In analyzing the various Social Signals and their potential impact on Search Rankings we have already established that Google + certainly helps to get your website to rank quickly and we have also established that Google can index Facebook Fan Pages as well as links on public pages and that Facebook shares are found in the search results. We have also established that a Facebook Comments Widget can also be indexed and found in search results.

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Does Google use Twitter signals to help determine relevancy of a page and does Google use Twitter data as part of the search ranking algorithm?

Many Search Engine Optimisers and Digital Marketers have found that when new articles are tweeted they are usually discovered and indexed quickly by Google. Why is this so?
In November 2010 I attended the SMX Conference in New York where a representative of Google stated that when a link is tweeted Google can find it and index it in under 12 minutes. At the time there was a commercial relationship between Google and Twitter whereby Google would crawl and index Twitter on a continuous basis and would then display this content in the ‘Rea time’ search results. However, this partnership that was in place between Google and Twitter since October 2009 came to an end in July 2011.

Google said that while they no longer had access to this special feed from Twitter, information on Twitter that is publicly available to their crawlers would still be searchable and discoverable on Google. Many have inquired as to why Google has not revived the partnership with Twitter, who responded that it did not want to have to rely on data from Twitter for its Realtime results and that it would be using real time data from other sources that it will integrate with Google+, Google news, Jaiku, Quora, Gowolla and Twitgoo among others.

Let’s take a look at specific questions surrounding Twitter and your sites rankings:

Will adding your Twitter feed to your website increase your PageRank?

Matt Cutts (Head of Google’s web spam team) says that by just adding more content, you won’t necessarily earn any more link juice. He suggests that by adding more content it may attract more links, but will not automatically increase your PageRank. Matt offers further suggestions and insights in this video.

Does the number of Tweets influence rankings?

The number of tweets and the number of tweeters seems to make a difference for ranking. The more times a new article or page gets tweeted, the better chance the target URL has of ranking well.

Does the number of Followers have an impact on Rankings?

To bump an established link up in rankings, it seems necessary that the tweet come from a well-respected, influential, and relevant Twitter account. The ratio of followers/following influences the authority of the Tweet.

A recent ‘accidental experiment’ by a Martin Macdonald showed an article ranking on the first page of the Search Results within less than a week, where the article had no backlinks and was only shared by “influencers” on Twitter.

This experiment revealed the following:

– Social signals are very important in the early stages of rankings.
– If your article gets shared (50 to 100 shares) by many influential people you get higher exposure for a limited amount of time.
– After about a week your content starts to drop in rankings.

What does Google say about Tweets and Followers?

“Google can tell how many times a page has been tweeted. The number of Twitter Followers is a potential social signal.” Comment by Matt Cutts in August 2012.