sites to draw in a lot of traffic, educate your audience with informative content and is also a great way to increase brand awareness. 

Social signals may not be part of Google’s algorithm right now, but I would be surprised if it won’t be in the future. 

Luke Stanley