What do most webmasters want out of search engine optimization? Better search rankings—Google search rankings, to be specific. The ubiquitous search engine is constantly used by millions around the world, receiving a godly amount of traffic each day. Naturally, webmasters who use SEO want better Google search rankings, aiming much of their SEO campaigns at bolstering their Google visibility.
The Mysteries of Social Media SEO and Visibility
Website and web page visibility will always remain a common focus of SEO. But, a lot of webmasters are segmenting their SEO focuses now—especially when social media’s so common. SEO and social media. Given how simple building a social media page is, you’d think that working in SEO would be easier. Of course, nothing’s that easy. The past two years have seen webmasters attempt to unravel some of the so-called mysteries behind social media SEO: how SEO impacts social media, how social media benefits from SEO, among other things. And, if such a mystery was easy to solve, perhaps some would have published concrete answers by now. But even though we can’t get concrete answers regarding the matter, various sources are experimenting with how SEO impacts social media. The following sections will explore the impact of Facebook activity and SEO in regards to Google search rankings.
Facebook Activity and Google Search Rankings
Facebook is starting to regain some popularity among webmasters. Why? Its potential as an ‘SEO’ hotbed, of course. Various aspects of Facebook Pages can be adjusted to harbor enough SEO to bolster search activity for a particular brand. Naturally, there’s a lot of mystery behind how Google actually interprets Facebook Pages. How much Google can see on a Facebook Page is one mystery that some have been trying to figure out.
Google Visibility and Facebook Likes
Facebook Likes essentially track the number of people who like your Facebook Page. So, when you like a page, it doesn’t show on your profile. The like adds on to the total number of likes that may be displayed on the page in question. But, Google doesn’t see the likes. So, they can’t tell whether an authoritative source endorses something you may have posted. They do display the total number of likes on a Facebook page, however. That also reveals an interesting truth: Google can’t tell the difference between ‘bought’ likes and genuine likes, either. All likes appear the same to them. Likes also don’t appear to impact Google visibility. A noted SEO social media source ran two Facebook tests regarding likes and visibility. The test involves driving a large amount of likes to two different pages situated in three different web domains. They ran six tests. At least 50 of the added likes came from people they knew, while the rest were bought from Fiverr. The result of the test revealed something interesting: none of the pages were indexed or crawled by Google.
Google and Shared Facebook Content
Public Facebook Pages and profiles are able to be crawled by Google. So, this opens up the opportunity for sharing—wherein people ‘forward’ interesting or entertaining content to their network of followers. Social media sharing is considered relatively important to social media SEO and how it works. Sharing exposes content to other users who would have not seen that content, hereby bolstering the visibility of the original source. It’s the reason why shares are also referred to as social media signals. It doesn’t, however, mean Facebook shares count toward bolstering Google search visibility. The same source tested how this works. Again, they asked about 50 of their followers to share different test pages. They ultimately saw limited success: they only got as much as 7 to 11 shares for each page. Not only that, Google didn’t crawl or index any of the pages due to the sharing activity. They cited the ‘small number of shares – signals – and non-authoritative real profiles‘ as a cause behind the lack of Google indexing and crawling.
Facebook Friends and Visibility
Indexing Facebook Posts Via Google
Google does index plenty of Facebook posts—they’ve, so far, indexed as much as 1.87 billion posts. Interestingly enough, this doesn’t seem to cover the entire breadth of Facebook posts! Remember: not all profiles are set to public. The same source checked out 85 popular Facebook profiles to learn just how many posts Facebook index. These profiles all have large numbers of likes and strong PageRanks, making them pretty authoritative to the search engine. They looked at the following metrics: their last 10 posts and 10 posts that were 3 months or older. They also observed 10 posts that were 6 months or older and 10 posts that were 12 months or older. They also tracked the actual content within the posts to see whether it impacted how Google indexed them. The results ultimately covered 340 posts, a small number of posts out of the contingent already indexed. However, the posts were taken from profiles that Google was already highly likely to track. According to their results, Google doesn’t index all posts and shares. This also applies to highly popular or authoritative profiles like the aforementioned. Less than 60 percent of posts are actually indexed. They do index at least 85 percent of posts with links, but it’s still well under the amount many think they do bother to index. Posts aren’t more likely to be indexed if they are new, either. The data uncovered during their tests didn’t find any conclusive evidence regarding that matter. All in all, Google doesn’t appear to consider Facebook as an indexing, ranking or discovery factor. So, focusing on bolstering Facebook SEO for that particular purpose is probably not the best option to take at this time. The interesting thing about Facebook SEO and Google is that it’s always changing—what might work today is just as likely to be a bust three months later. The data we reviewed is just one perspective out of many involved with social media SEO today.