Disinformation: Social Signals are Not Part of the Algorithm

My co-worker Jeff sent me an interesting post by Blind Five Year old that re-opens the debate surrounding social signals and SEO.

In a nutshell, the article says that social signals are NOT part of the (current) algorithm but they ARE important (because they tend to extend the reach of content / create inbound links).

While I don’t disagree with the summary above, I do warn clients not to believe everything they read.

Here’s why.

I don’t optimize for Google today, I optimize for Google 5 years from now. Therefore, social signals ARE part of the algorithm.

Remember, Google used to say links mattered (now it has websites afraid to link).

Why would Google say “the amount of likes and shares you have is an indicator of how relevant your content is to a particular query.”

If they did, they would already be equipped to deal with the avalanche of junk data created by like builders. They may be close, but I don’t think they are there yet.

To me, it is more likely than not that Google is currently observing social sharing activity in its natural, non-like builder environment and writing algorithms to suit. Then, when unnatural activity is detected, the algo can easily compare to natural activity and act accordingly.

Failure to react to the SEO industry (link builders) quickly enough has put Google in the predicament it’s in today – it’s reliant upon a method of ranking websites that’s easily manipulated by those with knowledge and money.

At present, I’m largely reliant upon income generated from my knowledge of the current algorithm, its operation and ways to monetize sites that rank. But I don’t expect the next generation Google algorithm to be as susceptible to exploit.

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