As we come to the very cold end of another year, it seems like 2010 could be remembered as the year that the social web and search began to properly work together.
Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land has a great post
with authorative answers from both Bing and Google about how they are integrating social signals from Twitter and Facebook in to their search engine ranking factors.
While you really should read the whole thing, highlights inlcude:
- Both Bing & Google do use retweets and Facebook posts as a ranking factor
- They both calculate the authority of the tweeter/poster, and give more/less weight depending
- Publicly available links on Facebook are tracked by both search engines
This is great stuff, and something we have been anticpating/suspecting for a while now, but it does raise some interesting questions.
For instance, how do they calculate ‘authority’? It’s not likely that it’s simply the sheer number of followers/friends, or the system would be overrun with spammers in no time. More likely it will be a more complex algorithm which takes in to account the ratio of followers to following, the number of times you are mentioned, how active you are, length of time on the network, and so on.
We also don’t know to what extent these social signals affect the rankings. Google has over 200 criteria which go in to ranking a site (PageRank, title tags, alt tags, etc), and these social signals are just one of these many, many different aspects. Don’t expect your site to suddenly jump to #1 because you’ve been retweeted a couple of times.
That said, it is good to have official confirmation of what we have thought for a while, that the social web isn’t in competition with the search side of things, but in fact both should all be considered part of your whole online strategy.