Search engine optimization is drastically changing, as Google continues to monitor the landscape of the web. It’s Google’s job and the job of the other search engines, to provide users with the most useful and relevant information that they’re searching for. With that in mind, Google’s algorithm changes are going to be related to the content that’s available on the web, as well as the changes in how websites are promoted and getting found in search.
Defining Social Signals
Social signals are simply activities that the search engines can pick up on that are coming from social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Examples of social signals would be Facebook likes, shares and comments, tweets and re-tweets, ratings on Yelp, and any other feedback that Google can find via user input.
Why Social Signals Matter to Google
Google is beginning to put a stronger emphasis on social signals, simply because they indicate that the site referenced is useful and it is drumming up interaction. Social signals act in many ways as user votes to the value of the site that they’re referencing, in many ways, similar to how webmasters can give links to other websites. Allowing social signals to play a role in search results allows user feedback to determine what sites are relevant. Back links are still important, but website owners are not the only users that have a voice, nor should they be. Social signals are part of this new, integrated search engine optimization.
When studied, there’s an undeniably high search ranking correlation between sites that have social activity compared to similar sites, that are otherwise equivalent in terms of SEO factors.
A Logical Look at Search and Social
It only makes sense that the top drink sites have plenty of social signals supporting them. To logically think of this, the sites that are most valuable to users (remember Google’s big goal for search) should have plenty of interaction. This shouldn’t come as a surprise and it makes sense that when Google looks to deliver the most value and most relevant results for given search, that it factors in what the users are directly and specifically saying is valuable content. If a website ranks in the top of search for a particular keyword, it logically doesn’t follow that there wouldn’t be any social signals associated with that site.
Since social activity is such a large piece of what’s happening on the web, social signals cannot be overlooked by Google, nor can they be neglected by smart webmasters who are constantly refining their SEO strategies.