Last week at the SMX Advanced Conference heads turned when the head of Google’s web spam team Matt Cutts made mention that Google doesn’t see Facebook’s share data. In other words, Google doesn’t use Facebook shares (other wise known as ‘like buttons’) in their ranking factors.
Most of us assumed Google had no choice but to use this in their rankings, simply because of the sheer size of data (in the millions) Facebook absorbs in content everyday. Then wouldn’t you know Rand Fishkin (sounds like a C.I.A. operative code name! Love it!) said later in his session that there’s a direct correlation between Facebook shares and ranking well on search engines.
Oh the confusion!! Another Facebook vs. Google conspiracy.
Now before soldiers from both sides begin firing off random Tweets (CEASE FIRE!) and one upping each other to prove the other wrong, let’s take a closer look at what each of these s.e.o. big dogs are trying to say.
In laments terms they both agree on the same thing
Rand Fishkin is simply saying there is a correlation between higher search engine rankings in Google and Facebook’s shared data. Which means their research suggests shared content tends to rank better. It’s the equivalent of a study that indicates cell phone use can cause cancer. Does this mean every person with a cell phone is going to get cancer? We should hope not or 90% of us are going down. The studies indicate a RELATION between cell phones and being diagnosed with cancer. But that’s the extent of it.
You see the difference?
Facebook data increases your chances for higher S.E.R.P.s because top ranking content typically has more shares. Our good friend Rand NEVER said more shares would ensure top positions. He even went as far as saying they may have absolutely nothing to do with with Google’s algorithm.
On the other hand, Matt Cutts says Google doesn’t see share data because Facebook blocks it. Which could sound a little contradictory unless you read in between the lines. If you have excellent content chances are you’ll get a lot of shared links for that content; RIGHT? So even if Google doesn’t crawl the actual content, they’re still crawling the links associated with higher shared data, and as we all know boys and girls, link factors represent 45% of search engine optimization.
Google Has a Funny Way of Showing It
Google is a repressive bunch. No one knows how to keep their feelings buried better. Knowing this, is it a safe bet to assume they use Facebook likes in some way, shape or form in their rankings factors? Probably so. And since they’re blocked from viewing Facebook shared content, wouldn’t it make sense to assume they’re using Facebook likes as a means to help them classify quality content? Damn skippy Richie.
More than likely this is one of Google’s factors they use when rewarding quality content. In the complex world of algorithms, social media phenomenon, and countless over analyzing (speculation) about who will hold the crown as the undisputed king of s.e.o., it all boils down to forward thinking.
First, kill off the back round noise, peel back the layers, and it will all begin to make sense. Of course it’s easier said than done but there are experts out there who can help you shed light on s.e.o. and where it’s going from here.
In the uncertain world of internet marketing, there’s only one thing certain, we haven’t even begun to scratch the scratch (I said that twice on purpose ;-)of the surface. Thanks and have a great day!