Search Case Studies by Pallab

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Does Social Signals relay SEO Scores for Website Rankings // #plbkkt

Do social signals relay SEO scores that can be attributed to define website rankings on search engine result pages (SERP) is the notion in session?

Social Signals are visible activity or actions taken by other people on a given subject // #plbkkt
What are Social Signals // +hshdshDGTL
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#SocialSignals for SEO // How it works // #plbkkt
Social Signals for SEO // How it works // +Pallab Kakoti
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Social signals are similar to the concept of inbound links wherein the more links a site has linking to it, the more it is seen by the search engines as an authority and the higher it will be ranked. Authority of these social signals are determined by sharing quality content in the form of updates, tweets, check-ins, pins, likes & +1s of high influence so that content weight is catalogued by the search engines after fine tuning big data clusters of social indicators that are deemed spam. Source
Officially no, there is no official proof released or otherwise available that can guarantee or be held as proof to approve the warranty of website rankings determined by social signals.
Yet, there are good many resources available enunciating the causation if not correlation of social references being treated as signals for search engine rankings.
Rand Fishkin of Moz (inbound marketing software that tracks SEO, social, brand and content marketing - source wiki) attributes 7.24% of social mentions (likes, tweets, +1) as authoritative scores that measure an impact on website rankings for keyword searches on a search engine. Source
Neil Patel of KISSmetrics (person based analytics platform - source wiki) discusses with elaborate case studies about how website rankings were caused to behave with the relay of authoritative social signals from landing pages optimized for social sharing & indexable forum postings. Source
Rerank Yahoo Dual Trustrank // #hshdsh
Yahoo Dual Trustrank // +SEO by the Sea (Image Credit)
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Bill Slawski (World's Top 10 SEO Expert & Google's Patent Watcher - Source Google) writes "Google’s Trust Rank looks at how well they trust people who have labelled web pages in annotations of those pages."

Similarly Yahoo Trustrank by integrated mix of trusted user annotations & user behaviour signals associated with webpages to indicate a social aspect to their overall ranking scores something that they refer to as Dual Trustrank (double the trust, double the fun?). Source
It all started here with this post // SEO in a Nutshell // attributing hashtag mentions to be curated via social media marketing tools for off-page SEO of landing pages, micro-sites, parallax campaigns and websites in general. Delicious can be synced with Facebook and Twitter to publish web indexes of website bookmarks automatically grouped in all three networks respectively via hashtags. So can Pinterest pins on boards auto published as tweets and updates on Twitter and Facebook with just one curated push via social sharing..
Hash Dash Hashtags via #hshdsh
Hash Dash Hashtags via #hshdsh // +hshdshDGTL
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We are also of the opinion that hashtags needs to be monitored when used for branding to maintain the sanctity of the conversations grouped across and within social networks. This is to counter the growing nuisance of hashtag abuse where anyone can say just about anything they want and hashtag you for the scam of spam!
So much so that one of the blog we run was deemed a "splog - spam blog" by one gentleman who goes on to debate that social signals stands no scores for rankings either by any search engine algorithm tagged between Yahoo/Bing and Google. This gentleman turned out to be one of the top SEO experts who is being looked up to and testified by rock stars like Rand Fishkin and Bill Slawksi. He vehemently endorses that no part of social signals, none whatsoever, not even a tiny fraction is attributed for website rankings on SERP.
One way to see this is how the whole world will be at liking, pinning & tweeting scores of webpage & URLs as social signals to influence ranking. Other way is to curate authoritative relays of updates, pins & tweets grouped via custom hashtag mentions that are monitored by campaign owners and moderators for social & promotional causes.
Google Authorship is a mean to indicate authoritative social updates via Google+ and the same way for other social media profiles that too relays quantifiable activities around a webpage. To ignore these buzz of sizeable traffic is not wise and therefore to sum them as causation beyond correlation is a sound strategy. Yet officially no word and that can't be held the norm like parrots from old school!
Hashtag #hshdsh for Social Signals Uses // #plbkkt
Hashtag #hshdsh for Social Signals Uses // +blogs4bytes
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Bing recently announced the integration of Tweet results including hashtags & handles in search results via an exclusive partnership with Twitter. The concentration of 1-2 phrase keywords in searches and also with the rise of mobile uses for searches conversational keywords are suggested. Source
Keeping in mind the concentration of searches for 1-2 keyword phrases, in the near future searchers will be smart enough to feed the right results for themselves by using innovative techniques like "#funnelmanagement" for "funnel management" because the latter is not serving the right results that the searcher wants.
This theory is also relative to the hummingbird algorithm update that prophesies the induction of long string conversational queries or phrases for better readability by search engine robots as they crawl websites for indexing.
Bill Slawski shared another article "The Google Hummingbird Patent - Source" where he showed via diagrams how search engine algorithm funnel search listings based on synonyms. If such elaborate and definitive measures are structured for synonyms to funnel the right search results based on the searchers queries, similar measures are also in place to determine the authentic relay & source of authoritative social signals.
Social Signals Workflow // #hshdsh
Social Signals Workflow via #hshdsh
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At the recent SMX London on May 13, 2014, John Mueller of Google and Duane Forrester of Bing again stated that social indicators are not part of their ranking algorithms. "They did, however, both reveal a little more information about how their search engines treat social references. We can now see causation beyond correlation." Source
Matt Cutts (Leads Webspam team at Google - source wiki) have suggested that social signals relay no scores that are attributed for website rankings on search results in this latest video (dated January 2014 - Source) contradicting what he said earlier back in 2010 when Google+ happened by confirming that Google was using social signals (Source).
All this denial on the part of Google about officially not attributing social signals for rankings on search results sounds more like an anti-competitive monopolistic marketing ploy. Google is time & again accused of being a bully when it comes to aggressive anti-competitive marketing specially on allegations of favouring their own products & services on searches by authorities in both France & India. Source
#Inbound Marketing via // #hshdsh
Inbound Marketing via
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Mergers between Microsoft - Yahoo, Microsoft - Facebook & Microsoft - Twitter all indicate towards one obvious fa├žade; "Bing vs Google" competition of being the global populist brand. Google's answer to these developments led to Google+.
From a marketing standpoint Google cannot afford to legitimize claims of social signals, not at least from Facebook & Twitter as genuine factors for rankings.

Google is still the heavyweight in web indexing & search results, a reputation that has so far not even being challenged forget competition from any other provider.

Social media like Facebook & Twitter are one of the extensions from the web. And to counter that they devised Google+!

Do we have an option when it comes to search engine providers other than Google?

Latest US market share statistics for search engine rankings offer the following details:

  • Google // 67.6%
  • Bing // 18.7%
  • Yahoo // 10%
  • Ask // 2.4%
  • AOL Inc // 1.3%

(Rankings for April 2014 - Source)
From a user experience perspective, here's evidence to decide who would you pick between Yahoo/Bing & Google.

How searchers view search results on Bing // #hshdsh
How searchers view search results on Bing
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Google SERP UI
How searchers view search results on Google // #hshdsh
How searchers view search results on Google
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Not just user experience, search results too are consistently irrelevant at times for certain topics on Yahoo//Bing as compared to Google. (Source)
The web is flooded with comparisons, survey reports & verified data to confirm the notion of which is a better search engine and clearly without Google the world would have been a different place! They are the pioneers of search results and have come a long way since inception to completely redefine our time on the Internet. Other search engines appear more like trying to be someone they are not because someone who is doing it is doing a mighty fine job!
#SocialSignals relay via #hshdsh
Social Signals Relay // +hshdshDGTL
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So why wouldn't they (Google) take advantage of this leverage they have achieved over the years with aggressive marketing ploys that at times can, will & have hurt a few. Barring a few exceptions they have exceeded all expectations of being a responsible & populist brand. Every now and then we keep coming across new "different" search providers like we had Blekko offering better search results compared to Google search from a set of 3 billion trusted webpages that are excluded from sites like content farms and the latest DuckDuckGo that tags along saying "no-tracking policy". Will any of them make a direct impact on global web viewer-ship and draw parallels in terms of brand recognition, trust & usability from the web needs no second guessing.
The nexus of Facebook - Microsoft alliance that connected Microsoft acquired Skype calls via Facebook accounts was answered with Hangouts by Google. Yahoo distancing as a search player as compared to Bing epitomizes an understanding of mutual agreement.
Power #SocialSEO Signals // #hshdsh
Power Social SEO Signals
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Yahoo now focuses on optimizing a rich content based visual hub of news, stories, events & content feed largely with understandable lesser attention because of the way Yahoo search results are displayed in a cluttered user interface to enforce this belief. Bing's homepage user interface is one of the best as compared to any other providers offering a fresh visual appeal with an evenly balanced search results page. Then Yahoo announced that it will go native on mobile devices further confirms the notion. Although data wise Yahoo + Bing network holds 10% + 18% search market share compared to Google's standalone of 60%.
Google's dispute with Twitter few years back and the latest developments of an exclusive Bing - Twitter partnership to offer search results from tweets including hashtags & handles indicates the consensus for a pro Bing nexus among Facebook, Yahoo & Twitter.
Today an average person is spending more & more time on social networking channels other than emails and random web browsing have lately increased drastically via mobile devices. For Hotmail & Yahoo mail, Google answered with Gmail and for random browsing over the Internet Google answered with Android. Thanks to android, Google delivers over 90% of all mobile searches.
#Hash_Dash for #SEO via
#Hash_Dash for #SEO via // +hshdshDGTL
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Microsoft powered Yahoo - Bing network holds approximately 30% of search engine rankings market share compared to Google at over 60%. The objective is to gain momentum to depreciate this margin of difference by factoring more & more people on board via engaging people-to-people services like Skype calls, tweets & social updates.
In such an elaborate arrangement of market dynamics neither Google nor Bing can consider attributing the quantitative and qualitative reference of social indicators as genuine algorithmic ranking factors.
Now Google+ is one of the three major players of social media networks eyeing for a bigger share of user base. Under these circumstances Google can no way officially attribute Facebook & Twitter activities relate ranking scores knowing of their alliance with Bing.
#SocialSEO Signals optimized by via #hshdsh
Social SEO Signals optimized at // +hshdshDGTL
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One way to look at this debate on whether social signals attribute ranking factors is by perceiving that such a notion will largely implicate spam and get the whole world to be at liking, tweeting, pinning & +1 for ranking. The defensive counter attacks in the form of denial to officially agree that social indicators are measured to determine percentages of scores that defines website rankings is often followed by contradicting possibilities which presently stands at "causation beyond correlation."
Other notions doing the round include instances in the past when Google was blocked by a leading social networking site (Twitter - unverified). Google engineers are ever since reluctant to invest any more hard work & tons of time working social signals into their ranking factors. Source
Do you think Social Signals work for SEO? Vote //
Do you think Social Signals work for SEO? Vote
We leave you with this quick poll to know your opinion about social signals and if you agree that social indicators are scored for website rankings depending on the quality, frequency & source of the signal by search engines.

To vote go here >>

Title: Social Signals // Does it relay SEO Scores of Rankings?
Author // Bio
Category: Social Signals
First Published: LinkedIn Post
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