A few days ago Bing and Google confirmed that sharing links through Twitter and Facebook have a direct impact on rankings. For those of us who know the SEO game well, have had more than suspicions that this was the case. Most SEO marketers utilise Twitter and Facebook to enhance organic search rankings.
The following is taken from an interview between Google, Bing and Danny Sullivan. I suggest reading the whole interview over at searchengineland.
To quote Google ‘Yes, we do use [Twitter] as a signal. [Twitter] is used as a signal in our organic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our news universal by marking how many people shared an article’
Bing stated ‘ We do look at the social authority of a user. We look at how many people you follow, how many follow you, and this can add a little weight to listings in regular search results. It carries much more weight in Bing Social Search…’
Links shared on Facebook also carry weight, Bing elaborated ‘We look at links shared that are marked as “Everyone,” and links shared from Facebook fan pages’ and Google had this to say ‘We treat links shared on Facebook fan pages the same as we treat tweeted links. We have no personal wall data from Facebook’.
SEO marketers have found it interesting to know that Bing and Google have also admitted to calculating the authority of a link sharer. Bing states’ For known public figures or publishers, we do associate them with who they are’ and Google explains ‘ Yes we do compute and use author quality’.
It is good to know that what we have been doing is correct and we can carry on as normal but with more conviction. However, we can only guess what the exact details of the Google and Bing algorithm are. How does it calculate the authority of links shared on Twitter and Facebook? We can only guess but I think randfish the man behind SEOmoz has some great ideas, check out what he had to say.
To reiterate what randfish guesses, here is a list of some possible factors influencing search engine calculations when it comes to Twitter and Facebook.
- Links shared by lots of unique users is good, lots of links shared by the same user is bad.
- There is a difference between a link shared rapidly due to it being new and a link that is continued to be shared as time moves on. The new new vs. long lasting interest.
- It is probably good to add a short description of the link when sharing (something like an anchor text).
- The more people who engage (retweets, likes etc) with the link will most likely give it more authority.
What factors do Google and Bing think are important when calculating the authority of a person sharing the link (basically if Barack Obama is sharing a link that carries about million times more authority then if I share a link).
- How many friends or followers do you have and how many people do you follow?
- Who are your friends?
- Do you share links about a hundred different topics or are you an expert in a particular field? If you are an expert in a particular field then when you share links in this field you probably have more authority than someone who shares the same link but is a general sharer.
- In the light of the recent attacks on Google for hard coding its own links, it may be wise to suspect Google and Bing of association bias. Facebook and Twitter users who have association with Google or Bing may be given more authority.
This is by no means a complete list and also a list of guesses but some pretty well educated guesses.
Keep on keeping on.