Social media has no doubt had a huge influence on search. Most search result pages contain a link to a social media page. Whether this is a company page, or an article shared through social media, the page rankings are deeply affected…on Google.

Case in point: One website I have been working on has a landing page for a 5S Quiz.  5S is a lean manufacturing technique and while “5s quiz” as a keyword has low competition and only 320 searches per month I was surprised at what I found on the Google search engine results page.

In the case that the user is signed into their Google Plus account, and are only viewing personal results, the SERP would be littered with shared posts. Google plus is now the second largest social media network behind Facebook, with over 400+ million users. This is big business for Google, but in this instance these results were on a browser with a cleared cache and not signed into Google or viewing personal results.

Social Media for SEO SERP

Social Media for SEO SERP

The top result (highlighted in pink) is the original 5S Quiz landing page, which has been ranked at or near the top for a few years. The highlighted result near the bottom is the original 5S Quiz that was shared in March on Linkedin.com. There are indeed “5s quiz” results on the following page, so it just isn’t the bottom of the barrel in terms of results. The fact that it is ranked only behind its source is rather incredible, and Google has done a good job of discerning shared content from duplicate content. Moving to the third page (ranked 22), a result for the “5s quiz” is a shared link of the source on Google Plus from late April. That means there are three results from the same page, two of them posted much later and both from social media.

Looking at the same search term (“5s quiz”) on Bing and the result is different; the source link is ranked number one (an improvement of one over Google), but the Linkedin.com share is on the third page, ranked 35th. On Yahoo.com, the results are similar; again the source page is ranked number one, while the Linkedin.com page is on the fourth page, but still ranked 35th. In both the cases of Bing and Yahoo, the eleventh result is of the same quiz. This was shared on a Blogger site (blog.labelprinter.com/2008/01/new-5s-web-site-5s-quiz.html ) which was shared back in 2008 and even links to the old site page (which has since been redirected with a 301).  This page is not ranked in the top ten pages on Google’s SERP (I got tired of looking).  What makes this interesting is that this blog has a Google author tag, which if anything would give it more credibility to Google, yet instead, is ranking higher on Bing and Yahoo. This contradicts the Google plus shared posting result on Google SERP, but it shows where the search engines differ: Google doesn’t necessarily consider Blogger to be social media, while Google Plus posts take precedence, while Bing/Yahoo all but ignore Google Plus and give the credence to blogger. This would make sense as Google is pushing G + like nobody’s business and Microsoft and Yahoo are direct competitors to Google. 

The fact that this result showed up almost as soon as it was indexed is the most impressive. Google, more so than Bing and Yahoo, is aggressively promoting shared content from their social platform which is obviously a very important aspect to any SEO.

- Graham McConnell

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