Google Social Signals may not bring SEO back to life
2010/12/02 Leave a comment
Watching Google attempt to breath some life back into Search Engine Optimization or SEO is as interesting as watching an accident about to happen, you know it won’t be good, hope people won’t be hurt, but there is a temptation to watch anyway.
Can Google Save SEO?
Google’s latest attempt at life support for SEO is to ’embrace’ social signals from Twitter and Facebook to ‘improve’ search results as if re-ranking three million ‘hits’ makes it more useful to someone who needs a fast answer about something. Oddly enough people seem to value the opinion of people or groups they know more than a search engine spider fed by corporate advertisers.
Google’s Search and Social Signal Risk
Googles attempt to include ‘social signals’ in their search algorithm has an extremely high failure risk in my opinion for two simple reasons though plenty of people believe the idea that more ‘friends and likes’ are more valueable than Twitter’s Resonance.
Google’s Social Signal Failure Risk #1
Googles attempt to define social signal has a core premise that social signal supports their SEO business model and that the underlying content on the internet supported by backlinks is sound. This is simply not true as spam rules and you can validate this yourself by asking any brand owner where they rank in a search for their brand. Wikipedia, Amazon and ‘search guru’s’ all work very hard to stand between them and their future customers to extract a toll for letting buyers find their brands.
Twitter has a much better, cooller and efficient way of understanding ‘social signals’ and value with their simple notion of Resonance that I’ve described on my blogs but is simply like someone tossing a Rubrik cube up in the air and steps back waiting for it to fall. Another person beside them sees a colour pattern that ‘resonates’ or resembles a question or answer important for them NOW and they catch the cube and think about it or spin it around.
Three things generally happen next., the story on the cube is not what the second person though and they drop the cube to the ground where others can’t see it or they toss the cube into the air either the same way they received it from the other person as a Re-Tweet or toss it up into the air in the form that they find useful and possibly refererence the original Tweeter or not. No spam, no confusion.
Google’s Social Signal Failure Risk #2
Let’s assume that Google embraces Twitter’s notion of influential Tweeters and includes their view as a small part of the ‘secret sauce’ or algorithm which determines the web site content offered as part of a response to keywords entered by people looking for answers in their search engine.
This idea is like taking a glass full of dirty water (spam filled search engine results) and adding some very clean water from a Canadian glacier (Twitter results) and then mixing both and drinking it all up. Not very appetizing or practical.
There is a more subtle reason that embracing Twitter’s popularity notion of influence may not work as it is based on the notion of more is better which on Social Media platforms as in life is not usually the case. In my experience the opposite is true on Twitter as it takes some work to discourage followers and people that follow more people than follow them may have a better view of the issue at hand as they respect the content that their followers receive.
It may help corporate marketers and the advertisers that serve them devote a little time to understanding the notion of Resonance which Twitter explains or see examples of SpeedSynch Resonance maps on Twitter @SpeedSynch to understand the distinction between SEO and Resonance, especially now that Google has thrown in the towel and admitted that ‘social media’ signal matter.
I wish Google good luck with promoting their notion of Social Signals as it may help searchers and I hope somebody buys it.