Last week, Danny Sullivan posted an extremely interesting post regarding social signals and the correlation they have with organic ranking in Google and Bing. Google recently stated that they have over 200 factors in the ranking algorithm and each one of the factors may have several variations within each as well. Now with one of these factors being ‘social rank’ how much of an affect does social have on rankings?
The ‘Social Ranking’ Concept
Both Google and Bing have stated that they utilize social signals as a part of their organic ranking algorithm. The idea behind it is that if you’re an authoritative Twitter account tweeting out links that some organic value should come from it. The more authoritative the Twitter user the more value a tweet will be worth.
URL Shortner Effects?
It’s extremely common for Twitter users to utilize a URL shortner within a tweet. What I would like to know is if using a URL shortner causes any loss of value within these ‘social votes’. Assuming the shortner is using a 301 redirect can we assume all the value is passed? If we were to cannibalize tweets by posting the full URL would we get additional ‘social juice’? Only time will tell the answers to these questions.
Will Buying Twitter Accounts / Tweets Be The Next “Thing”?
Now that Google and Bing have openly admitted to social accounts adding value to organic rankings, do we have to worry about SPAM? How about people looking to purchase authoritative Twitter accounts? I haven’t found anything official in the Twitter T.O.S. (outside of squatting) but I can’t imagine Google or Bing supporting this. Just like links and PageRank (to an extent) there are reasons why some accounts offer more value then others. Simply purchasing authoritative accounts would be an easy way to game the ranking algorithm.
Let’s go further and imagine that in a perfect world no authoritative Twitter user would sell their account. What about individual Tweets? If I offer you $200 to send out 140 characters advertising my site would you say NO? I truly would be ecstatic to see everyone deny these offers but on the other hand I do understand that people like to eat too! If ‘social rank’ truly plays a role in organic rankings then we should all be prepared for these types of SPAM… I mean tweets.
‘Social Rank’ Will Probably Die in 2011
Considering the 200+ ranking factors that make up Google’s ranking algorithm I doubt that this ‘social rank’ plays a significant role. In the world of SEO it’s believed that everything and anything helps. I can’t imagine ‘social rank’ being a viable long term technique worth investing in. As mentioned above it’s simply too easy to game. I’m going to make the bold statement that ‘Social Rank’ will be a non-factor by the end of 2011.
What do you think about this? Will social factors play a role in organic search rankings for years to come?