Okay, this might come off as a crazy thought, but that’s how I felt about social signals affecting Google SERPs three years back (4 SEO factors search engines might talk about more in 2010 – a 2009 article). So, let’s spent some time discussing this.
We’ve seen many studies on how social signals affect search.
What social signals do Google & Bing count – Danny Sullivan
This is probably the best insightful post published on this topic so far and I love it for the clarity. With the straight forward questions, there is clear focus on whether social signals affect search. They do but not in all ways we thought. Again, this is a 2010 article and the search landscape has changed a lot since then.
One factor that is consistent in Google’s use of social signals is the use of factors that are difficult to make up. Like number of re-tweets, Authorship and Facebook shares.
These are factors that genuinely shows how “hot” a content is by crowd sourcing. Layer this with Google’s own authority & ranking algo and you’ve got best of both worlds.
Now, this leads me to think – Could Twitter Favorites also give Google a clue about how “hot” a content is?
It could be. Because if someone favorites your tweet, its done voluntarily and largely because of the quality.
And considering that on Twitter, you get lot of spam (read unnecessary talk and tweets), favouriting a tweet could mean a lot more than bookmarking.
Like how Google used to count directories and social bookmarks earlier (and discounted them later), this could very well be a relevant social signal.
It is also notable that Google still values manually edited, high quality directories. It is for the SEO community to experiment and figure out if the Twitter favorites are being counted this way, my hunch is that they do.
In my experience, Twitter favorites are a great way to find top quality content – it’s the best of crowd sourcing and crowd wisdom – the best content gets the most number of favorites and has been consistently one of the signals that delivers top quality material.
It is also worth mentioning that you cannot “get people to favorite” tweets. If the tweets are genuine, people favorite it anyway – in fact, ONLY if the content is good.
I’m currently doing some experiments to establish the connection between number of Twitter favorites and Google search listings.
Be sure to chip in your ideas meanwhile.