Social Media and Google: How Twitter and Facebook Can Build Your Search Rankings
The next important study was by Moz.com, which produced a beginner's SEO guide that was referenced in a tweet by Smashing Magazine. Almost immediately, the guide soared in the search rankings for the keyword term "beginner's guide," and Moz.com enjoyed a week-long slug of organic traffic.
A larger-scale test was done by TastyPlacements, an Austin-based SEO firm. TastyPlacements created six websites that emulated businesses in six similarly sized cities. Each website was in the same niche, and their domains were all structured identically. After being online for 10 months, TastyPlacements started marketing five of the websites using different social media signals; the sixth website was left as a control site.
What the study found was astonishing: One website jumped 14.63 percent in the rankings after getting 100 followers to a linked Google+ business page, and another rose 9.44 percent after getting 300 Google+ "plus one" votes. The site marketed on Facebook rose 6.9 percent after getting 70 Facebook shares and 50 likes on its business page. Two of the sites were marketed on Twitter; one got a 2.88 percent bump with 50 tweets and retweets, while the other site saw a rankings drop by 1.22 percent after doing nothing more than gaining followers. The control site that wasn't pushed on social media experienced virtually no change in its rankings.
So, what does this all mean? It means that, somehow, social media signals do appear to translate to better search engine rankings. But is this really a direct cause-and-effect relationship?
NO: Social Signals Don't Cause Better Rankings
Whether it's the honest truth or a smokescreen, Google officials have repeated that social signals aren't responsible for changes in search engine rankings. The most recent admission was in August 2015, when Google webmaster trends analyst John Mueller was asked about this during a Google hangout session.
Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.