I’ve never really jumped on the get-social-signals-to-boost-seo bandwagon because I never really understood why Google would even use this metric to rank a site in the first place. There are just too many questions and issues: How many signals is enough to do any good considering awful sites can purchase likes and follows? Does Google grade on an exponential scale so that you have to increase your social signals by a factor of 10 to get double the effect? Can Google distinguish between a piece of humor or a cute picture on our website that gets shared, and is more likely to get shared, verses real, meaningful content that is actually relevant to what our websites are about? Are they actually going to give kudos to another website which just happens to have an easy method for people to tweet or like the page and not give credit to the one that actually has better content but the webmaster just doesn’t have any social sharing icons installed? Is Google really able to extract any meaningful data out of this mess they have created?
The Social Signals Buzz Is Just Another Urban Myth
Now it appears all the buzz about making your site look “popular”, and thus authoritative, in the eyes of Google, was just another one of those urban myths popularized by well-meaning experts and non-experts in the SEO industry.
It turns out Google’s reason for not using social signals has to do with their ability, or lack of ability, to extract meaningful data. At one time they discovered one of the major social venues like Facebook had shut them out of their API so they couldn’t get any data. Matt said their engineers didn’t want to be dependent on social venues that have to give them permission to mine data through their API’s. That sounds quite reasonable. Why didn’t I think of that?
Putting social icons on your website is still a good idea and more easily enables you to spread your information to a wider audience than those who already know about what you have to offer.
Speaking of which, here are some social sharing icons conveniently placed for you to make use of: