The RankPop Blog

Social Signals for SEO – Past, Present, and Future


Over the past 6 months there has been a lot of talk about social signals and how these could be related to successful SEO. It’s obvious that they are closely associated with SEO success, but their exact relationship is still unclear.

Unless Google and Bing throw open their doors and let us examine the intricacies of their algorithms, it’s not likely that any of us will ever know exactly how social signals influence SEO, but that won’t stop us from trying to figure out the mystery, or taking advantage of the benefits that we can see already stemming from increasing the number of signals surrounding our brands.


Video: The Impact of Social Signals on SEO


Social Signals as a Ranking Factor in the Past

In the past we weren’t exactly sure what to think about social signals and their influence on rankings. We were pretty sure that there was some correlation there, and a relationship was evolving even as we watched. The exact nature of the whole thing was what was eluding us, and to a point it still is and probably always will.

The more we examine social signals and analyze how they could possibly be affecting the rankings of brands all over the world, the more we see that while there might not be a direct “Because of X social signal, Brand A will have better rankings than Brand B” sort of connection, social signals still have an important role to play.


Looking at Social Signals in the Present

The way we see it, social signals have two types of influence on search results and rankings in the present day:

  • Direct influence
  • Indirect influence

Social signals have direct influence in cases like Bing’s evaluation of Twiter user’s authority and Google’s consideration of both Twitter and Facebook users’ authority in their results.

Indirectly social signals can impact search results by creating the potential for more inbound links, more mentions of your brand name and products / services, and more positive information about you from individual users such as reviews left on websites like Yelp or left as reviews on Google Local.

There are more examples of each type of influence, but we think you can see where we’re going with this one.

Bottom line, social signals are important, they’re here to stay, and we can only do our best to work with them and beyond them in order to make the most of the available opportunities for SEO success that they offer.


The Social Signals of the Future

The idea that social signals may one day surpass links in the hierarchy of most important ranking factors isn’t that farfetched.

Think about it…what do social signals do exactly?

They create a buzz about your brand. They draw attention to you, your goals, your missions, and your products / services too. Social signals are signs that your brand is being actively discussed and supported or downvoted by real people using the internet as a research and sharing tool. Social signals are all about communication. How many and what kind of signal are simply indicators of who is talking about you and where the discussion is taking place. The more authority a user has, the more weight their social activity will carry for the brands they engage with.

Sounds like fun to us!


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How do you think social signals have helped or harmed your brand’s overall rankings?







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