Recently Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land asked Google and Bing six questions related to how they use social data from Twitter and Facebook
. While it has been suspected that the sharing of links in social media influenced organic rankings, this interview has confirmed it.
Let’s recap. With respect to ‘social search’ both Google and Bing have offered ways to see what is shared by your social community. If you’ve connected Bing to Facebook, you’ll see a ‘Liked By Your Friends’ section within your search results. In a similar fashion, Google’s Social Search
aims to present relevant content related to your search from your friends and online contacts. Both also offer a way to see what’s trending in real time across social media with Bing’s Social Search
and Google’s Realtime Search
. These social search results have been separately and clearly displayed from traditional search results.
What the interview has confirmed however is that the sharing of links on Twitter and Facebook influence organic search results. In Twitterverse, both companies look to the social authority of the Twitter personality sharing the link to determine the relative weight of the link (or social signal), i.e. how many followers, how many retweets, etc. With respect to Facebook, Bing confirms that they count links that are viewable to everyone and on Facebook Fan Pages, while Google confirms they treat links shared on Facebook fan pages the same way they treat tweeted links and explains “We have no personal wall data from Facebook.”
This interview confirms what many have assumed all along –that sharing of links in social media do count in organic search rankings. How much is another question. Google famously uses overs 200 signals to determine page rank. The sharing of links in social media is just another ingredient in that mix, however it’s importance will likely increase over time.