A few months ago Search Engine Watch writer Gareth Owen wrote a post entitled “Top 13 Social Media Ranking Factors for SEO” that discussed what social search signals the major search engines are likely taking into consideration when using social media data in their search algorithms. There are a few that I would like to point out and further discuss here.
1. Quality of followers
Some would say that the more followers a brand/company/person has on Twitter, the better. While quantity is important, I would argue that the quality of those followers is going to be more heavily weighed than the quantity. Just like anything else deemed important for SEO, once the search engines started looking at Twitter as a part of their algorithms, the black hat SEO practitioners and spammers are quick to try and game the system by creating dozens (if not hundreds) of fake profiles in order to boost their follower numbers. These profiles exist solely to reTweet the parent profile.
I would argue that having real, human followers (especially social media influencers) connected with your Twitter profile is worth much more in the long run then a bunch of ghost profiles.
2. Number of reTweets
The number of reTweets ties into content relevancy and authority. When search engines see that a link has been reTweeted by hundreds of different users, it’s the social community announcing to the search engines that “Yes, this is good information and deserves to be treated as such.” Ever since Google incorporated social search into the main body of search results, the more reTweets a company has, the more times their name is going to show up in the social search results. This kind of activity is a great way to increase brand recognition.
3. Number of Facebook comments
Having 5,000 fans is awesome! Having 5,000 fans that care enough to interact on your Facebook Fan page and leave comments is better. As Owen said, “A large number of likes, but little engagement, is a sure sign of someone gaming the system.” More interaction on your Facebook Fan page let’s you know that you are doing something right, that what you are doing with your brand is encouraging consumers to get involved.
4. Negative vs. Positive Brand Mentions
This is why it is important to brands to actively be monitoring the social networks, as social media ties directly into online brand reputation management. Bad reviews on any social network are shared in a matter of seconds and can spread like wildfire unless appropriately handled. Good reviews are a sure sign that you are doing something right. While not perfect, search engines have already taken steps to measure the good and bad comments about brands in the social networking universe.
So to recap, SEO will continue to evolve and build and social media factors will continue to play a role in an overall search program.