The complex algorithms and mathematical calculations that Google applies to its search engine technology are becoming more social as the search giant continues to work hard at being relevant in a fast moving web.
It started with Google taking a feed from Twitter so it could start providing Twitter search results as “updates’ on Google and has recently been further refined.
Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land recently asked Google and Bing some questions on how they use social data from Twitter and Facebook. In particular, he wanted to know how that data influenced regular web search results. As we all know being found on the first page of Google in search results can drive a lot of traffic to your blog and website and research shows that nearly 90% of all clicks on links on Google come from being on the first page of Google.
Question 1: If an article is retweeted or referenced much in Twitter, do you count that as a signal that improves search ranking?
Bing: We do look at the social authority of a user. We look at how many people you follow, how many follow you, and this can add a little weight to a listing in regular search results. It carries much more weight in Bing Social Search, where tweets from more authoritative people will flow to the top
Question 2: Do you try to calculate the authority of someone who tweets that might be assigned to their Twitter page. Do you try to “know,” if you will, who they are?
Google: Yes we do compute and use author quality.
Google: Yes we do use this as a signal…. but it is currently only used in limited situations in ordinary web search.
Question 4: Do you track links shared within Facebook, either through personal walls or fan pages?
Bing: Yes. We look at links shared that are marked as “Everyone,” and links shared from Facebook fan pages.
Google: We treat links shared on Facebook fan pages the same as we treat tweeted links. We have no personal wall data from Facebook.
Question 5: Do you try to calculate the authority of someone on Facebook, either say via their personal wall or their fan page.
Google: The treatment is the same as for Twitter where we do compute and use author quality.
In essence then Google and Bing do use your and others “social authority” on Twitter and Facebook to provide weight to search engine results and I suspect that this will increase significantly over time as the social web grows.
So maybe it time for you to start building your Facebook and Twitter authority?