The introduction of Google Plus over a year ago hammered home the point about how Google was going to tie all of their services together and leveraging user data to make these services better and more effective. Knowing this has been their modus operandi and the marching orders moving forward, it serves to make it easier to draw conclusions about Google’s motives when their products are altered, updated or modified.

Google Social Analytics

A prime example of this is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is the standard bearer for web stats these days. The big question on how social signals are and will be used, and to what extent, for search purposes is somewhat answered by Google Analytics through what they can now tell you about social media.

Google Analytics has always been a tool that was fairly no-nonsense providing the crucial data that truly mattered about your website. With such a strong focus being placed on social media and the monitoring of social activity, one can only logically conclude that Google is very closely paying attention to these SCO signals. Google Analytics tracks these social sources where they are referral sources, the click through rates, the average time spent from these referrals, and much more.

Watching For Likes, Pluses, Tweets

A very interesting update was where Analytics was updated to now track the number of Facebook Likes, Plus One’s, Tweets, etc. Here lies strong evidence that this activity all significantly matters in Google’s eyes. And if it matters to Google, surely that will translate meaningfully into the SERPS.

What This Means

This all serves as solid indications that Google is moving forward in a manner to be inclusive of all signals that imply trust or recommendations of a given website. By this, back links still matter, regardless of what might be said. At the same time, social signals continue to grow in their importance, as well. And now we can say that decisively, without hesitation of it being more or less of guess. Rather, this is knowing that this data is all being tracked, recorded and evaluated by Google.

Based on what we know about Google, if they’re watching social so closely, there’s a deeper reason for it that ties into their business model. And as the web turns more social everyday, Google knows that serving as a structural layer that relies on and integrates with social keeps them as an online force for the foreseeable future.