A recent video from Matt Cutts (head of Google’s webspam team) declared that Google does not use Facebook and Twitter signals as part of the ranking algorithm. This has come as a bit of a surprise as social signals were thought to be used somewhere in Google’s algorithm. Slogans such as “likes are the new links” and debates over links versus social signals have become more and more prevalent as Google continues to smack down hard on blackhat link building tactics. I say this comes only as a “bit of a surprise” because Matt Cutts has alluded to links being more powerful than social shares, but the thought that social shares were somewhere in the algo mix was still prevalent.
The one thing to keep in mind is that Google didn’t say they don’t consider any social signals. They just don’t consider Facebook and Twitter signals. So what’s left? Google+ of course!!
Another Google-forced Win for Google+
It’s still safe to assume that social signals will become a more integrated part of Google’s algorithm. It’s probably just going to live in Google+ shares and authorship rank. This is yet another reason to jump on to Google+ and start building your followers.
Was this most recent video basically a scare tactic to get more people to use Google+ without saying Google+ is the only social signal they care about? Possibly; but their reasons for not using Twitter and Facebook make a ton of sense. It’s nearly impossible to keep on top of everything that’s happening behind the walls of Facebook, so why try…especially when they have a social network all their own to tap into.
Do NOT Abandon Twitter and Facebook
Just because Google does not use Twitter and Facebook social signals for ranking purposes, it doesn’t mean you should abandon them altogether. The fact is Twitter and Facebook have a more active user base (or probably more active among your demographic). You can still acquire new fans and customers through these social networks. It just means you should worry less about SEO implications and more about effectively sharing content and building followers through these channels.