Content Marketing Blog

Does Google pick up on social media activity?

Social networking sites are a great place for brands to interact with the online community, and they have become an essential element of most content marketing strategies.

Aside from the brand building impact, social media has also been linked to domain authority and therefore to search performance. However, website owners hoping that their strong showing on popular social media profiles will directly lead to top rankings for their favourite landing pages may be disappointed.

In a recent Google Webmaster Help video, Google’s head of search and spam, Matt Cutts, said the search giant does not have access to a lot of the material on social media sites, and the crawlers cannot always see how many ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ a page has earned.

Pages on social networking sites are treated the same as any other web page, explained Cutts, but since the data on these pages is constantly changing, Google’s algorithm is unable to pick up on a lot of the activity.

This confirms the speculations of Stone Temple Consulting president Eric Enge, who conducted two experiments late last year testing the relationship between likes and shares on Facebook and rankings on Google.

Enge created multiple pages and asked 50 people on Facebook to share them.

He found that Google failed to pick up on any of these new pages, and none of them were indexed.

In his second experiment, Enge creating two Facebook pages and asked people he knew to like them, resulting in nearly 900 likes. Despite this dramatic increase in activity, both pages failed to get indexed.

Enge concluded that Google can see how many likes a page has, but cannot spot who liked it, or pick up on influential profiles and fake accounts.

It’s worth noting that Google has its own social media platform where crawling and indexing issues are less of a problem.

Posted by Dylan Brown