Quality and Social Signals as a Ranking Factor in Google

Whenever Google does updates on its search rankings, the world and his dog sits up, ears perked, waiting for the news. With Google responsible for around 80 to 85% of the total web traffic on the Internet today, doing well with Google means doing well in general online. The quality controls that are being changed in Google now are different than previous updates – the Panda algorithm that continues to serve as a basis for content quality is not the genesis for recent change that we have seen within the SERPs!

Although it is reported that Panda is not a part of this particular algorithm update, Google has admitted that the changes that have been implemented and will continue to be rolled out are part of ‘enhancements’ to the core algorithm. This suggests that other quality metrics and social signals are the catalyst for the change. Here are some of the top quality signals that are set to become even more important factor for achieving prominence within the dominate search engine over in the coming months.

Time on Site

Following Google’s own ranking graphs, there seems to be an increasing amount of correlation between the amount of time that people stay on a particular site and the site’s relevance for its keyword group. Bounce rate, as a measure of people who click away from a site quickly, is showing a reverse correlation with keyword relevance. Business owners and online marketers need to focus more upon creating engaging on-page content (be this informative and unique description text, images, video etc.) that is focused to enhance the users experience onsite.

Signals from the Social Media Sites

Google has previously said that sharing a post on a social media site is an obvious measure of quality that it pays close attention to this. This stance has been further validated as the company has struck a deal with Twitter so that Google can now show tweets in real time. This means that tweets will now affect the search results of Google in real time as well.

Facebook and Google also seem to be working together under the table. Facebook recently became the number one publicist on the Internet for videos and pictures, surpassing the traditional giants of YouTube and Pinterest. Google has responded by giving more credence to Facebook likes and reposts than ever before – if a post shows up on Facebook multiple times on reputable pages, it is more likely to be listed by Google under its keyword phrases in a more prominent position.

Engage with Your Target Audience

Although the company has not really said much on its own about what it will do with these quality and social signals and how the search algorithms will change specifically, many savvy online marketer are closely monitoring the behaviour of the search engine when it comes to these signals. There seems to be a larger emphasis placed on creating quality original content on the social networks than ever before. This trend does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, so business owners and webmasters alike definitely need to get on board when it comes to their social content.


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