Do Twitter or Facebook affect Google ranking?
The short answer? No, not directly.
Those studying SEO often see that high-ranking pages have a lot of Facebook likes or Twitter followers. It’s not unthinkable to consider that Google gives some weight to this social media presence. These sites are popular on Facebook and Twitter and rate high in Google searches, so they must be connected right? However, it’s more likely that high-quality and popular content is causing more people to link to the page and bump it up the ranking—which gets people to notice it on social media. If you’ve got good content people are going to like it and link to it, moving it up the search results.
Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, released a video last month talking about how the search giant factors Facebook and Twitter signals into their ranking algorithm. Cutts said that Google basically gives no special treatment to Facebook or Twitter pages—they’re treated just like regular pages. He says there’s no direct relationship between Facebook likes or retweets and higher search rankings.
So does that mean you should shut down your Facebook or Twitter accounts? Far from it. Cutts himself says it well in the video: “Both of those services represent a fantastic avenue. It’s a way to drive visitors and traffic to your site and it’s a way to let people know about news related to you or your website. So I think they’re great ways to build up your personal brand. But don’t necessarily assume that just because there is a signal on Facebook or Twitter that Google is able to access that.”
The moral of the story is that Facebook and Twitter are fantastic and useful tools for driving traffic to your website, but don’t count on them to bump you up the search rankings. For that you’re going to have to rely on SEO and old fashioned high-quality content that people want to view and share.