Are social media links starting to affect SEO?
Well if Google Webmaster tools’ reporting is any indication of link recognition, then yeah, they are. But before we jump to conclusions, let’s elaborate on the topic a bit.
We are now seeing that links which are present on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn posts are being recognized in Webmaster tools as external links to the domain which the Webmaster tools account is tracking. This is a new development. So what does this mean for search engine optimization and social media?
We already know that Google is a huge proponent of social media. Matt Cutts, the head of webspam at Google, has stated on multiple occasions that one great way to succeed in SEO is to create a blog and push those blog posts out through social media profiles (learn more about this here). So we know that Google wants social media to succeed. We also know that this tactic works excellent in the search space already; in fact, we have helped many clients establish this relationship. But what does this all mean from an external linking perspective? This is the missing piece.
Well, in my opinion, it merely means this: Google recognizes these links as they would any other inbound link. But here are some things to keep in mind. These links are no-followed links, and they do not have anchor text. So they do not provide substantial SEO benefits. But there is more to consider.
While these links are not the ideal link, it can be assumed that they act as an inbound link would from any other website. If that is the case, these links would still benefit search results to some degree. It has long been speculated that even if a link is a no follow that it does still pass some ranking power (link juice) on to the website it is pointing to, especially if the site has high page rank and fends well for the term you are trying to optimize for.
So there it is! We are now seeing that links from social media posts are registering in webmaster tools. In my opinion, this only strengthens the argument to join the social media movement. Social media continues to grow, and social media optimization must now be a core component to your integrated internet marketing strategy. What is your opinion? Also, if you have a question, please feel free to ask.