Recently Google’s Matt Cutts definitively stated that social signals such as Facebook likes and Twitter followers are not being used by their ranking algorithms. From Google’s point of view the reason for that is simple: It is unstable considering Facebook, Twitter and other social websites could ‘cut off’ their ability to view those metrics.
Still Indirectly Beneficial
Although social signals may not be directly beneficial to SEO rankings, it is no coincidence that for some time now marketers and SEO experts have noticed a correlation between the two.
Essentially, the indirect benefits of a strong social presence extends to SEO in a variety of ways:
• Website content will gain more exposure and is more likely to gain backlinks
• Fans of the brand are more likely to become repeat visitors to the website and bounce rates will be reduced
• Better PR results in happier customers which translates to increased positive reviews in Yelp, Google Local and so on
Add to that the fact that a strong social presence is directly beneficial to a website in terms of the traffic that it can generate, and it is safe to say that social’s impact is still substantial despite Google’s algorithm not utilizing its signals.
The fact of the matter is that the web is getting more and more social by the day. While social’s implications in 2014 do not seem likely to be any different from what they were in 2013, its indirect benefits to SEO still make it worth serious consideration.
Also: While social signals may not currently be in use, even Matt Cutts has admitted that it is likely to