In search engine optimisation (SEO), the role of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook has become increasingly significant. While SEO professionals have long suspected this connection, recent admissions from search giants Google and Bing have confirmed the influence of social media on search rankings.
Google and Bing’s Admission
Recently, Danny Sullivan, the editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, engaged in a conversation with representatives from both Google and Bing. During this discussion, it was revealed that these search engines do factor in social data from platforms like Twitter and Facebook when determining search rankings.
Twitter’s Role in Search Rankings
Bing has openly stated that they consider the “social authority” of a Twitter user when ranking content. This means that if you have a substantial following or follow influential accounts on Twitter, you’re perceived as an authority. Consequently, your tweets, especially those relevant to trending topics, are more likely to appear at the top of Bing’s Social Search. However, it’s essential to note that this doesn’t have as significant an impact on regular search results.
Facebook’s Limited Influence
Bing doesn’t use Facebook data to determine a user’s authority, primarily because they only have access to public data. Content shared privately among friends remains inaccessible, making it challenging to gauge a user’s overall influence. Google, on the other hand, does utilize Twitter data in their organic and news listings. They determine the importance of an article based on how many times it’s been shared on Twitter. While Google acknowledged using Facebook data to some extent, the specifics of this usage remain unconfirmed.
Understanding Authority in Search Rankings
Both Bing and Google agree that tweets or shares from recognised authority figures in a particular field carry more weight than those from lesser-known users. However, the terminology differs between the two search engines. Google refers to this as “Author Authority,” while Bing calls it “Social Authority.” Regardless of the terminology, the core concept remains the same: the more authoritative a user is perceived to be on a topic, the more influence they have on search engine rankings.
To conclude, the influence of social media on search engine rankings is undeniable. As the lines between social media and search continue to blur, it’s important for businesses and individuals alike to recognise the power of platforms like Twitter and Facebook when developing their online digital marketing strategy.