By Michael Olson | Posted on December 19, 2011
Most online marketers can tell you that the core of any SEO strategy is to optimize site content for search engines and build a network of high-authority backlinks. While search engines have long been the de facto method of navigating the web, that tide is beginning to shift. The sustained growth of social media feeds as a channel for content sharing has caused marketers to question how social signals influence search.
Perhaps the most persuasive evidence that Facebook and Twitter augment search rankings comes from SEOmoz. In April, they published some insightful correlation data demonstrating the degree to which links shared on social networks correspond with improved search engine rankings.
This analysis uses the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient to measure how strongly Google rankings are associated with quantity and types of links on social channels. The data represented in green is most germane to this topic because it controls for exogenous factors, such as the possibility that pages frequently shared on social networks rank well simply because they are good predictors of pages with lots of quality backlinks from the rest of the web.
SEOmoz found that Facebook shares are more strongly correlated with high search engine rankings than Facebook Likes or Twitter shares. While a correlation coefficient of 0.17 isn’t usually considered strong in a statistical analysis, it is noteworthy here given the number of exogenous variables at play that also influence search rankings. The data confirms that shares on Facebook likely have a positive influence on SEO, and Facebook shares are more influential than Likes or shares on Twitter.
For search marketers and social media strategists seeking to translate these findings into business strategies, consider these takeaways:
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