by Chris Angus
Google’s algorithm is believed to use over 200 signals to determine where a page should rank for a particular query, and this number seems to be growing at a phenomenal rate. Google hates its search engine being manipulated by SEO practitioners like me, and is constantly changing its algorithm to become more resilient against search spam.
While hyperlinks from other Web sites remain by far the strongest signal of a Web page’s quality (and therefore its visibility on Google), now Google also looks to many other factors to determine whether a page or Web site is important. They are doing this because back links are too readily manipulated (mainly through people buying them), so Google wants some back-up verification as to whether the page has genuine interest or importance.
These secondary signals will largely come from the largest social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook , Digg, and Delicious. Google won’t look only at if there have been submissions to these sites, but, more importantly, how successful they have been. Some examples of strong signals that Google might be looking for include:
- How many Tweets a particular piece of content has received, and the reputation of the Tweeters
- How many Diggs a piece of content received, and whether it reached the front page of Digg.
- How many votes a particular submission has received on Delicious
Similar signals might apply to the other social media sites, so Google can further understand whether a particular page is important.
Google is starting to look for signals beyond its own boundaries because regular link spammers will have to manipulate many more systems and algorithms to achieve the same results. At the same time. links are not as free flowing as before because people are voting for pieces of content without having to link to them. We’ve started to notice that a particular piece of content before might have received 100 or more links if it was well-written and strongly promoted. These days, it might get just four or five links and 90 tweets. So Google must look beyond links and their particular reputation or level of trust to understand what the Web is doing and what’s important and current.
To rank well on Google in the future, take a holistic and organic approach and promoting yourself and your company in as many popular mediums as possible. You’ll also reap all the side benefits of social media interaction. This is truly a case of 1 + 1 = 3 for savvy marketers.