Facebook Shares in the World of Link Building and Rankings
There has been a lot of talk in the past few weeks about Facebook Shares and whether they are influencing rankings directly, in other words, are they a ranking factor for Google. There were some vague answers from Matt Cutts, discussions by Danny Sullivan and Rand Fishkin and after all that most people were still confused, even though both Rand and Danny stated a few times that Shares are a correlating factor, not a causing one.
Newest SEOmoz post by Matt Peters, a great analytic, explains in details his research on Facebook Shares and their role in Google SERP. It’s clear to say that Facebook Shares are not a ranking factor, at least not a direct one. So if you share something and it gets passed around and shared by 10 more people, that won’t be counted as 10 low level links, in fact Google doesn’t pick up Shares at all. But that doesn’t need to discourage you from sharing your posts and pages on Facebook.
Why are shares important? Let’s look at it this way, why do you share things, no Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon? You share it for the sole purpose of getting your content out there to your network of friends. And what happens when you share something good on all these platforms, it gets shared some more, if it reaches a critical mass it can even go viral, but to direct results from sharing your content are:
a. Direct traffic coming from your shares
b. Gaining some links from people that found the content useful or interesting
So in some way Facebook Shares do influence our rankings. If we share quality content we can expect that people will read it, link to it, promote it further and help us with our rankings.
Like it was stated in SEOmoz post, if you look at the top rankings sites and their number of shares you will see that top sites have high share counts, and that is simply a good metric to show quality content. If you get 5 shares you can say your friends helped you out, but if you get 40 or 50 shares that is in fact a metric you can personally count on to tell you that you have some quality content that will get you traffic, links and eventually rankings.