matt cutts on facebook and twitter signals

Matt Cutts, Twitter, Facebook and their Effect on Rankings

Matt Cutts is on fire this week, sending SEOs into a frenzy over guest posts and now reiterating in a Webmaster Video that Google doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter signals to rank pages. So just close those Facebook and Twitter accounts now, right? Sack it all off?


Check the video out here:

Before you go firing your Facebook pro or telling your clients they’re wasting their time on Twitter, let’s consider a couple of things.

  1. Search visibility isn’t the only reason that you would do social media.
  2. There are still indirect benefits to search from being active on Facebook and Twitter.

I’m not going to go into the non-search reasons that you’d do social media here. Every business has its own goals and for some, Facebook and Twitter are channels that enable them to reach such goals. But there are also secondary benefits of social on search. Just because Google isn’t using your Twitter follower count or what people write on your Facebook page to determine where you rank for any given keyword doesn’t mean you should remove them from your SEO considerations.

Correlation Between Social Audience and Inbound Links

Let’s not get correlation and causation confused here, of course, but Mitt Ray wrote about the correlation between social audiences and links back in July.

correlation between followers and links

Image from Mitt Ray’s post.

It stands to reason, of course, that having a bigger audience would mean more eyes on your content and more eyes (if the content is good) could lead to more links. That’s not rocket science.

Of course, sheer link volume is a weak factor to read too much into. How many of us would take one Guardian or New York Times link over a dozen or so mediocre blog links? But it’s an important point to consider nonetheless.

Content Creation

Running a survey? Or just want some ideas for content your audience wants to see? Social media can be the quickest way to survey an audience of people relevant to you and your brand! Having an engaged audience to hand can mean a host of benefits for creating content.

Google Plus

Of course, we know that Google uses data from Google Plus in the algorithm. Building an audience on Google Plus can be kick started by offering something unique on Plus to your users on other channels – incentivising them to engage on Plus too. For example, making use of the Hangouts feature on Plus is a reason that people would need to be on Plus rather than just Facebook or Twitter.

We know that “faking” brand authenticity is harder, in most cases, than just being an authentic brand! And we know Google’s rankings appear to favour brands (albeit that it’s just that brands ooze signals that trigger Google…links, citations, PR and call that good stuff). So it stands to reason that simply being a real brand, using whatever channels your business feels enable its goals and engaging an online audience will have a knock on benefit across all channels. So let’s not shut up shop on the non-Google social platforms just because we can’t directly attribute an audience to a ranking.