At this point in time, almost all savvy site owners already recognizes the significance of their sites’ social media presence. First, it reduces the dependency on search traffic that might dropped if some new search algorithm will strike. Second, the point I will discuss on this post, it has an affect on the search rankings themselves.
However, this certain affect of social media elements on search rankings, is yet to be fully understand. It is known that some signals of Google’s Panda algorithm includes aspects of a website presence on the different social networks but it’s unclear to what extent it reaches and what weight it carries.
These are some of the questions the fellows at the SEO firm TastyPlacement tried to answer in a recent interesting study.
They have created six websites with similar attributes: They all compete in the same niche and in all their domain names includes the local city’s name the site is operating in and the specific service it provides (something like CityService[dot]com). All six cities were similar in their size.
After ten months of the sites were live (probably to eliminate the time factor on Google’s rankings), they’ve started the experiment. Each of the sites was promoted by using a different social network activity:
- 1,000 Twitter followers.
- 50 Tweets and Retweets.
- 70 Shares and 50 Likes on Facebook.
- 100 Google+ page followers.
- 300 +1’s to the site’s homepage.
- No social activity at all.
After a month, they measured the Google search rankings of each of the sites and compared those results to the search rankings prior to the promotion activity on the social networks. The search rankings changes were pretty different between the websites.
The site with the 100 Google+ page followers benefited from the biggest boost in rankings- It jumped by an average of 14.63 positions. Second was the site with 300 +1’s that gained an average of 9.44 positions increase. The site that been promoted on Facebook was third with an average rise of 6.9 positions.
Fourth was the site which been promoted by Tweets and Retweets with an average increase of 2.88 positions and the site that hasn’t been promoted at all was fifth with an average decrease of 0.11 positions. Surprisingly, the site with 1,000 Twitter followers suffered from a big negative affect- It fell by an average of 1.22 positions.
The study obviously lacks by many issues. It ignores other elements that may have driven ranking changes like content on the sites and backlinks that may have been created during that period. Also, the social networks activity elements aren’t equal between the sites.
But still, even with all the study’s flaws, the fact that Google+ activity generated the biggest boost in rankings with a huge gap from all other social media activities can’t be ignored. Google may claim that it’s because it only has full access to Google+ data but it doesn’t change what each site owner should conclude- Promotion on Google+ can be crucial!
TastyPlacement indulged us with a great infographic which describes the whole process of the study: