For years a lot of people have said social media plays a part in SEO. It’s great for building a brand, advertising promotions, and engaging with fans and customers, but how important is it to Google? Are there really social signals that play a part in Google’s algorithm and therefore affect rankings?
Matt Cutts answered this question back in 2010 and his response was clear: “We do use Twitter and Facebook links in ranking as we always have in our web search rankings.” You can see the video below:
Matt Cutts recently answered this question again and this time his response wasn’t as clear. The actual question was, “Are Facebook and Twitter signals part of the ranking algorithm? How much do they matter?
Cutts said, “Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index and so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it, then we can return that in our search results. But as far as doing special, specific work to sort of say oh you have this many followers on Twitter or this many likes on Facebook, to the best of my knowledge we don’t currently have any signals like that in our web search ranking algorithms.”
Cutts also says, “Don’t necessarily assume that just because there is a signal on Facebook or Twitter that Google is able access that.”
The reason for this is because Google has had one experience where they were blocked from crawling these social sites for about a month and a half. He says it’s not worth doing a lot of special engineering work to extract data when they might get blocked again in the future.
His video response can be seen here:
So in one video it’s a definitive yes while the latest video kind of bounces around the topic without ever really saying yes and no. Welcome to the world of SEO. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: SEO is an ever-changing environment that’s completely unpredictable. What works today might not work tomorrow.