Do Twitter and Facebook links impact SEO?

Earier this month Bing and Google confirmed in a Search Engine Land interview that links shared on Facebook and Twitter can have an impact on SEO ranking. However it isn’t a simple “more links on Facebook = higher search results” equation.

Bing and Google both have social media-specific search results pages that are influenced by users’ friends and social graph, based on the links they are sharing. And both search engines also offer real-time results of what’s being shared generally on social networks. However, these results are separate from regular search results.

What Google did reveal is that it uses a measure of author authority in its SEO ranking of sites, using Twitter users’ “author quality”. Meanwhile Bing has a similar measurement called “Social Authority”.  Both search engines say that this social or author authority can influence organic search results.

Marketing Times expanded on this, suggesting that Google and Bing might assess how influential a link is on Twitter using factors such as:

  • diversity – the more Twitter accounts sharing a link, the more social authority
  • timing – breaking news vs. links with greater longevity
  • context and content – maybe using the full tweet as a replacement for anchor text
  • engagement level – the number of clicks, retweets, shares, etc

So, if we consider all these points together, then a highly influential Twitter user (who shares a variety of tweets, which are retweeted, commented on, or shared) can potentially build authority and the links they share could enjoy an SEO boost.

It will be interesting to see if anybody can now bring forward a case study to demonstrate this effect.

Links shared on Facebook could be treated similarly, However, the search engines say that they don’t have access to personal information on Facebook walls, so they cannot calculate authority in the same fashion.

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