The Moz Blog

Your Guide to Social Signals for SEO

- Posted by to Social Media

This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community.
The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Moz.

A brief history of social signals as a ranking factor

Almost two years ago, in December 2010, Danny Sullivan wrote an  insightful piece on social signals and their influence on search engine rankings. The article explored the possibility of social signals affecting rankings, but was early for its time; scalable link building methods were all the rage (because they worked), and not much attention was paid to social signals across a large portion of the industry. Sullivan posed the question:

“…are either of the major search engines actually using those social signals to rank regular search results?”

He concluded that data from Facebook was largely unused by Google (due to not having access to personal wall data from Facebook), but that “retweets serve as a new form of link building. Get your page mentioned in tweets by authoritative people, and that can help your ranking in regular search results, to a degree.”

About two weeks later, Matt Cutts released a Webmaster video in which he confirmed that social signals do, in fact, play a role in organic SEO.


We’re still trying to figure out just how strong of a role social signals play in organic SEO rankings: multiple studies have been conducted to determine the exact correlation of social signals and SEO rankings, with varying results. However, it’s clear that the importance of social signals is increasing with time, and that begs several questions:

  • How and why do social signals improve rankings?
  • What’s the future of social signals with regard to SEO?
  • What steps should be taken right now to improve my website’s social signals?

My goal is to explore each of these questions to help readers develop a fundamental knowledge of the critical elements of social signals as they relate to not only SEO, but to the real goal of online marketing: increased website traffic and, ultimately, revenue.

How and why do social signals improve rankings?

While any answer to this question is highly debatable, I believe that social signals have both a direct and indirect impact on organic search rankings. Direct impact comes from:

  • Number of people that like your brand on Facebook
  • Number of Facebook shares
  • Number of Twitter followers
  • Number of tweets mentioning your brand name or including a link to your website
  • Number of people that “have you in their circles” (Google+)

From Searchmetrics:

Social signals ranking factors

Indirect impact comes from:

  • Increased inbound links and citations due to improved online visibility/brand awareness
  • Increased positive reviews (in Google Local , Yelp, etc.) due to happier customers
  • Decreased bounce rate, higher time on site, and more repeat visitors to your website

While the direct impacts are pretty straightforward, I’ll elaborate on the indirect impacts.

Increased inbound links and citations due to improved online visibility/brand awareness: The most powerful indirect impact of social media is its ability to generate new inbound links by improving brand awareness and overall online visibility.

If you’re able to be found, you’re able to be linked to, and links are still the most important and valuable ranking factor. In fact, while the debate heated up at the July 2012 SMX Advanced over whether social signals were catching up to links in terms of direct impact in the ranking algorithm, Danny Sullivan conducted an interview with Matt Cutts in which Cutts hinted that that links were still the most important criteria in comparison to social signals.

Cutts said, “So, there’s this perception that, yes, everything will go social, or links are completely obsolete, and I think it’s premature to reach that conclusion. I don’t doubt that in ten years things will be more social, and those will be more powerful signals, but I wouldn’t write the epitaph for links quite yet.”

Increased positive reviews (in Google Local, Yelp, etc.) due to happier customers: Social media is often being used these days as an extension of a company’s customer service department. Users can tweet to a company and expect their tweet to be answered. Likewise, customers can get support for a new product on a company’s Facebook page, saving them from annoying automated phone menus and unhelpful outsourced customer service departments.  

This easy access to a company helps users feel a closer, organic connection with the brand, increases customer loyalty, and builds consumer trust, all of which lead to more and better reviews on review sites like Google Local and Yelp. Participating in social media (which even CEOs can do) channels brings brands closer to customers and potential customers. A brand's social media "voice" defines its image and distinguishes it from a distant entity to a hip, trendy, brand. Think about what Apple did with its famous “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials.

I'm a PC, I'm a Mac


According to Sam McRoberts, CEO of Vudu Marketing, the number of reviews and the positivity of those reviews are two of the three biggest factors in local search rankings. If that’s the case, then it’s not a stretch to believe that Google uses that information in its national rankings as well.

Decreased bounce rate, higher time on site, and more repeat visitors to your website: Consumers that are familiar with a particular brand via social media interaction are more likely to become repeat visitors of a website and spend more time there, increasing the average “time-on-site” metric.

While I’ve published my opinion that bounce rate doesn’t affect SEO rankings, I know there are many SEOs who still believe it does. With that said, a lower bounce rate is usually an indication of higher quality content, and lower bounce rate is generally considered to be better.

Time on site, however, can be used as a metric for organic search ranking. By timing how long it takes for a user to return to the search page after clicking a search result, then analyzing the new search query input by the user, Google can measure whether the visited site gave the user the answer or information they were looking for. Similarly, Google tracks repeat visits to the same website, often showing frequently visited websites highly in personalized search results (i.e. results shown to logged-in users).

So, we know Google tracks these metrics, but do they use them for ranking purposes? There’s no textbook answer, but I believe they do.

What’s the future of social signals with regard to SEO?

In two years, companies playing in competitive niches that don’t have a robust social strategy will be left in the dust by those that do; Social signals are becoming the new “link” in terms of overall importance in the ranking algorithm. While I don’t believe the value of links as a ranking signal will ever completely disappear, I do believe that direct and indirect impacts of social signals will eventually surpass links as the most valuable ranking factor.

Why? Several reasons:

  1. The world is becoming more social. Today’s kids are tomorrow’s consumers, and they are being raised communicating on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. As this generation ages, more consumers will spend more time on social media channels, likely causing an increase in social signals as those consumers interact with their favorite brands on the Web. People already spend more time on social networks than on search engines, and the gap will continue to grow.
  2. People are more likely to trust a website recommended personally by their friends than by a search engine. Websites with a strong social presence are more easily shareable and accessible, and thus easier to recommend. Search engines can also analyze these shares as recommendations, boosting the credibility (and rankings) of the website.
  3. Websites with a strong social presence have better conversion rates and brand loyalty, leading to more sales, more word-of-mouth referrals, and greater brand awareness, which all lead to more positive reviews and inbound links.

Aside from social signals eventually overtaking inbound links as the most valuable ranking signal, there’s a clear upward trend in the importance of AuthorRank as a ranking signal. The idea of associating content with an author, rather than the website on which it resides, is evident in Cutts’ December 2010 Webmaster video “Does Google use data from social sites in ranking?

Cutts says: “…We’re also trying to figure out a little bit about the reputation of an author or creator on Twitter or Facebook.”

Google expanded on this idea beyond just Twitter and Facebook by implementing Google Authorship, which allows Google to track authors across domains and assign authority and credibility to their content, allowing that content to not only rank higher in search engines for certain queries, but also pass more value to the outbound links contained within.

As Google gains more data on what authors are big players in each various industry/niche, I expect AuthorRank to play a more significant role in rankings. Strategic moves like Google+, Authorship tools, and AuthorRank indicate a careful and cautious approach towards “social search ranking.”

What steps should be taken right now to improve my website’s social signals?

Similar to SEO, there are two core elements to social media: onsite and offsite. In order to properly establish and grow a social media campaign, both elements must be present and refined.

Onsite elements include:

  • Share buttons (like, recommend, tweet, bookmark, etc.)
  • Connect buttons (Like a Facebook page, Follow on Twitter, Follow on LinkedIn, etc.)
  • A blog

Offsite elements include:

  • Facebook page
  • Twitter account
  • LinkedIn company page
  • Pinterest account
  • Youtube account
  • Guest blog posting
  • Other social media platforms

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide for launching your social media presence:

Step 1: Register your business at the social media channels listed above. Simply having a presence at each social channel creates inbound links and helps to establish credibility of your brand.

Step 2: Set up your company blog, if you don’t already have one. If you do, then start blogging at least once a week. Ideally, aim for at least once a day. Don’t just blog for the sake of blogging, though; make sure your articles contain useful, valuable, or original (qualified) insight. If you need help coming up with ideas on what to blog about, check out this article.

Step 3: Set up your onsite content engine. Whether you choose to do the blogging or you hire an expert writer to write for your blog, this step is crucial. Since I hired writers to write for my company blog a month ago, organic search traffic has jumped by 27.80% and is quickly trending upward. This is because every article published is liked dropping another hook in the water, to use a fishing metaphor. More content on a domain gives that domain more opportunities to rank for related search queries and accrue inbound links, which, in turn, strengthens the authority of the domain as a whole.

Organic search increase

Step 4: Set up your offsite content engine. If you don’t have time to participate on your Facebook page and Twitter account, then hire someone to do it for you. The title “Community Manager” is probably the fastest-growing job title right now due to the need for savvy social media marketers to manage a brand’s social presence. Don’t have budget for a full-time community manager? Hire a college intern. Most of today’s college students are very familiar with social media channels and how to effectively use them.

Step 5: Integrate your onsite and offsite content engines. Whenever a new blog post is published, announce it via your social channels. Similarly, encourage blog readers to join your social channels with social media “connect” buttons that enable readers to easily follow you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Add social media “share” buttons so your blog content can easily be tweeted, shared on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Always use images in your blog posts so Pinterest users can pin your images.


Social signals have come a long way in terms of their impact on SEO over the course of the last two years. We’ve gone from asking whether or not social signals play a role in organic rankings, to conducting numerous scientific studies in an attempt to determine the exact correlation between each type of social signal.

While we still don’t know the true impact of social signals (which, admittedly, is probably a moving target depending on many factors), we do know that social signals are increasing in importance with regard to the ranking algorithm, and will continue to do so.

Danny Sullivan’s insight into a correlation between social signals and organic search rankings marked the beginning of a new era in SEO: social search. Brands that have embraced social media not only enjoy the ranking benefits due to the impact of social signals, but also increased conversion rates, brand loyalty, and word-of-mouth referrals.

About Jayson DeMers — Founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, LLC, a Seattle-based SEO & social media marketing agency. Also founder & CEO of, a lyrics-humor website where users can read and write rap lyrics translated into English

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  • Pro
    Yoav Vilner

    There have been hundreds of articles discussing the correlation between signals and SEO, but you somehow kept it so simple and understandable, that i will gladly share it around.
    Regarding alternatives social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin - I have still not figured out how to use those for driving quality traffic. (When you don't have big budgets of course)

    • Jayson DeMers

      Thanks Yoav! I've been told I have a writing style that makes things easy to understand. I'll take that a compliment!
      LinkedIn can be a great traffic source if you participate in the Q&A section. Give it a shot!

    • Info4u2use

      All traffic is about budgets, the bigger your budget the more your traffic..

      At the end of the day, each social signal is a link to a page that is seen as a positive signal.

      Some pages like this one have the ability to offer a negative signal,   but this is the exception and not the rule.

      These issues are currently being manipulated by BH (Black Hat) SEO opperators, and thus SEA (Search Engine Algorithms) will be very difficult to get to grips with as they will be constantly evolving to get the cheats out of the system. take your time and build true effective followers and brand users then things will work out for you.

      Avoid the BH guys who offer instant followers, as you WILL be punished by the SEA's (Search Engine Algorithms) and simply TANK OUT of the organic search results.

      • Yoav Vilner

        Hey @Info4u2use , I don't think any MOZ follower will ever touch a Black hat tactic. There aren't different forums for that ;)
        But what you said is completely true and should be a basic guideline for any online marketeer.

        • galileo@pkm

          Just to prove you wrong.
          I wear no hat and use whatever strategy I see fit and appropriate for the current project.

  • Mark Scully

    Good post - I do believe too many companies are underestimating the importance of a social presence. Unless they can identify a direct correlation between investing time in social media and the ROI, they are quick to judge it in a negative light.

    • john lawless

      I think too many small companies just set up a facebook page and twitter account and expact something magic to happen. When they don't see an immediate result they lose faith. Those that will win are those that put in the effort for the long game.John

      • Jonathan1979

        I think the problem with small companies is that they don't have the time to spend on it, or designated staff \ outsourcing.  When providing web design for clients, I give them various guides for twitter and facebook, and explain how important it is.  Quite often after a very keen early response their facebook and twitter accounts become inactive after about 6 weeks.

        There is really very little excuse to not have a basic twitter \ facebook campaign going.  You can feed blog RSS to them, and you can use various programs to get the basic messages automated.  After that, it doesn't take long to engage with new followers \ reply to messages, although this is arguably the most important part.

    • Jayson DeMers

      Agreed. But man, when you can demonstrate positive ROI, they'll go nuts over it. I worked for TDWI ( for over two years and got them all set up in social media. They embraced it across the entire corporation (including their seven other business properties) after I showed its value. Now they have killer social media presences in Twitter, Facebook, and especially LinkedIn.

    • Wayne Kolenchuk

      I do think, if the industry is suitable, and if an appropriate strategy is followed, that social media can be effective, although I'm not as convinced about direct influence as is Jayson.
      I do believe that you must be able to demonstrate a ROI or at least a path to a ROI for social media. How else can a business evaluate it?

      waynekolenchuk edited 2012-11-07T04:54:52-08:00
  • Claire Broadley

    Google+ is working particularly well for us. I post everything I write and/or publish on my Google+ page now, and our visibility has shot up dramatically. 
    We get far more benefit from Google+ than Twitter or Facebook. Perhaps that's no surprise really!

    • Jayson DeMers

      Thanks for the tip! I do this as well. Gotta throw G a bone, I suppose.

    • Marcio Elias

      I do the same and it works very well...

    • Eko Dost

      I publish few of my posts on Google+ but if it is beneficial I better increase it.

      Eko Dost edited 2012-11-07T06:11:17-08:00
    • Mike Smith

      Another Google+ benefit that I heard about from Rand was that content submitted there will be quickly indexed by Google. Maybe even within seconds. 

      • Kozan Huseyin

        We have noticed this also.

        We created a blog on blogger, as well as Google Plus at the same time. Added profile picture to Google + and then made post on Blogger.

        The Google Plus page showing the link came up right away! But the blogger post required a bit of work to get it indexed and took much more time to show up in Google.

        We didn't check time frames for G+ or Blogger post or main blogger site created in other SE's such as Yahoo or Bing.

        Google is definetly putting a big push on the G+.

  • Salik Khan

    Hi Jayson,

    Thanks for this in-depth analysis of Social and SEO. I personally feels that the Social will be the key to success in near future, let me give you an example: I went to a nearby restaurant, I found that place really awesome...Now, I wont go and write a blog and link the restaurant website..Most of us wont... What we will do is we will like their Facebook page, will share them on our time line, will tweet about them.. So that's the power of social...Having said that, as Big Brands can easily earn their place in social world, its very hard for Small to medium businesses to do the same....Will you ever like /share a Facebook Page for a cleaning services company or a Company dealing with Roofing and fencing...People go social because its a fun thing... they are not looking for a boring content on Social channels...So if we say that Social engagements will play an important role in your organic rankings, then SMB's falls apart on this.. If not all, most of them does. I have read many articles on how SMB's can get links naturally, can get user engagements, media coverage sort of things.. But that's not something which every SMB can do...

    Salik Khan

    • Jayson DeMers

      Thanks for your thoughts, Salik! It's true that not every SMB can do social effectively. But in niches where social just doesn't work (think feminine products, for example), if none of your competitors are able to do it effectively, then you aren't at much of a disadvantage. But it's always only a matter of time until someone comes up with a great out-of-the-box idea for doing social in a difficult niche.

  • Brian_W

    "People are more likely to trust a website recommended personally by their friends than by a search engine."

    While this is technically true, my social media network is not synonymous with my friends. It's a whole bunch of acquaintances, coworkers, and random places I clicked to enter a contest and haven't gotten around to removing because they haven't been annoying enough yet.

    Add to that clicking a like or a +1 is not something being personally recommended. I think there are good reasons social signals aren't very strong in non-personalized search: most of those people are not trusted friends; most of their likes and +1s are impulses or contest entries and not recommendations; thus most of those signals are not meaningful.

    • Jayson DeMers

      I hear ya; social signals are not always true indicators of trust or quality. But I think that when you combine the process of looking at "who" is sharing/recommending something and "how many others" are doing so also, you have a pretty good indication of quality (at least, from a search engine spider perspective).

  • Andrew Borman

    Great post! To my mind social signals its a decent reinforcement for common optimization works on every website. It's definitely play valuable role in long-term and branding promotion...

  • Michael Beckett

    Great post but I think you're wrong about 1 thing:
    "In two years, companies playing in competitive niches that don’t have a robust social strategy will be left in the dust by those that do"
    I think they're already in the dust. After penguin and panda, sites without a social strategy or a content strategy are virtually nowhere to be found. Long gone are the days of putting up a brochure site, building a few links to it and ranking well, now you need a blog and regular content to rank and to get those social signals.

    • Jayson DeMers

      This definitely varies from niche to niche, but I think there's still time to get onboard with social. A blog and regular content is becoming more important for ranking for longtail terms as opposed to primary keywords, which results in more traffic. But it's still possible to rank for primary keywords with little or no social -- I have many clients who can attest to that!

  • Charles Floate

    I think people's opinion on this will vary with time.

  • Brian Dean

    It's interesting to see that social signals remain a tiny part of the Google algorithm. I think it's harder for them to figure out the real social signals from the phony than they may have thought (in many ways, it's even harder than figuring out legit links!).

  • Moaz Abu goush

    Thank you for this great post . 
    but i don't agree with you about the bounce rate !!! ....Matt said that Google dose n't use Google analytic for ranking .
    but actually they have their own metrics ( that don't depend on Google analytic ) and bounce rate is a ranking factor ..if SEOmoz approve my post , i will discuss this idea .

    • Jayson DeMers

      Well, as SEOs we can only give our best guesses about what factors are at play in the ranking algorithm and which are not. I think I made a pretty good case for why bounce rate isn't part of the algorithm, but I'm not Matt Cutts, so I don't have all the answers.

  • Deanna Sandmann

    Great post! Social signals are certainly becoming increasingly important. It's past time for brands and businesses to take advantage of this and build out their social presences.

    • Jayson DeMers

      Yes, many brands still haven't allocated resources to social. They're the ones that will be left in the dust, unfortunately.

  • briancardozo

    I guess I will be getting my G+ <a href="">Blog</a>on!!

    Thank you!

  • Grav

    Ive been developing social signals for my brand, I love the plugins at as they generate  signals with interaction.

  • Richard Masters

    Good piece, Clear and informative. wish others could achieve this!

  • ncrypted

    Thanks for writing best article. According to me Now Google + is one of the most important for SEO other then Facebook and Twitter, So include Google +1 button on Onsite elements and Google Plus page for Offline elements.

  • Safor web Design

    Thanks for your job. Social Media & SEO are getting closer. It's a fact.

  • Oremo Ochillo

    Excellent post. I would be really interested to see if anyone knew any tools that help you integrate your onsite and offsite content engines?

  • MatildaRose

    My problem with most of the studies looking at whether social signals affect SEO rankings, is that the time frames of the studies tend to be too short. It's like, do a campaign, check immediately to see if there is a result and then blog about how successful it is. No-one looks at whether those results stick.
    IMO, social factors only have a temporary effect - at most two weeks, so it's a lot of time to spend on what is not a great return, unless you only need to rank for a short period (because of a product launch or something).

  • AJ Singh

    excellent article. thanks for posting

  • RedAlkemicompany

    Wow…some great ideas for sure.....just goes to show that there is such a variety of ways to accomplish the same goal.!!

  • Maciej Godlewski

    Great article! Thanks for putting it together. I've been searching for information on how social affects rankings and your article hit the spot. One thing I wonder is why is it taking Google so long to really incorporate social signals into the algorithms. The social networks have been around for a while so why wait so long? Is it just because it was waiting to get in the game Google+? I guess we can't complain as it gives us more time to make sure we follow your recommendations and are ready for the coming changes.

    Maciej Godlewski edited 2012-11-11T14:42:12-08:00
  • Zachary Russell

    Social signals are definitively playing a more and more important role in the SEO world. Even if they didn't have a direct result on SERPs, things like Authorship attribution and the viral nature of social media have immense impacts on marketing as a whole. I really enjoyed Rand Fishkin's video on how G+ is affecting SEO as well.

  • Shayn Baron

    Jayson, Thank you for sharing, you're spot on! I believe strategy matters and where you share matters, but the most value lies in the "what". Creating beauty, being honest, thoughtful sharing, and linking quality content to other quality content are key ingredients to recognition.

    Hope this finds you well. 

  • Howard Farmer

    If you add 6 Social Sharing Buttons to a page, do you leak PageRank from that page?

  • Ajay Jhunjhunwala

    I am here in this post second time. In the 1st comment what i said was true then. But after the google latest version of Panda gave me positive feedback. My site is now ranking much better in SERP in keywords like seo company kolkata, seo kolkata, top SEO Company in Kolkata etc. Now i am realizing the importance of Social Media. Because last 2 months i really worked hard in Social Media. more or less i got positive feedback. 

  • NathanBrook

    Thanks dear. It’s a great article on social media organic search. It's very useful to me like all the social media users.

  • lews

    Hello,I do SEO for a web development related website. I use FB, Twitter, G+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Can you please suggest me some other ways to increase my website's social signal?Thanks in advance.

  • Pro
    Dilendra Wimalasekere

    is there any tools to measure social counts to all the URLS with

    and with nice reports?

  • Pro
    Gyi Tsakalakis

    I'll tell you what I'm blathering about... I've got information man! New s*** has come to light!

    - The Dude

  • Likesage

    Social traffic is not only for website's. Any business can use social  media advertising for small business also. But people don't know it.

  • Avnish Gautam

    No doubt it is very clear for everyone social signals from social bookmark websites work like a pusher for the ranking and your guide is amazing for seo.

    [link removed by editor]

    Trevor-Klein edited 2014-10-13T10:01:31-07:00
    • Trevor Klein

      Hello, Avnish, and thanks for chiming in! We wanted to ask that you please keep your comments (especially links) relevant to the author's post. As a general rule, if it doesn't add relevant value for the readers, it shouldn't be there. Thanks much. =)

  • briancardozo

    I guess I will be getting my hawaiishippers blog on G+!!

    Thank you!!

  • Springboard_SEO

    Hey Jayson,

    What do you make of Matt Cutt's latest assertion that Facebook shares and Google +1's aren't used as ranking signals?

  • Matt Jameson

    SEO or not, your website/webpage's credibility will be seriously boosted in the eyes of its visitors simply by increasing the numbers shown on the social media buttons. I believe you understand how important that is and how hard it is to create a credibility the "traditional" way, and the numbers themselves will do just that for you. Not only that, but people tend to click on a social media button ONLY if there's already a sufficiently big number shown next to that button, so your link will be progressively shared as time goes by.

    When I'm in a need of social signals I visit the most popular and advanced website where tens of thousands of sellers offer their SEO-related services, and the price of such service could be as low as just $1 :)) Thus, the ratings system implemented there helps me to determine which service is a legit and valuable one, so yeah, it's a pure gold mine full of hardworking freelancers, a perfect tool for my businesses :) Here's the link: [link removed by editor]

    And since Facebook is the most important, most recognizable and most valuable factor which the average internet user (customer, that is) uses for estimating the credibility of a certain website - for only $5 you could get 12,000 likes to your Facebook like button put on your website which is an amazing price for gaining such credibility tool. I regularly order that service from this guy, he has tons of positive reviews, he can add as many likes as I want (12K for $5, 55K for $20, etc) and most importantly - his likes are permanent and they never drop, that's why he has a 100% profile rating even though he offers them for more than 2 years ! You'd be fool not to try him: [link removed by editor]

    Trevor-Klein edited 2014-10-17T08:42:02-07:00
    • Trevor Klein

      Hi Matt, please refrain from including promotional links in the blog comments. To boot, the services you mention are likely dangerous for any online marketers to employ, so I've removed those links from your comment.

  • Jim Hobson

    My personal opinion on the value of social signals assigned by search engines recognizes a desire for authentication of links and accountability. In years past link building was a Wild West environment where those with time and or money could win a ranking war on link volume. By giving props to highly relevant sources or links which can be tied directly to a real person the ability to judge quality and legitimacy is made easier. This link evaluation method is a better model for assessing which sites are honestly embraced by real people. In this regard honesty, quality and sincerity are attributes of good links in 2013.

  • Muhammad Zaheer

    Very detailed post regarding social media approach towards SEO.

    Yes, you made a very much logical post regarding social media approach to SEO. Today, trend has changed a bit and also in process. If I talk about my self when I search something in the meanwhile I also check the social communities about that product or services to be updated about their services before i decide to buy anything.
    Now, social media has become is kind of word of mouth marketing channel. To get referral traffic from social media, it is better to join famous communities and after sometime you should your own as you get a bit recognition in some communities.

    Its the best post i found ever.

  • Gagan Modi

    Excellent Post

    Social Signals impact on Search Engine Rankings though, a direct correlation unknown, but its no denying that as Google is getting smarter and user friendly, they would have been considering social signals a strong indicator in determining the user behavior.

    A post getting viral on Social Media - Facebook, Twitter is definitely going to get attention from Search Engines too, as its been recommended by real human

  • Matthew Stone

    Came back to re-read this one just to make sure I haven't missed anything!  Working the social signals angle as part of the overall SEO effort is worth the effort.  Thanks!

  • Ajay Jhunjhunwala

    Jayson DeMers no doubt it is a good post about social media. Also a guide how to do it. But sorry to now a days i am doing only social media for my site but no significant improvement in SERP. Now a day i don't do reciprocal, 3 way link exchange, article submission etc which gave me positive feedback in past. I think link exchange (2 way, 3 way ), directory and article submission didn’t lost their importance in SEO. I like to begin those practices again. Will you suggest me, it is going to work or not?

    cobwebseo edited 2012-11-07T22:36:15-08:00
  • Joel Rivera

    Thanks for the article. I am doing very well with Facebook, good with Twitter but haven't cracked the Google+ code yet. ANy tips?

    • Jayson DeMers

      At this point, all I do is post links to the articles I've written. I'm not good (read: don't have any time) at interacting with folks on G+. However, my understanding is that you should essentially treat it like Facebook.

  • Pro
    Jon Lisbin

    Great post Jayson! Social is clearly a ranking signal at this point, and it will be super interesting to watch over the next few years to see how Google and the other engines incorporate and refine those signals.

    • Jayson DeMers

      Thanks! I agree, and I'm fascinated to see how the search landscape changes as social evolves.

  • Info4u2use

    Great post, thanx for the hard work and serious effort you have used to get these points across.

    Links are links and social signals are just links of a special nature.

  • aruegger

    Best method for gaining a social following for a B2B business with only ~20,000 target consumers, attracting "non-relevant" followers is not a company agenda = limitations on posting diversity and content production - Go: (any and all ideas welcome)

  • Venkatesh Madgundi

    Jayson Good One on Social Signals in Organic SEO!

    Its really complicated thing that Organic SEO has value of Social Signals or its just matter of Social Media Marketing? however we can truly say, Yes it has value in Organic SEO as I personally worked on many Social web platforms in order to gain visibility of our brand name and ultimately it gains my website traffic. According to Google track that low bounce rate and average time on site with repeated visitors influence my Organic result and It was my real experiment on Social Signals. 

    Anyways, Jayson just did in-depth analysis of Social Signals in Organic Ranking. Thanks for sharing with US!

    Venkatesh Madgundi edited 2012-11-06T22:33:58-08:00
  • Hugo Boarotto

    Target the right audience , can be a problem. The power of laws of attraction, we have to use all the Social media this days ..... Being a good audience producer has the power to increase your on-line business exponentialy .

    Good stuff
    Thanks for sharing.

    KeriMorgret edited 2012-11-06T12:57:30-08:00
  • Pro
    Ryan Bradley

    Facebook metrics may carry a little more weight than Twitter, but don't underestimate that little bird.  I've seen a retweet of a blog post from a major player in my clients industry and we jumped from #8 to #1 for a term, almost instantly.

  • Neil Ferree

    There's a good reason your post got elevated from YouMoz to SEOmoz • Quality Content is still Key! This article somewhat validates the article I authored back on Feb 12, 2012 entitled Social Shares is Becoming the New SEO albeit, you've support references are newer and better support metrics then what I purported back in February `12.

    Now that G+ is in full bloom and rel=author is becoming more common place, my quandary is to figure out how much more influential (of even if) a social share is superior to a social signal or if a +1 or FB Like will carry the same weight as a Plus post that attracts multiple "shares" + comments + creates a robust Ripple based on the metrics you mention in this well written piece?

    • Jayson DeMers

      Thanks for the kind words! I try not to get caught up in the exact math of it all; rather than spending your time analyzing the exact value of a metric, spend that time writing your next guest blog post =)

    • Info4u2use

      What is the difference between a social share and a social signal?

      please help explain this so we understand better.


  • Djs

    Have you analyzed the blog performance? like after what time you will see the results from your blog?

    • Jayson DeMers

      I haven't. I try not to get caught in analysis paralysis; for me, knowing that traffic is trending upwards is all I need to know =) I'd rather spend my time promoting than analyzing, ya know?

  • Harris Schachter

    Nice job here Jayson.

    For step 1 of "What steps to take", I would like to add that is extremely useful for reserving and checking the availability of usernames across social media platforms.

    Also, a minor note- this year's SMX Advanced was in June (not July). Epic rant was epic

    • Jayson DeMers

      Thanks for the note! And yes, is very useful indeed. Good point!

  • Tom Windeknecht

    Great article! I have recently started blogging and I can already tell a difference in my traffic. I will have to implement even more social signals.

    • Jayson DeMers

      Blog on your own site, but also offsite (guest blog posts). Combine the two and you've got it made.

  • Dinu. D

    Excellent!!!You do such a great job!  Thank You

  • Rajkumar Singh

    Yes Jayson, you are absolutely right because next upcoming days google will more social as compared today.In present if we will see in 80% guys are social. And yes i like your points "The world is becoming more social. Today’s kids are tomorrow’s consumers, and they are being raised communicating on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc". So thanks a lot again Jayson for sharing these valuable info with us.

    Rajkumarsingh edited 2012-11-06T22:39:49-08:00
    • Jayson DeMers

      Yes, it's important to remember that the world is becoming more social; it only makes sense that SEO should too.

  • Matt-Antonino

    Social signals make me wonder if it's better to claim (ie. more social profiles) or better to maximize those you do claim (ie. only 3-5 and work them frequently.)  I don't know that we have a definitive answer to this but it's something I'd love to know.

  • Scott Redgate

    Solid Post man... Hitting the post button on G+ is one of those tedious things we SEOs have to continue to do

  • cleaningangels

    Great! you have provided great insights over here. i have personally applied this social media to my site and i found much improvement on my site..
    thanks for your post.

  • Dana Tan

    Nice post Jayson. I wonder if it will really be ten years before links give way to social. It seems like it's going to be a lot sooner than that. This was a great guide to get people on track with social. I take exception with one thing you said though...You said "lower bounce rate is generally considered to be better." I would argue that lower bounce rate is always better. I can't imagine a single scenario where a higher bounce rate is better in any way. Just a thought! :-)

  • Ketan Raval

    i have Done Approx 35% submission in social media Sites inspite of that i am not getting back ranks on Google any Idea?

    my Site:

    Any Suggestion?

    KeriMorgret edited 2012-11-08T21:24:55-08:00
    • Ajay Jhunjhunwala

      You checked your rank after latest Panda Update? My sites Domain and Page authority has increased after the update. Ranking is also higher for my targeted keywords. I am quite sure my social media effort returns back. My be late, but i am sure you will also get the result. 

  • Ian Wright

    This is an excellent summary - many thanks. Time to create more content (and share it!)...

  • Melissakelly

    Hi Jayson, 

    I enjoyed your article and very much agree with the importance of social media marketing and I've noticed the positive effects it's had from personal experience.  It's important that people take social media seriously and don't neglect an opportunity to improve their SEO and engagement with potential clients and customers.  I also discuss social and it's effects on an organization's brand and reputation in one of my latest articles.  Feel free to check it out here:

    Thanks for your insight!  


    KeriMorgret edited 2012-11-07T15:45:39-08:00
  • Scott True

    Great post Jayson. There are hundreds of articles Yoav, yet people are still confused. I guess it’s rightfully so because a lot of the information we get is vague and open to interpretation. Jayson, I like that you’ve kept is simple. With all the noise out there, we need a reduced explanation. Personally, I would like to see less written about correlations and more written about what is known for sure. I’m glad that research has been done and that the existences of correlations are confirmed. But in the end, to me, that’s just plain obvious. Of course you are going to have more traffic and more natural back links if you have good content and you are being social. As I stated before, best practices shouldn’t change much no matter what. So, correlations exist and best practices remain close to the same. Let’s move on to figuring out what social ranking factors affect SEO. By the way, I don’t claim to know the answers and I’m not implying that you should or anything. I am speaking to the SEO community. I’m interested to know if there is anything else known about all this. Here are some conclusions I’ve reached: - Paraphrasing/summarizing from my facebook post (references are given in the post):

    1. We know from Matt Cutts that facebook walls are not crawled

    2. We know that Google can index

     a. fan pages
     b. facebook comments left on third party sites
     c. a limited view of user profiles
     d. and public user posts as long as there is a URL to follow (for example, if you put a link to that post in a blog)

    3. We also know that Google is looking at this facebook activity, counting any links they see as a signal, and trying to figure out author rank of users

    4. We know that Google can now crawl twitter and even though they are being careful, they do have an interest what real people are sharing and the author rank of the users

    5. It’s no secret that Google plus is your online ID

    6. Google plus is being crawled and users are being measured for author rank. The links are being followed and pages are being indexed as a result

    7. Eric Schmidt (Google) confirmed that social signals are a ranking

    All of this is being improved. But it’s important to understand that it has started. Social matters to your SEO. I also believe that this is only worth talking about if you are interested in knowing how it works because none of this really changes best practices which are to put out good content that people want and be sociable.

    KeriMorgret edited 2012-11-07T15:47:05-08:00
  • Bibiano Wenceslao

    Finally, something I can show to clients who just want to "rank first on the SERPs" and basically just want to focus on building links "from the outside". I've always tried to explain to them the massive opportunity they are missing by not tapping into social media and its short term and long term benefits. 

    Bookmarked for future reference. Thanks for the great post, Jayson!

  • eyepaq

    I would argue about Facebook being a signal at all within Google - but again I am not a facebook fanboy so it might just be subjective.

    • Jayson DeMers

      Most studies agree that Facebook plays a role, even if only a small one. I'll side with the scientists on this one =)

  • Matt Coffy

    Great post, Jayson. I agree with the comment above that your discussion between the correlation of SEO and social signals, as compared to others, is explained in an easy-to-understand manner; how to apply and be successful with your strategy however, is another matter. But as a marketer, I'm always looking to experiment to see what will work "today" and the fact that people talk stand true in the test of time - they just do it online nowadays. Be social and engage. Cheers!

    • Jayson DeMers

      Thanks for your thoughts! I'm glad to know that the post was written in a way that's easy to understand. SEO doesn't have to be difficult to understand!

  • Jessica John

    I am completely agree with your points and i feel that without social media marketing or sharing we can't achieve our goals in traffic and ranking factors. Especially facebook, twitter, google plus, linkedin, pinterest etc, but i have concern about guest posting. I tried this method many times but found nothing except wastage of time, content and confidence.

    • Jayson DeMers

      This very post is a guest post, and as you can see, it's been received quite well. It's a real-world example of the value of guest posting!

  • Pro
    Richard Horvath

    Great post, Jayson.  We agree that social signals are going to only get bigger from here on out.Social has to be a part of your online strategy going forward and not just posting a link out there but engaging with your audience and talking to them.  

  • Rajeev_R

    This post was extremely useful. You’ve explained it in a clear way that makes sense, and given me several areas to research further. Thanks so much.