In today’s post, we are going to review the data we (Perficient Digital) have assembled on the potential for Facebook activity to impact Google rankings. This is a follow up to the prior study we did to evaluate if Google uses Google+ Shares as a ranking factor. Let’s dig in!
Google Visibility into Facebook Likes
So while Google can load the total number of Likes a page has, it cannot evaluate the quality of those Likes, making the information useless. In fact, every single one of those Likes could have been purchased on Fiverr.
Back in September, we published a study where we attempted to directly measure the impact of Google Plus Shares on Ranking. This study showed that there was no clear evidence that the shares in isolation impacted non-personalized search results.
At the time we also ran two tests related to Facebook. One drove a large number of Likes to brand new pages on established domains, and the other shared brand new pages on established domains via Facebook. In both cases, the Liked or shared pages had no links to them, including internal links, and there were no other means for Google to discover the pages other than Facebook.
In the Like test, we obtained a large number of Likes to 2 different web pages on 3 different domains, for 6 total test cases:
As you can see, we drove a considerable number of Likes on each page. About 50 or so from real people we knew, and the rest from Fiverr. The result? None of the pages were ever crawled or indexed by Google. None. [Tweet This!]
Does Google Index Facebook Shared Content?
Great question. You can intuitively sense that this may have more value. A share implies more commitment by the person doing the sharing, and public Facebook pages and profiles can be crawled by Google. We attempted to test this as well. We asked over 50 people we knew to share a different set of test pages, but as you will see in the screenshot below, we had limited success:
We were only able to get 7 to 11 shares per article, including from Debra Mastaler, Heather Lloyd-Martin, and Clark Taylor.
As with the Like test, there was no sign of the pages getting crawled or indexed. However, the number of signals (shares) was small, and the profiles, while real, and public, were not highly authoritative. This may have led to the pages not getting crawled or indexed. This is what led to our performing the next test, which is described below! But first, an analysis into Google’s visibility into your Friends.
Google’s Visibility Into Your Friends
Of course, this is only relevant to public profiles, but if your profile is public, Google can see your Friends link. Here is how it looks in the source code for your profile page:
If you click on that link and go to the next page, on the initial load of the source code via a laptop/desk top computer, the page will show 20 of your friends, and that is all. Here is a sampling of people from my profile:
However, on the mobile version of the Facebook site, there is a clean link on the Friends page to “show more friends”. This is a simple text link and it is not scrolling dependent. We can’t conclusively decide that Google is pulling this data, but clearly if they are motivated to get this data they can. For that reason, for purposes of this article, we will assume that they do!
Thanks to Aimclear’s CTO, Joe Warner, for his help with the analysis into Google’s visibility into a user’s Friends!
How Likely is Google to Index Facebook Posts?
Another great question. The reason it is interesting is because they need to index the post for it to potentially be a ranking factor. Well, they certainly index a LOT of Facebook posts:
1.87 billion indexed posts sure seems like a large number. But, we don’t know how many Facebook posts there are, so we decided to measure indexing another way. The approach we used is that we looked at a large number of posts (40) across 85 highly prominent Facebook profiles. These are profiles for people who have large numbers of Likes and a strong PageRank for their page, and are therefore more likely to be seen as authoritative. For each profile we looked at the following:
- Their last 10 posts
- 10 posts that were 3 months or older
- 10 posts that were 6 months or older
- 10 posts that were 12 months or older
Choosing a Global Software Development Partner to Accelerate Your Digital Strategy
To be successful and outpace the competition, you need a software development partner that excels in exactly the type of digital projects you are now faced with accelerating, and in the most cost effective and optimized way possible.
Get the Guide
In addition, we separately tracked whether or not the posts were simple text posts, posts that included a link, posts with one or more images, or posts with videos to see if that has any impact on Google’s indexing behavior.
The results were fascinating to say the least! Of course, it must be pointed out that 340 posts represents a relatively small number of posts. However, we deliberately picked more prominent profiles so they would be ones that Google was more likely to pay attention too. Here are the results!
Indexing of the Last 10 Posts
The most recent 10 posts are interesting because they should help us understand if Google is treating Facebook posts as an indicator of news. If it is, it should index these quite heavily and quickly for that matter, but that does not seem to be the case [Tweet This!]. Here is a summary of the data.
Note that the additional 4 pie charts are classifications of the posts, as follows:
- “Images” indicates that a single image or an album was shared in the post.
- “Links” indicates that the post includes a link in it. This is interesting as it could be used as an endorsement in the same fashion as a traditional web link.
- “Text” is for those posts that consists solely of text.
- “Videos” as you would expect is for those posts that contain a video
Indexing of the 10 Posts that are Three Months Old
The following chart, and the next two charts after that, are intended to see if there are material changes in indexing over time, starting with posts that are 3 months old:
Indexing of the 10 Posts that are Six Months Old
Indexing of the 10 Posts that are One Year Old
Indexing of All Posts
Finally, we summarize all the posts we tested:
For those of you that want the gory details, you can see the full spreadsheet here. I am not promising this spreadsheet is easy reading, so be prepared for a time commitment to figure it out, but I offer it up for full disclosure purposes!
Let’s keep this simple and offer a summary of conclusions:
- Clearly Google does not use the Like data. They don’t have it, except for raw aggregate numbers to which they can attach no value. This conclusion is supported by the test we did to see if 800 or more Likes attracted Google’s attention. It did not.
- Our Attempt to Directly Measure Indexing and Ranking of Facebook Shared Links Was Inconclusive. We just did not have enough participation to be sure of the results. However, the data we did have showed that Google did not even crawl the pages based on Facebook shares. This is an indicator that Google does not use this either, but we can’t take that one to the bank.
If Your Profile is Public, Google Can See Who Your Friends are if They Want. They need to crawl the mobile version of Facebook to do so, but it is certainly available to them.
Google Does not Index All Shares on Prominent Profiles. Even for megastars, Google’s indexing of their posts is inconsistent. Under 60% of all their posts are indexed. Interestingly enough, they do index 85% of the posts that contain links, but still not 100%.
Query Deserves Freshness Behavior is Not in Evidence. There is no material evidence to show that posts are more likely to be indexed when they are new (and then dropped from the index later). The only interesting exception is images.
My net conclusion – Google doesn’t use Facebook as a discovery, indexing, or ranking factor. [Tweet This!]
You can, of course, disagree with me. Some of you will. Tell me what you think in the comments!
Want more? See all of our big data social media and SEO studies!
Great study, although one could argue that the fiver likes drove down the quality, but I lean towards your conclusion. Looking forward to your Twitter analysis, that should prove to be an interesting one as well!!! 😉
An interesting post Eric, thanks for sharing. I agree with you about G using Facebook for indexation, we found similar things. Twitter on the other hand… wow it’s faster than trackbacks.
Speaking from personal experience I would say that Facebook comments & shares DO (or did at the time I looked into year or so ago) impact SEO performance. I once found a MASSIVE manual Facebook spam network for a very competitive vertical in the UK car sector. They were pretty much only doing Facebook spam at the time (no other links/ content) as far as I could see. Anyway we were tracking both the Facebook spam and rankings when one day the Facebook spam was all deleted and within a week the site fell off the side of a cliff. Not 100% sure if this was causation though. It’s a fascinating subject!
Thanks, Eric, I really appreciate the effort that goes into each experiment! One wonders, had discovery not been an issue, and all other factors being equal, would Likes then become a factor? As Luis says above, I am eager for Twitter tests, as I recall some early Tweet button analyses indicating accelerated discovery, indexation and rank attainment when Tweets were the sole prop. Thanks again for your generosity!
Well written article! All of the findings align with results I have seen in my own tests as well. I agree with your conclusions. Thanks for sharing them! Cheers, Warren.
Thanks for cutting through the hype and putting these theories to the test. People love to say what a big factor “likes” are in rankings, but this study blows that BS out of the water! Also interesting to see that images, which do so well on Facebook, are often not indexed. Really helpful data.
Really interesting post Eric. I’d be curious to see a similar study carried out in Bing. Since we know Bing and Facebook are in cahoots, and search results can already be personalized with the help of Facebook, I’d love to see how likes, shares, etc. play a part in just every day indexing of content.
Interesting, Eric. I agree with your findings, in fact I think they make perfect sense. Given that Google’s access to FB is limited, it wouldn’t make sense for them to utilize that limited data for ranking purposes, although discovery would seem to be fair game… puzzling.
I find it interesting that images and videos are significantly less impacted. Maybe that’s just a reflection of machine cycles.
Thanks for taking the time to do this and share it, Eric. I’m eager to see the Twitter stuff, too.
Interesting study & results to be sure. One other “variable” that might be useful to study is the increasing use of Facebook signin (also Twitter and other major SM) and subsequent comments by those users on websites, whether they have any more or less impact that non-Facebook ones. I suspect not , it may just be a convenience for users and a way for the website to be able to collect more data on their visitors.
This aligns with what I had previously suspected. Google and Youtube seem to be where the timeline of our future of technology and business is headed where facebook seems to help for business, however is fading out like myspace.
Great work Eric (as always). Having never proven, or believed in the Facebook “like” influence on Google, I appreciate the investment you’ve made to demonstrate it publicly. Social queues impact search, but clearly the belief that shares on Facebook improve visibility on Google is misplaced.
G+ and YouTube are much more likely to influence visibility.
Thanks for sharing your findings!
I found this posting here by chance. And while I feel that the size of the sample is way too small to allow for a definate anwser on the topic, I think that the overall conclusion is correct. Given the strong emphasis Google puts on structured data and authorship to evaluate content and links it seems evident that likes and content postings on facebook or elsewhere, which can not truely be linked to any author or publisher at the moment, will effect rankings in search engine results.
This is not so much a question of statistical evidence rather than logic conclusions from what Google says about where it wants to take its service. Anything a website does to support these goals will help it with its rankings. The rest will receive a neutral treatment even if they are on a 1bn+ user platform with 500,000 fans, an average of 10,000 likes per post and 2,000 sharings. There should be no need to have to prove with numbers what is dictated by sheer logic.
It does impact as per my experience. I have seen that a good engaging Facebook presence can help us rank high on Google.
Thanks Eric, I would have assumed this and only because Google and Facebook seem to be arch enemies lol Therefore why would Google give any love to Facebook that they don’t have to give. Like someone above mentioned I bet if you tested these same things on Bing the results would be completely different..So as you mentioned Facebook is great for driving traffic to your site but don’t count on it bringing your rankings up in Google SERPS with a few exceptions Im sure as well.
Sorry but I don’t agree with some of your conclusions.
Statistically they are not valid.
I branded Lena Levterova using only Facebook. Google the name and you will see thousandth results.
One should test the Hypothesis that a person or company can be very popular on Facebook but will be excluded from Google search index and not the impact of number of Likes on indexing.
It’s also makes sense:
If you were working in the Google Search Algorithm team, you would make sure something like that will not be impossible.
What do you think?
Hi Tzachi – you are misreading the conclusions. What we are saying is that:
1. Google cannot know what pages you Like (there is no ability for them to access that information as Facebook does not expose it in any way).
2. They don’t appear to index all of the posts by people with extremely popular profiles.
3. That our belief is that they don’t treat links contained within Facebook shares as ranking signals for the pages they link to.
None of these statements would prevent you from branding Lena Leverova. And, we do agree that Facebook profile pages can themselves rank, but the above statements don’t deal with that situation. The reason why your site and social media profiles rank is a very old fashioned one – links!
If google can’t read the Facebook shares & like than why many eCommerce sites which have tens & thousands of products are ranking of their product name. We this study do put some light what Matt Cutts have been saying that Google don’t use social likes & shares as ranking factor but they are & will be many which won’t agree.
Hi Jatin – please read the post before you comment. I clearly say that Google CAN read Facebook shares. Likes are another matter, and Google can’t see those. To your question though, as to why eCommerce sites are ranking, it is because they have links.
I see that Google can index/cache Company/Business Pages? If the likes of a business page do not contribute to rankings, would the posts/links on that business page have any value?
As you indicated, Likes of a business page are not going to be valued by Google because Google cannot see who it was that Liked the page. However, the business page itself can rank because that page can obtain links and Google can recognize the association with your brand. Now to your question! If you share a link on a business page, it is possible that it might be given some weight by Google,p however, we don’t know for sure. What our study showed is that even for very prominent Facebook profiles, Google does not index all of their posts (they index about 59%).
If Google saw Facebook shared content as incredibly valuable, we would think they would index a much higher percentage of those posts. However, that is my interpretation of the data, and the fact is that it is possible that they do place *some* value on those links. There is no way to know for sure.
Hey Eric – Thanks for giving back to the SEO community. Your studies help guide all of our marketing efforts.
Tzachi – Facebook is a great branding tool. It is the largest social network and can drive tons of traffic. The study is looking at the SEO value behind FB, which seems to be minimal.
The recent changes in SEO and link building have generated a lot of interest. There are a lot of things that one can learn from this. It is time to get to work and stop making excuses. I was very encouraged by this.
Thanks a lot for sharing your results. If I got correctly. the number of likes just increases the visibility of our posts in Facebook and maybe the referral traffic to our site. Is it right?
Hi Azadeh – yes the likes should help you in Facebook, and you should definitely value them. I don’t know the details of the Facebook algorithm, but I would guess that they place weight on who it is that Likes the content, so I doubt there is value to getting a ton of likes even there. But getting lots of Likes from real people engaging with your Page/Site/Content is a good thing for Facebook visibility.
So many thanks
This is a helpful article for me, I really appreciate you efforts 🙂
Great post Eric. Where so many articles state conclusion, I appreciate the in depth explanation as to exactly how Google looks at Facebook signals.
Great post.. need to look into it specifically the way you have done the trials..
As I have been telling clients: Use Facebook as a lead source campaign. Period.
Great study Eric and thanks for sharing your findings.
I guess we might have to wait for a Facebook Search engine to reap the benefits of our activities on Facebook.
Quality articles is the secret to invite the viewers to pay a visit the site, that’s what this web page is providing.
Interesting, thanks for sharing Mark.
Couldn’t it be possible, in the context of the Knowledge Graph, that Google is more interested in the relationships between people (friends), than the actual data/content from Facebook?
The problem, Rebecca, is that they really can’t see those relationships on Facebook, at least in a rich enough way that they could have confidence in the data.
True, however 20 friends could be enough, when coupled with other data/intelligence sources they have access to for identity verification – which may be enough for them to connect the dots, create a more comprehensive understanding of who you are, who your ‘friends’ are, where you are connected…for the calculation of authority.
I suspect they may be more interested in creating a map related to each identity than the stream of conversation between individuals. Matt Cutts recently stated in a video, that Google is not interested in indexing conversation on social platforms, but they do care about identity. Kristine Schachinger may offer additional insight here.
Hi Eric –
thank you for a very valuable study. Given that you have to buy likes now, then buy ads again to reach your “fans,” I’ve been advising my clients not to bother with them.
What about Facebook Pages? I’ve seen Facebook Business Pages compete with my clients, ranking high in SERP. My understanding is that links from Business Pages are do-follow, and have equivalent or greater impact on SERP to other Directory listings for local search.
Hi Jon – Certainly Brand pages can rank, and the links from them can have value. However, the Brand pages don’t tend to gather many external links, so those links off the page don’t have much value to pass. Note: the fact that they are the domain facebook.com won’t increase the value of the outbound links.
Not sure the logic of this testing is correct… I have had #1 positions in Google for search key phrases including my name that display results (usually posts) from Facebook – so clearly there is intelligent indexing occurring.
Awesome study, Eric!
I’d be interested to see a similar test for Twitter. Do you think this is something you may do in the future? Matt Cutts said in a video earlier this year, or late last year, that they do not use any Twitter signals but is that true or not? Fascinating stuff.
Here’s our study on Twitter indexing by Google: How Does Google Index Tweets? http://stonet.co/1AFgik0
Hi Mark, please read the study carefully. We were not measuring whether Facebook posts can get indexed in Google. We all know that happens. We were testing whether sharing a link to a web page on Facebook alone can cause that web page to be indexed by Google.
It was pretty sure that Facebook is not a part of Google ranking factors while Google plus too is a part of your circle results optimization. So what does social share have to do with SEO now? This still remains a dilemma.
Thank you for you post.
Do you think that advertising on social networks good for Russian SEO also?
Like watching an episode of Myth Busters but a myth actually worth busting. Very nicely written and some great insights.
I don’t know about Russian SEO (Yandex), but there is no value to it in Google.
Thank’s a lot for this information. We are currently assessing the options for using social media for our small training company and I am less and less convinced that Facebook is the answer.
Really great that you want to share this info!
not sure if google algo has been changed on this but my facebook company page ranked 4 on fairly competitive key word
Not agree with this, Because i have seen website who are only posting & sharing content of Facebook and they (websites) are ranking at No 1 position on Google
This was great share article ever , but i think if you get large amount of facebook share of your site url , that will help in seo ranking.
Some excellent information, thank you Eric. Nicely done. I do have to admit that the results are quite interesting, shocking in one sense…
Well,sharing and liking on facebook will impact on seo rankings.
Steve, we agree that it has an indirect impact (that is, exposure via social media can lead to things which do create actual ranking signals), but are aware of no evidence that Facebook is used as a direct ranking signal.
Good article and thanks for taking the time to test all of this. These results put research behind what I’ve been thinking for a while. There was research done by Search Metrics last year (here’s the article: http://blog.searchmetrics.com/us/2014/09/07/the-2014-rank-correlation-analysis-and-seo-ranking-factors-for-google-u-s/) which suggested Facebook had a huge influence on SEO, which I disagreed with. The number of likes, shares, posts or friends any of our clients have on Facebook makes ZERO difference to their SEO rankings, and your research has backed this up, so thank you.
Well written and relevant blog post on Does Facebook Activity Impact SEO. Thank you for this analysis
Thanks, Alok. Glad you found it helpful!
Great article! What I have noticed recently is pages with a high amount of likes do rank well in Google which for me has had a positive impact on traffic.
Are there any plans you do a new research? I believe in meanwhile Google might have changed there way to use Social Media?
We will be updating this study, yes. Stay tuned!
Great! People who commented on this topic do they automatically receive an e-mail update? Would be nice 😉
Hi Gerjan – if you want to send me your email, we can add you to our newsletter list, and you will get notified when we publish it.
So Google doesn’t use Facebook as a discovery, indexing, or ranking factor. OK. But people do, and Google follows what people do / click on, right?
1. You run a Facebook Ad / Boost likes / Share content / whatever.
2. People see this. They don’t do the analysis Google would / should / could.
3. They click the link / leave Facebook to search for the brand product
4. In the SERP’s, they click the link
5. Google gets a signal, which is worked back into its Algo about what is and isn’t important.
Net result: Google doesn’t use FB as the primary signal, but the effect of FB results in a secondary signal, which is perhaps more relevant.
Thoughts on this?
Hi Gareth – indirect impacts are absolutely a possibility, and quote likely, IMO. I don’t think it’s quite as simple as increased CTR, but I do think they’re there in one fashion or another. Bottom line, is that you can use Facebook to create awareness / build relationships with people, that causes aspects of their behavior toward you online to change. Some of this may result in an old fashioned signal called links. Some could result in higher CTR in the SERPs (already a good thing even if that is not a direct ranking factor) AND when they get to your site they may stay their longer without going back to the SERPs (getting closer now to a possible ranking factor IMO).
That is very interesting data you came up with. I’m glad someone did this test. There are many different reasons to use social media in an SEO strategy, but this definitely debunks using Facebook to get new content indexed. I wonder what the results would be for Twitter.
I look forward to the updated study you mentioned you were doing.
Little bit late to the party (great article), it would be good to see if this study would have different results today compared to 2013, given Facebook’s more prominent status as an aggregator.
well, if you use google webmaster tools to see your website activity, there are an option called “Links to your website” if you check this report FACEBOOK do not shows up, even if you have been sharing your website on facebook, in my case Pinterest is on top of links to my website, so my humble conclusion is: google crawl pinterest links but not facebook sharings or likes..
Nice Bro , so my humble conclusion is: google crawl pinterest links but not facebook sharings or likes..
thank you Eric Enge ,i know that this is an old information but your post is ranking 1 in google
that’s why i like to update with this information
– All social media links themselves are nofollow links, which means Google doesn’t consider link authority to pass from them, but if someone shares an article directly from your site, that can measure as an indication to Google that the article is valuable or helpful.
As to your second point, it might indicate that, but Google has said in recent years that they are very hesitant about using social signals as a direct ranking factor. For the reasons why, see my Does Social Media Affect SEO? Matt Cutts Answers. One thing we have demonstrated is that a link from main social media sites can cause a new page to get indexed faster by Google, but even that doesn’t happen all the time.
I have seen that a good engaging Facebook presence can help us rank high on Google.
Did you consider that the links you were sharing may have not been authoritative or indexed? If the bots had not yet crawled the link, would it believe the shares, likes, and comments were authoritative enough to index? Also, I would argue that Google does indeed, index Facebook, due to the fact that is probable that a Facebook Page is indexed on page 1 of search results if optimized correctly. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Google consider a Tweet, Status Update, or Reshare… among other social interactions to be a “Page” and authoritative?
Google does index Facebook pages, no doubt about that, though as this post shows, even for the highest authority social profiles, they don’t index all of them (most Facebook shares don’t have that much value). They also can’t see Likes at all. They’re invisible to them. There is no place on you Facebook profile, crawlable or otherwise, where you can see the history of everything you’ve liked. If a page has social sharing buttons, they might be able to see how many Likes a page has, but they can’t tell who was responsible for them, making that data useless to them.
But, perhaps more importantly, Google can’t have part of their algorithm dependent on the whims of a third party competitor. Google and Facebook are not friends. Facebook can cut off all access to any data to Google at a moment’s notice. This actually happened in the past with Twitter. Google had a feature dependent on seeing Twitter information and then Twitter bloced all crawling in robots.txt. Google will never let something like that happen again.
I have seen that a good engaging Facebook and also other social networks presence can help us rank high on Google.
In my opinion, based on our extensive research into this topic, you think that’s what you saw, but it’s not what actually happened. For a full discussion on why Google no longer uses social media signals as a direct ranking factor, see my How Does Social Media Affect SEO? If you think differently, I would love to see the testing and methodology you used to show that your ranking changes were directly attributable to your social engagement!
Great study that you guys came up with to test if it really does have an effect. I was wondering about this. Thanks!
Trust me. I have been working in SEO Agencies that rely on social media for the SEO. It’s highly unlikely that Google will index your daily social posts.
I have seen that a good engaging Facebook presence can help us rank high on Google.
Can you share the data and methodology by which you arrived at the conclusion that it was Facebook that was directly responsible for your rankings?
If you think differently, I would love to see the testing and methodology you used to show that your ranking changes were directly attributable to your social engagement!
We do NOT think that, as my article makes clear.
Well written and without any doubt really educative. Thumbs up!
That’s a great post thanks for that. Since that made 4-5 years about since this post then some google evaluation might have been changed. In my website (Megalobiz) I launched July 2016, in 2017 I started use Facebook Page promotion to promote some of my music pages that were the bests. I noticed that after promoting and reach 1000+ likes, 3 days later I started to rank 1st page higher than authoritative websites. And all the pages that made the 1st on Google Search were my home page and those pages I boosted on Facebook. Most of times 500 likes about could not take them on 1st page. But the result does not seem to last long, like 2 or 3 months.
Google might have update his algorithm, and maybe Google think if you pay $10 to rank higher for some times that will bring you back $5-$8 then you might be discouraged of such strategy.
I can’t really say anything for sure, but I still can provide GAnalytics data for those periods and the pages I shared and boosted on Megalobiz in Facebook are still there.
For me it was is a better way to promote some pages instead of Adwords click (which I tried).
And for more details, I was thinking on something. I’m in Haiti and the highest competitors are few and have Domain Authority between 15 – 40. My Domain Authority is just 1, a few backlinks on Google Webmaster, and 0 backlink from Moz Open Site Explorer.
– 300+ likes is enough to compete in ranking between DA scores of 5
– 500+ for DA 10
– 1,200+ for DA 20
– 4,000+ for DA 30
– 20,000+ for DA 50
… and so on with an exponential evolution of the likes for a few variation of DA.
I’m not sure of anything and can’t technically prove it but that would make sense and that would explain why 1000+ likes could bring some of us in 1st page where the competitors has low DA (5-20), and that why even 4,000 likes will never bring you higher than competitors with DA of 50 – 100.
Thanks for sharing your experiences. Even though our study is admittedly a few years old now, we believe the principles behind it are still valid. That is, it simply doesn’t make sense that Google would allow something as vague and mercurial as Facebook likes to have that much influence on search results. Actually, in every conversation we’ve had with Google search engineers since this post was published, they’ve confirmed that they do not use social signals such as Facebook likes to influence search rankings.
Think about it for a moment. Why would they? As you’ve demonstrated, Facebook likes are fairly easy to get, and by using paid targeting with engagement optimization, you can basically pay to get them. Google is well aware of this, and along with the fact that there is no way to determine the real value of a like or why a person gave it, combined with how much easier and less-committing it is to give a like as opposed to a site link, social signals like this make no sense to use for search ranking.
If what you claimed actually worked, and it was as easy as you claimed, everyone would be doing it.
So why did you see the ranking jumps you saw? I think they were entirely coincidental to your Facebook campaigns. At best, the Facebook promotion MAY have caused Google to index the pages faster. The most basic truth about search rankings is that they are far more complex than most people understand. Rarely (if ever) is any one thing that affects how something ranks. So the fact that you did one thing, and it happened that at around the same time a ranking change happened, does not mean that the thing you did was responsible for the change.
But there is one interesting fact about your situation: you’re in Haiti. In many parts of the world, Haiti included, there is very little good content for Google to rank for many queries. Links and other external signals are not the only things that determine rankings. If you publish a piece of content that is better quality and more relevant to a query than most others in your area, it is often the case that Google will move it up the rankings. Content quality and relevance count a lot more now.
What you say about considering easy earned likes makes more sense of course (unless it could be shares number). Anyway for me I wouldn’t allows facebook likes in my algorithm neither.
But definitely, the part that Facebook could make Google crawls pages faster could have influenced my case because at this time I didn’t use Google Webmaster to fetch new pages, and they were left for their on until Google had to crawl them which took weeks. Thanks for pointing me that.
You’re welcome! And I loved the pushback; helps me explain these concepts more fully for others who may wonder the same thing. And thanks even more for being open to other thoughts!
Did GDPR affect your conclusions?
Hi Billy – no, not at all. I don’t see GDPR as having any impact on this issue. There is just no reason for Facebook pages to be treated any differently than any other web page by Google.
Frankly, at this point, Facebook is not sharing data on Likes and Shares any more. If Facebook doesn’t value these signals, why should Google?
Even when it is about over-analyzed subjects you suddenly come by little diamonds like this. Really good job
That is very interesting data you came up with. I’m glad someone did this test. There are many different reasons to use social media in an SEO strategy, but this definitely debunks using Facebook
With this article being written in 2013, I wonder if it still applies today? Especially with the SMO crowd screaming FB sells page rankings.
Fantastic research nonetheless. Thank you.
Do you think your conclusions have changed now that we’re in 2019?
Not at all. More reasons than ever to believe there is no impact. Even the social sharing sites don’t see like/share data as being valuable anymore (they don’t share that data with users). If they don’t see the value, why would a search engine?
So, what about all these people still preaching or trading on social media campaigns to -allegedly- create SEO impact…can we call them crooks?
Hi Eric, maybe it’s time for an update? 🙂 It’s been a while since you’ve executed this research, but the Facebook activity impact on SEO is still not really known. Many people will say that Facebook won’t impact SEO/rankings.