This is a question I’ve often wondered about – just how much does Facebook and Twitter affect your rankings in Google and other search engines? Unfortunately, as with most things involving SEO, the best I or anyone else can offer you is an educated guess. After all, unless your name is Matt Cutts, you probably don’t know the exact formula that Google uses.
It’s Not a Numbers Game – Mostly
The first thing to realize is that getting better rankings on Google from your Twitter and Facebook rankings isn’t a numbers game (necessarily).
I say this because Google’s engineers are smart enough to realize that just because someone has lots of followers doesn’t mean those people are real followers. Most of us are well aware of the various services which will allow us to buy likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter. Because such services exist, it’s impossible to say that having a large following means that your following is worth anything.
On the Other Hand
Now, that said, there are good reasons to have plenty of followers and Facebook likes even if they are purchased (to a point that is). You don’t need to purchase thousands of followers and likes, but having a critical mass will make it easier to get real people to follow you or like you. Therefore, it’s worthwhile purchasing a small number of such followers or likes.
The reason by the way is something known as herd mentality. A Facebook page with over 1,000 likes is much more likely to get liked than a Facebook page with around 30-40 likes. A similar situation exists for Twitter, though those who don’t follow back tens of thousands of people are more likely to get quality followers rather than spammers.
Getting Back to Google
Okay, so much for the reasons to artificially inflate your likes and followers. Let’s get back to the primary point here, which is how much influence these things have on your rankings.
Google’s algorithm is advanced enough to figure out which accounts on Twitter and Facebook are what might be called influencers. For example, a Twitter account with 30,000 followers and a few hundred people you follow will be considered to be an influencer. That’s because it’s assumed that you wouldn’t amass such a following without following back most people.
With Facebook, it matters who your likes are from – if they’re from people who have lots of other likes and few friends then they’re probably not real likes. It also pays however to keep in mind that many Facebook links are no follow and some are no index as well. This effectively means that in some cases, you won’t see Google benefits from Facebook.
Still Worth It
Of course, just because you may not get a tremendous amount of benefit from such services in SEO doesn’t mean you get no benefit; you definitely do. In addition to that, there is also the fact that real people who follow you on Twitter or like you on Facebook will see your links show up in their feeds meaning more traffic for you.
Do try to get as many quality followers and likes as you can. However, it’s probably not worth bothering to buy a whole lot of them except to get yourself started so that you’ll get some real people interested in you.