There are still many in the search engine optimization industry that are fighting the concept that Google (and Bing) is taking social signals into account at a high level when determining search rankings.
These people fall into three categories:
- Those who haven’t had the ability or desire to test it. If you test it thoroughly, it becomes extremely clear that it’s real.
- Those who do not have the ability to generate and promote high quality, shareable content as part of their SEO strategy. If you can’t do it, you might as well pretend like it doesn’t exist.
- Those who have read the blog posts of either of the previous two and took the opinions as truth.
The reality is that, based upon extensive testing that we’ve been running (not to mention some of the things that Google has said over the last couple of years), social signals have a significant impact on the overall SEO of websites.
There’s another thing to consider, though, as pointed out by Search Engine Watch last month. Google is paying attention to social signals through Google Analytics. Some might say that it’s a natural addition to the service since people consider social media to be an important part of their overall marketing, but that’s simply not how Google works. If they add something to Analytics, it’s because they consider it to be important. There’s no need for them to track it if they aren’t considering it in some algorithm, and the most likely algorithm that social signals could effect is their search ranking algorithm.
When Google says something with their actions, it behooves those in SEO to listen. Are you listening?