No public Twitter messages.
Want More? Sign Up for our Schipul SEM Team Email Newsletter:
- Conferences and Events
- Excel Tips and Tools
- Free Training
- How Tos and FAQs
- Keeping up with the Search Engines
- Latest News & Algorithm Updates
- Location Based SEM
- Microsoft AdCenter
- PPC Tools
- SEO Fun
- SEO Tools
- Social Media
- Stats & Data
- Zeitgeist & Trends
Posts Tagged ‘social signals’
Google has done a fantastic job of putting Matt Cutts out there as the face of the web spam team – and he is also the face who delivers updates about Google’s work and algorithm updates to the web at large.
The crowd at the “How to Ranke Better in Search” #bingle panel at SXSW was reflective of the presenters’ reputations. The other panelist was Duane Forrester of Bing – whose specific role is product manager of Bing Webmaster Tools, and the panel was moderated by Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan. I was seated in the crowd of overflow seating so I technically didn’t see the presenters, but I could hear the conversation and watch what they were displaying on their computer screens (see pic below).
The session format was a Q&A panel where audience members could ask the questions and drive the topics. Below were my biggest takeaways:
1. Social Signals are Growing in Importance
Social Signals (aka how links and shares from Social Media profiles affect your site’s authority) have had an effect on search results when a user is logged in to Google for some time now. If you or your friends have shared or liked content (particularly on Google+) – that content is more likely to rise to the top of the page. One of my favorite quotes of the panel was from Matt on these personalized results:
“There are a lot of people whose bosses think they rank number one because the boss is always logged in seeing personalized results” - Matt Cutts, Google
Matt confirmed that over time we are going to see social signals play more of a role when logged out as well.
This is already most noticeable with the rel=”author” tag which attaches your Google+ profile to content you’ve created and adds your profile photo next to the content in search results. In the panel, Matt confirmed that content with this author photo next to it does consistently see a higher CTR.
2. Start Using Schema.org
Schema.org is a system of tags that webmasters can use to markup their pages in a universal way recognized by the major search engines. Google and Bing both praised the value of incorporating these Schema.org tags to help the search engines better crawl and understand the content on your website – and indicated that this will become even more important in the future.
From Duane - Schema data does not affect rankings directly; it is used to help the search engines understand the site and its content.
Google and Bing are still testing how users respond to showing schema markup in SERPs – so you may see it show in search results only sometimes for now.
How to: Getting Started with Schema.org
More Resources: Getting the Most out of Schema.org Microformats (from SEOMoz)
3. Quality Content Wins
This is something Google has been hammering home with their recent algorithm updates. It’s not exactly new, but I wanted to mention it because of how much both Google and Bing emphasized this point during the panel. At the end of the day – Quality Content wins online. Quality Content means better placement in search, better engagement, and better conversions.
“Our job is to consistently wow people with search results” -
Duane Forrester, Bing
4. Don’t Rely on Press Releases for SEO
Press Releases are key for communicating to traditional media, but Matt confirmed that Google has downgraded the value of press releases for SEO recently, so you should not rely on that content to boost your SEO on its own.
“We haven’t really trusted press releases since 2006″ – Matt Cutts, Google
5. Google Isn’t Too Worried About Facebook Graph Search as a Competitor
There has been a lot of buzz about Facebook’s Graph Search tool. One audience member asked straight up if Google is worried about Facebook Graph Search as a competitor. Mat’s reply – not right now, but he can definitely see a potential over time.
6. For Ecommerce Sites, Reputation Matters to SEO
Google also confirmed that they are working on an update for 2013 that will try to incorporate a merchant’s reputation into their ranking for e-commerce sites specifically. The catalyst to this has been poor sites ranking well because of an increase in links from bad press. Google is trying to get smarter about determining which of those links are “good press” vs “bad press.”
7. Google (Still) Hates Spam
Matt is head of Google’s Spam team so naturally he spent time discussing some of the team’s latest spam updates. Within the How Search Works site, Google has launched a site that shows real time screenshots of websites being discovered and dinged by Google:
More Resources: Google’s “How Search Works” Resource Library
What other SEO takeaways did you see at SXSW? Share them here!
Google and Microsoft have made announcements lately that Social Signals are being incorporated into the search algorithm (including this interview with SEO Moz back in December). Which means that whether or not a link has been shared via social networks affects its performance in search.
How much do Social Signals matter? Keep in mind that there are several hundred signals Google looks at – and this is one. But it can be an advantage. Google is indexing Tweets within seconds, and search engines are finding a way to incorporate that data.
SEOmoz did a great case study on Social Signals of an instance where a link that was tweeted by Smashing Magazine (and then retweeted again and again by the magazine’s loyal following) began to appear higher in the results after it was tweeted.
Rule of Thumb: Include Links in your Social Media Posts
Links add context to a tweet and give you the opportunity to drive fans back to your website (or someone else’s that you think is really great). 140 characters can be limiting, but a link can provide more content for someone who is interested. This also has the opportunity for Google to see your link as more valuable.
At the recent SMX Conference the Schipul SEM team had the opportunity to attend, Microsoft recommended including a link in every Tweet and Facebook status.
Twitter recently added a tab for “Tweets with Links” when you search from Twitter.com – which tells me that Twitter knows that tweets with links are more interesting (similar to how they pull out “Tweets near you” because those are more interesting).
All these factors point to the same conclusion – include links in your Tweets!
What About No Follow and URL Shorteners Affecting my Link Juice?
According to Danny Sullivan at a panel at SMX this month, link shorteners are ok for “link juice” as long as they use 301 Redirects to get you to the long URL (most do), including these three:
- Bit.ly uses 301 Redirects
- Hootsuite – ow.ly does use 301 Redirects but ht.ly does not (the top bar robs the link juice)
- is.gd uses 301 Redirects
Fun fact about Bit.ly – add a plus sign to the end of any Bit.ly link to see the stats on who has clicked on that link
Most Social Media sites classify outbound links posted by users as “no follow” in their code, which tells the search engines not to count that link as an “endorsement” for the site like it would normally. If Google is following its own rules, these links don’t get counted as “link juice” for the site. Links from Social Media sites are being indexed differently than “regular” links. Search engines only count the link as “Link Juice” after taking into account Author Authority from the person who posted the link.
Author Authority in Social Media
Author Authority refers to the authority of the person posting the content. Most of us can do a “squint test” and tell if someone on Twitter is a spammer (no photo, following thousands of people with no one following back, they haven’t been on Twitter long and only have a few spammy looking posts, etc.). Google is getting smart about identifying low quality accounts on Twitter as well. We don’t have many specifics on exactly what factors they look at, but we know that Spam is a top priority.
Search Engine Land compiled a great list of Social Signals the Search Engines may use to determine authority. Here’s the recap:
- Bing says they look at – how many people you follow, how many follow you, carries much more weight in Bing Social Search than regular Bing search
- Google says they look at – author authority, how many people share a link
- What about Facebook? – Bing looks at pages and “Everyone” status posts, Google treats links shared on Facebook fan pages the same as tweeted links, no personal wall data (no comment on public wall data)
For more on building Twitter authority: Dan Zarella’s The Science of Retweets is a fantastic Article on the patterns behind Retweets – Time of day, Words used, Word length, etc. – including tips on how to get Retweeted.
Social Connections Matter
Your content doesn’t just show up in your Fan’s Facebook News Feed and follower’s Twitter stream… people connected with you through Social Media are more likely to see your links in Search Results as well (you’ve probably seen this under “Links from your Friends” in Google Search Results). This makes those Social Connections even more valuable.
What About Other Social Networks?
We have heard Google and Bing specifically mention Twitter and Facebook now. Networks like LinkedIn that require a login to see the content, Search Engines won’t be able to crawl that data.
Recap – What Do I need to do?
- Link back to your site when posting on Twitter and Facebook
- Use a URL shortener that uses 301 Redirects (bit.ly, ow.ly, is.gd, etc.) – also find one that gives you stats (I like bit.ly, ow.ly)
- Make sure your company social media profiles are public – Facebook allows you to make Fan Page 18+ or 21+, those will be difficult (if not impossible), because the Google crawlers can’t log in to Facebook. Make sure Twitter is public as well.
- Be a high quality account – make sure your accounts have photos, bios, and you are interacting with your followers regularly
- Post awesome content people want to link to – the best way to get links and retweets is to post great stuff
- Be a good neighbor – The internet runs on karma, and posting content from other people that you think is interesting encourages that karma to flow. Sharing other people’s content shows them and the world (and Google) that you are participating in the conversation, not just broadcasting your own message