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It’s not hard to see that social media, especially sites like Facebook and Twitter, play a role, no matter how big or small, in everyday life. Now, more than ever, companies and individuals are trying to find ways to leverage their authority on social media networks so that they can achieve higher organic search rankings on search engines such as Google and Bing.
Google says that they consider social media links, such as those from sites like Facebook and Twitter, the same as any other links (URLs ending in .edu, .com, .gov, etc). One of the problems with Facebook links are that some links are tied to pages that are “private”, thus, Google cannot crawl those pages or find those links. Since Google cannot crawl the links on Facebook pages labeled “private,” using a fan page, including a company, brand, or public figure page, which is publicly accessible, will give Google access to crawl links from that page which will then have some weight in the search rankings.
Most links on Twitter are “no follow” because of the possibility of spamming and link crowding. But now, the Twitter Firehose, a constant stream of people’s tweets, does allow, in some cases, links to be recognized and credible. Bing says that they do take into consideration how often links are being tweeted or retweeted, as well as the credibility and authority of the Twitter user that shares the link.
For Twitter, it makes sense to optimize your page for search engines as much as possible. Google uses your Twitter bio as the meta description of your Twitter profile on search results so make sure to utilize your targeted keywords in your bio. Also, optimize your tweets with keywords and make them “retweet-worthy” because studies have shown that tweets that utilize keywords can increase your search rankings.
The social, or author authority, of the person tweeting a link is always taken into consideration. It is obvious that the more followers a person has on Twitter, the more socially authoritative that person will be, but also consider the authority of that person’s followers as well. Links that are tweeted by people with higher authority will weigh heavier in the search engines than those links that are tweeted by people with lesser authority. This concept of social authority is more difficult with Facebook but Bing tries to determine the quality of a link shared on Facebook by leveraging Twitter to see if the same link was shared in both places by the same person.
Here are a few factors that determine your social authority:
- The number of Facebook Fans on you Fan Page
- The number of Twitter followers you have
- The number of “shares” and “likes” on Facebook
- The number of tweets and retweets on Twitter
- The ratio between the number of people you follow and those who follow you on Twitter
- The social authority of the people that follow you and share your content
Unlinked accounts, Single Grain appears as the second to last link on the first page.
In our experience, if your Twitter or Facebook account is linked to your Google account, then the search engine rankings of those who you “follow” or “like” will increase. For example, when you search “web analytics tools” on Google the Single Grain link appears as the eight ranking. But, if you follow @singlegrain on Twitter, and you have your Google account linked with your Twitter account, when you search “web analytics tools” on Google, the Single Grain link appears in the top three search rankings.
Linked accounts, Single Grain appears as the number one organic link.
Based on our research, we can say that links from social media networks do pass link juice and have an impact on search engine rankings. Second, we can speculate that Facebook “shares” provide more link juice than “likes,” and finally, that Facebook is greater than Twitter in terms of links being able to inflate search rankings.