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How much does social media affect Google rankings?

How much does social media affect Google rankings?

This is a question now asked perhaps more than any other online; to what extent does social media affect your sites rankings in Google?
Is there really a direct correlation between social media activity and search engine ranking domination?
We’ve taken it from the horses mouth.  Above is a video from Matt Cutts, head of Webspam at Google that outlines the impact social media has on search engine rankings and here are a few things to consider.

Does the number of Facebook Likes or Twitter Followers you have directly affect your ranking in Google?

Matt Cutts explains that to the best of his knowledge Google does not currently have any mechanism that uses these signals.  In other words the number of followers you have on Twitter or the number of people that like your Facebook page does not directly correlate to a higher ranking in Google.

Why doesn’t it take this into consideration?

Two reasons are given for this:

1. Social Networks potentially blocking Google from crawling their pages

Google crawls the web in order to provide us all with the best and most relevant sites related to our search queries.  One major social media network blocked Google from crawling its pages for around 6 weeks and it sounds like this may well have annoyed Google just a little bit.
They say that their engineers would be reluctant to build advanced systems to crawl those pages when the social network has previously restricted access and could do so at any point in the future.

2. Keeping a pace with changing circumstances on social media

When Google crawls the web it provides the user with a snapshot in time i.e. if Google visit your site today then it will crawl and understand the information and content on it at that specific moment in time.  What they’re saying is that this is imperfect for social media and the results they are able to return for social sites wouldn’t be perfect.
For example, if someone were to block another person or change their relationship status moments after Google had crawled the site then their search results would no longer be insightful, representative or up to date.

But I see sights with big social media presences ranking really well in Google – surely they’re linked?

This is referred to as correlation not causation.
The reasons people like a Facebook page or link to a website article are the same.
For example if you’ve posted an amazing image on your Facebook page then people may well like your post.  Throw that forward to your blog; same amazing image, same result but with people linking to it and sharing it rather than liking it.
At the heart is amazing content; it’ll have a big social media presence for the same reasons people will link to it, but it won’t rank higher because of those social media likes in isolation.

What do you need to take away?

As if we didn’t already know, content is the key, the king and the rainmaker.  By creating content that people will want to share and link to you’ll be creating buzz around your site and ultimately an upturn in your ranking fortunes.
For more information on how we can help you create great content, increase search engine rankings or punch harder with your social media activity please give us a call on 01566 784860 or email

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