There are more ways than perhaps you think that Google is socially tracking stuff

This is an excellent blog piece about social and social tracking – it isn’t by me (Spoiler alert) but those lovely peeps at Social media tracking.


I have joined, probably the best, mobile augmented reality company called Blippar. And I am lucky enough to be an ambassador for them. Part of my job is creating content and persuading them to be more social.

So I pop this here to remind myself (and those that read it) how powerful social tracking is becoming and how important it is, especially for Google (not just SEO wise) but it’s own Google+ pages.

I also pop it here as a date stamp – which people can look back at – and if I am wrong about Google Plus Pages for Business they can laugh at me 😉

Thinking about time it was a LONG time ago, back in June 2011, that Google made quite a contribution to the social media scene with the launch of its own social network Google+. Google+ is still a fledgling community when compared to social networking giants Facebook and Twitter, but its social signals have the most impact on search ranking results. Factors that you should look at:

1. Amount of +1s – You need to start distinguishing +1 to your site in general and +1 to each pieces of your content. I’d suggest working on increasing +1 to your brand/your authorship profile. This also applies to +1 on Local+ pages.

2. Authority of +1s – If your brand/profile gets more +1, you will get to rank higher and easier for the future content you produce.

3. Growth rate of +1s – Strategize a plan that will increase your +1 steadily over an extended period of time.

4. Amount of Adds and Shares – How many people are following you tells about how authoritative you are.

5. Authority of Adds and Shares – Who is following you is important too. Network with people with great profiles, it helps you to establish a voice.

6. Spread rate of Adds and Shares – This is the reason why you need to network, share great stuff and get people to Add you and +your stuffs.


Facebook is the king of social networking sites. It has an active community of over 900 million(!) users which makes it a perfect platform for generating social signals (which is great if you are into content and social media marketing). Researches have shown that Facebook influences more search rankings than G+ or Twitter. The factors are:

7. Amount of Shares and Likes – with “shares” carrying more weight than “likes”.

8. Amount of Comments – The collective amount of shares, likes and comments correlate the closest with search ranking.

9. Growth Rate of Shares and Likes

10. Authority of Shares, Likes and Comments


Second only to Facebook, Twitter boasts 500 million users that are constantly “tweeting” status updates and events in real time. Just recently, Twitter played a huge role in political protests across the globe which clearly showcases the huge sphere of influence that Twitter has the potential to generate. Twitter users (also known as “tweeps”) puts more premium on a tweet’s authority rather than sheer amount; though the overall social signals generated by it lags just a little behind Facebook. have placed Twitter at the 6th spot in a list of top factors that have a positive correlation in regards to Google search rankings. At, our data shows tweeting activity is positively affecting search ranking.

11. Authority of Followers, Mentions and Retweets

12. Number of Followers, Mentions and Retweets

13. Speed and intensity of tweets and RT over time – On the real-time web, if something gets on a trending topic, it usually gets shown on top of search results. For example, if there is a rising tweeting activity about an earth-quake happening somewhere in the world, and when you search “earth quake” on Google, you will find that incident on the first page of SERP. During normal days without any earth-quake news however, searching for earth quake will find you wikipedia or scientific information about it. Twitter contributes signals to the real-time web.

Other social websites (Pinterest, Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, FourSquare)

The big 3 (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) are the movers and shakers when it comes to social ranking factors. But website owners should not ignore the potential of other user-driven social websites. Pinterest currently has a very active community, and its following is steadily increasing day by day (in the period of January to February 2012, it reported a user base growth rate of 85%, one of the speediest, if not, the fastest of its kind that was recorded in recent Internet history).

FourSquare is particularly useful in Google Places (formerly Google Local) where search results are arranged according to location. Meanwhile, the communities in social news aggregate websites like Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon can be a great starting point for an online viral marketing campaign.

14. Amount of Pins and Re-pins on Pinterest

15. Growth rate of Pins and Re-pins

16. Comments on Pinterest

17. Check-ins on Foursquare

18. Spread rate of check-ins at FourSquare

19. Upvotes on Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon

20. Comments on Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon

Other not-so-obvious factors.

There exists a number of factors that can affect a social signal’s influence on Google’s search rankings. Website owners must also take these into account to make the most out of their social media campaigns.

21. Clickthrough rate (note: CTR is the ratio of the number of times a user clicks on a link over the times it appears). We know by having great title and description we are able to improve CTR of our listing on SERP, having great texts for tweets, #hashtagging them, great image for Pinterest and Facebook shares/updates are all important. There hasn’t been evidences showing CTR for social signals influence your ranking, but optimizing on CTR definitely brings more people to your site.

22. Account backlinks (backlinks still play a part in Google rankings, but not as prominent as before) – Anchor text, the proximity of context between 2 interlinking documents, position of the links are still descriptive about a piece of content. Backlinks are still affecting search ranking, just that they are now sharing a stage with social signals.

23. Account age – this is related to authority; trusted individuals usually earn their reputation over a period of time.

Negative Social Factors To Avoid

Some ranking factors can even affect a website’s ranking negatively. This happens when a webpage is deemed to be irrelevant and low-quality by a dissatisfied visitor. Website owners and developers should always make an effort to avoid trigerring these factors.

24. Amount of user blocks a page receives – Some times when you search for something, hit on the result and click the back button, Google shows an option to “block this result” for you. It’s personalised, but it tells Google that site isn’t up to expectation.

25. Sentiment – Since before we even knew it, computers can already understand the sentiment of a piece of content. Is it recommending the object, criticising it, giving it a positive or negative view…the algorithm understands sentiment. It’s part of information extraction.


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