Do social signals have the power to influence Google’s SERP?
Social signals are, in a nutshell, the number of times a website is mentioned on social networks: in the last few years, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest have become invaluable tools to establish an online presence, both as influencers and online business alike. The importance that social signals have for the online presence is constantly expanding, though experts are still trying to fully understand whether the role of social media is fundamental in terms of organic position.
In particular, given the importance of backlinks when it comes to ranking, and the difficulty in influencing directly the behavior adopted by social media users, social signals represents a real reaction to a defined source. To overcome this problem, in the past many companies and people adopted services that, by using automatic bots, were able to generate fake social signals: nowadays, Google is able to distinguish fairly precisely between natural social signals and the artificial ones.
To put it quite simply, social signals are very important as they determine the true authority of a defined source on Google’s search engine: given the importance of backlinks, these have no use unless someone mentions the website on social networks.
Some SEO experts globally have tried to consolidate and refine their research on the importance social signals have for online placement, providing 5 great case studies that we summarize below.
1. The case study of Jeffalytics.com
The case study offered by jeffalytics.com began with the creation of 4 websites optimized for rather similar keywords, with fairly high competition and many monthly searches. After verifying the creator of three of the four websites, thanks to social signal tests it was discovered that simply sharing the Google+ account was enough to position the website in a quite satisfactory position in the industry.
2. The case study of KaisertheSage.com
KaisertheSage.com has focused its attention on what happens after an online publication. A newly posted item, retweeted by influencers and prominent web personalities, has positioned, in just 12 hours, second in the SERP "get in content links" query search. Since, in the following days, the post was no longer available in Google's top 50 results, the case study shown that social signals are useful especially at the beginning. They will also need a steady SEO base in order to maintain the results achieved.
3. The case study of moz.com
The moz.com case study highlighted how social signals can truly affect the placement of an online page. In this case, after publishing the "Beginner's Guide to SEO" and after Smashing Magazine retweeted it (1.002 million followers), the related page appeared among the top 10 positions of Google's SERP for the keyword’s search beginner's guide.
4. Shrushti.com case study
The study conducted by shrushti.com focused on the search "Argos Voucher Codes March 2013" keyword. Thanks to Facebook’s likes, retweets and sharing on Google+, the page, from being in four hundredth position, was on the front page of Google UK in just a month. This study has clearly highlighted the importance of social signals for uncompetitive queries.
5. The case study of Backlinksvault.com
In this case study, Backlinksvault.com wanted to push the limits of Google's rules. Specifically, it created artificial social signals on Twitter, Youtube and Pinterest, placing itself on the front page with many of the keywords used.