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Are Social Signals Influencing Search Engine Results?

When it comes to determining what is going to result in high search engine results, most everyone keeps a close eye on Matt Cutts, the head of web spam at Google, and what he considers to be important for high search engine rankings. While Cutts has indicated that links are still the best way to build credibility and increase search engine results by far, social signals appear to be playing a larger role now as well.

Google’s Algorithm
The Google algorithm was originally devised to help create a way to rank pages on the Internet for content, including keyword searches. Early on, the higher the number of keywords, the higher the website was ranked. However, the more recent updates have changed all that, and left many content farms scrambling to get back into the mix.

One of the inherent problems with ranking content in this way is that it is subjected to the system being gamed, which is exactly what happened through the late 1990s and most of the 2000s. Now, however, Google places a far greater impact on what are known as “white hat” techniques of search engine optimization (SEO), which go hand in hand with both link building and social signals.

Social Signals as Part of SEO
As such, many of thetop SEO firms are taking a long, hard look at including more social signals as a part of their SEO strategy. This ties in with the release a few years ago of the Social Signals Map by Google, which clearly shows the various social signals that Google tracks.

Those social signals that are considered to be the most important include likes, up-votes, social shares, comments, and bookmarking. This is a clear way that has been devised by Google to get a better picture of what is good content versus what was just simply algorithm friendly content in the past.

Positive Reviews Play a Role
Now, clearly positive reviews by readers and customers are going to end up playing an increasingly larger role on search engine results. Users who frequent a site count, yes, but they will not count as much as those who bookmark posts, share links, and end up showing that they like the content. These actions prove to SEO experts that social signals are quite important.

Just consider the fact that Google’s own +1 system is a social signal that they absolutely include in their algorithm rankings; to them, a series of +1s on a site could count towards high search engine ranking results.

Value of Social Signals Increasing
It is not hard to deduce, then, that social signals are becoming increasingly more valuable to sites that are employing search engine marketing strategies. And, once again, Google has found a way to at least slow down the gaming of the system by giving higher preference to those sites that have a diversity of social signals. A combination of shares, comments and bookmarks are going to be more important.

Where this is going to make a big impact will be with product and service sites. By providing high quality content that will allow for a variety of social signals, sites could give themselves a boost over those that are simply relying on traditional SEO techniques. Additionally, customers will find that high social signals indicate a value to them, and could be more likely to purchase from sites with a lot of social signals than sites with few, or none.

To discover more about how your business can incorporate social signals into your SEO marketing strategy, and to get a free consultation on how your business can improve their search engine ranking results, please contact Infintech Designs.

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