Google and Bing announced in December 2010 that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter influence a website’s ranking in the SERPs. Your reputation on these channels can determine how a page ranks in web search. Meanwhile, another ranking signal was discovered by the New York Times in an exposé about an e-commerce site that rose up the results pages through negative reviews.
On social ranking signals, both search engines already had features that displayed results that were written or shared by people in your digital sphere with Facebook Liked Results for Bing and Social Search for Google. However, these features are different from a regular web search which consists of more ranking factors.
Nonetheless, this update revealed that social media platforms, particularly Twitter, have a significant impact on a page’s performance in the SERPs. Deemed as AuthorRank, a user’s credibility and social authority measured through variables like how many people they follow and how many followers they have can add a little weight to a link in regular search results.
On the other hand, Google also announced that they had developed an algorithmic solution to detect when a website, either intentionally or unwittingly, ranks high in the SERPs because of negative reviews. However, the team didn’t reveal the specific factors such as underlying signals, data sources, and their combined processes to improve the results pages since many might attempt to game the system.
n a video posted by Matt Cutts about social signals, he admitted that social signals were used at the time primarily for real-time search where Facebook posts and tweets were displayed right after publishing. He did caution webmasters, though, not to go and get followers just for the sake of it since, he explained, gaining authority isn’t only about the number of people who follow you, but it’s also based on their quality; not just bots or automated programs.
This function may have influenced the enhancement of Twitter’s verified check marks which were launched in the summer of 2009. It was developed to remove impersonation accounts. Today, it’s still being used to establish authenticity of identities on the microblogging site.
For the negative reviews ranking signal, Google cracked down on the e-commerce website that was featured in the NYT article along with several others that followed the same tactic. The company emphasized that providing horrible customer service to buyers won’t help your business on Google and that they’re working hard to improve search.
Google is still pretty vague when it comes to talking about how much weight it gives to social media posts and shares. While it doesn’t seem to consider links posted on Facebook and Twitter as backlinks, the search engine appears to add authority and credibility to your site when you have an official account on these platforms as well as when your post goes viral.
As with everything else, you shouldn’t merely focus on the number of shares or retweets your link gets but concentrate on providing an overall remarkable impression for your company by: