From Links to Votes: Search and Social Hawaii
Ian Lurie (@PortentInt), founder of Portent Interactive in Seattle is up in this session. He is going to be talking about social media and votes and signals for ranking. For more, check out Ian’s presentation slides.
He starts with a story.
Clients call you up and tell you that you’re a genius because of fantastic rankings or whatever it is. You can’t figure it out. Ian admits that he is the Eeyore of the search industry, so he’s not initially optimistic about it.
He is showing research where the two sites with the most authority were not No. 1 or 2 in rankings for a common keyword, “jeans”. And even the on-page grade was low. Most of the pages aren’t optimized; most of them are images.
Then he looked at brand mentions. Some of them have a lot of mentions, but the No. 3 spot does not have many mentions. He keeps digging. Then he looks at Facebook Likes. He does not see the correlation between the Likes and the rankings either. Some of the pages with more than a million Likes aren’t in the top rankings.
Then he pulled the average number of likes and comments per post for the brands. This is public data, including data that Google and Bing will get. The Facebook performance of the different brands really starts to weigh in. The level of engagement is showing as a factor.
Twitter doesn’t matter as much. But low posts and friends may hurt you. He is showing that Guess Jeans has an imbalance of friends to followers and low posts.
This is not a hard formula, but there is a correlation. The quality of the community matters to Google.
On-page = Supreme Court
Links = President
Quality = Congress
Social media = The voters
You need social media and you need it badly. The data he just showed is that the performance of Facebook and Twitter is every bit as important as the links you would have obtained a few years ago in SEO.
Nofollow links seem like they matter. The easiest way to connect a vote to a brand is a link. They are not going to award authority to the nofollow link but they will trace the link back as a form of citation. Other things Ian wants to look at is G+ but the sample is too small at this point. It’s all marketers at this point.
The fact that Google says it’s a ranking signal scares the bejesus out of him.
The takeaway: If you are not doing social media, you have your head in your rear end. Even if you are a pure SEO, you have to do it.
He has an acronym as a final thought for social:
Curate, Reward, Answer, Prove