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Eric Schmidt Confirms: The Social Signal is a Ranking Factor

12 December 2011 BY

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Eric Schmidt can always be woken up to make a remark which might just go around the world. So when he took the stage at LeWeb 2011 last week our ears were wide open. And we were not disappointed.

Next to a lot of ‘commercial’ talk from Schmidt there were a few lines which drew the attention. For example he stated:

“The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal”.

The remark was made in a segment of only a few minutes about Google+, the first video below highlights the specific segment:

So with this remark he confirmed that it now matters for your rankings who you connect with. Results are not just based on content or links anymore, social signals are right up there with all the other ranking signals.

Schmidt not only confirmed this, he also explained that the people you have in your circles are a factor, especially when it comes to YouTube:

“Google benefits of having social information of you and your friends. The organization of your circles for example can help Google to make a better selection of YouTube videos for you.”

Facebook

LeMeur asked Schmidt about Facebook, do they want to beat them? Schmidt urged to say that he believes Facebook has done a great job and that it would be useful for anyone to have competition, but even though you could ‘feel’ they do want to beat them, he didn’t say that out loud. In stead he focused on the area in which Google and Facebook compete (Google wants not to compete directly, but in an area where Facebook still has some catching up to do), he focussed again on the data:

“It is not just a question of competing with Facebook. The information allows Google to be better and that is our objective.”

Below you can find the entire interview. In the first part of that interview Eric Schmidt calls Hugo Barra to the stage who demonstrated the Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) platform, with the face recognition feature we highlighted earlier today.

AUTHORED BY:
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Bas van den Beld is a speaker, trainer and online marketing strategist. Bas is the founder of Stateofdigital.com. -- You can hire Bas to speak, train or consult.

61 Responses to “Eric Schmidt Confirms: The Social Signal is a Ranking Factor”

  1. Dave says:

    Interesting.. so people/companies with killer content and no social activity will rank not as good (if his statement is true..don’t see anything going that direction at this moment) as low quality/spammy stuff with lot’s of ‘social’ activity :) ?

    • To be honest, I don’t think thats what he is saying. It is A rankingfactor, not THE rankingfactor

      • Dave says:

        Yes, ‘a’ rankingfactor but in theory it would still mean that an article with social activity would have the potential to rank higher than (perhaps) a better article without those signs ?

        • No, I think you should see it more in the lines of that you will see articles shared by those within your social circle, who you have a more connected relationship with, get better rankings.

          So if we are connected and communicate often through social, you will see articles I shared go up in the rankings you see. That might be different for your colleagues or even other friends. Things are getting more personal by the minute.

          • Dave says:

            Got you…

            Am i’m the only one that doesn’t really like this evolution :) ? Personalisation is fine but when going to far, it’s putting you in a corner where a lot of possible good/better/from an other angle content will be not visable for you anymore..

  2. I think this is a good thing because it brings a human element to link neighbourhoods and if people like/+1/share something it is because it’s good and less of a throw away endorsement than a regular link.
    I agree with you, Dave, that personalisation can limit what you get to see and so on, but I would argue that you can either sign out or that sites like cool hunter and tools like stumbleupon are better and more efficient at finding new stuff than I would be on my own.

  3. Bill says:

    While I do believe that Google is working on using data from Google Plus to build an Agent Rank/Author Rank/User Rank that may influence Web search results rankings, I don’t think Eric Schmidt’s admission in this video could be used as anything more than a statement that Google might be using this data to build implicit profiles for people to better recommend YouTube videos for themm and possibly make other personalized recommendations.

    That might extend to personalized web site, but his statement didn’t make it sound like those social signals are being used to influence the rankings of web pages that all people see.

    • Thanks for your comment Bill. You are right he takes YouTube as an example and doesn’t literally say it is for ‘regular’ rankings also, but the statements “Google benefits of having social information of you and your friends.” and “That information allows Google to be better and that is our objective” really hint towards that direction, also because he is talking about Google, not YouTube and in the case of Schmidt that means a lot, I think every word counts here.

      I do believe we are already seeing some of these elements, as you have pointed out on your website also.

  4. [...] Eric Schmidt of Google has confirmed recently in an interview that social media activity is a ranking signal for Google search. Earlier confirmations were still a bit vague and unofficial. I already predicted that soon it will be one of the main factors in the Google algorithm as links become less and less reliable. For years some people in the SEO industry denied that you need social media at all for SEO. [...]

  5. [...] at LeWeb 2011, Google’s Eric Schmidt, made a remark in his comments about Google+ that has confirmed what has been slowly developing about the future [...]

  6. [...] Eric Schmidt Confirms: The Social Signal is a Ranking Factor State of Search: Erik Schmidt says: “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal”…“Google benefits of having social information of you and your friends. The organization of your circles for example can help Google to make a better selection of YouTube videos for you.” [...]

  7. [...] With the advent of Google Plus, Google itself has admitted publicly that if you have more social traffic coming into your site, your article, your page, or whatever else you have published on the internet – then you will get a boost in rankings and hence will get more traffic. Now social signal is a ranking signal. [...]

  8. [...] Eric Schmidt Confirms: The Social Signal is a Ranking Factor State of Search: Erik Schmidt says: “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal”…“Google benefits of having social information of you and your friends. The organization of your circles for example can help Google to make a better selection of YouTube videos for you.” [...]

  9. [...] like how Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, said it in December 2011, “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal.” [...]

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  20. [...] in that if you have good content, people want to share it and link to it. However, in December 2011 Google confirmed that it was using social signals such as likes, retweets and +1s for search engine [...]

  21. [...] in that if you have good content, people want to share it and link to it. However, in December 2011 Google confirmed that it was using social signals such as likes, retweets and +1s for search engine [...]

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  23. [...] in that if you have good content, people want to share it and link to it. However, in December 2011 Google confirmed that it was using social signals such as likes, retweets and +1s for search engine ranking.Earlier this year, Google announced a [...]

  24. [...] in that if you have good content, people want to share it and link to it. However, in December 2011 Google confirmed that it was using social signals such as likes, retweets and +1s for search engine [...]

  25. [...] in that if you have good content, people want to share it and link to it. However, in December 2011 Google confirmed that it was using social signals such as likes, retweets and +1s for search engine [...]

  26. [...] it and link to it. however, in December 2011 Google confirmed that it was using social signals such as likes, retweets and +1s [...]

  27. [...] LeWeb2011 konferencijoje kalbėjęs Google vadovas Eric’as Schmidt’as patvirtino, kad socialiniai tinklai įtakoja svetainių reitingus. Vis didėjanti socialinės žiniasklaidos [...]

  28. [...] s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })(); Tweet Ever since Eric Schmidt confirmed at LeWeb last year that social signals were being taken into consideration for SERPS, the SEO world [...]

  29. [...] it or not, social media impacts organic search results, a fact that former Google CEO Eric Schmidt readily admits. All those inbound links garnered from [...]

  30. [...] as a useful and efficient way to earn links. It was around this time that Google professionals like Eric Shmidt stated that “the social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal”. [...]

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  32. [...] Basically, Synnd enhances your search engine rankings and generates incoming traffic by leveraging on the power of social proof. When content is promoted in the different Synnd modules, this is noticed both by other users, who may also decide to share it in some way, and by the search engines. With the advent of Google+1, Eric Schmidt himself, the current Executive Chairman of Google, confirmed that social signals are now being considered ranking signals. (read http://www.stateofdigital.com/eric-schmidt-confirms-the-social-signal-is-a-ranking-factor/) [...]

  33. [...] time, Google built into their program a way of looking at social media activity in what is called social signals.  In other words, what signals did the social media platforms indicate about how people felt about [...]

  34. [...] like how Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, said it in December 2011, “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal.” [...]

  35. [...] What is Google+ Really all About? – Google+: Sooner Or Later You Are Going To End Up Using It – Eric Schmidt Confirms: The Social Signal is a Ranking Factor – 6 Ways Google Gets Your Social Data – How to use Google + – How to Share on Google+ – How To [...]

  36. [...] A blatant note to both buyers and sellers of SEO services: a year ago, Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, said, “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal.” (December 2011). [...]

  37. [...] A blatant note to both buyers and sellers of SEO services: a year ago, Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, said, “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal.” (December 2011). [...]

  38. [...] A blatant note to both buyers and sellers of SEO services: a year ago, Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, said, “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal.” (December 2011). [...]

  39. [...] A blatant note to both buyers and sellers of SEO services: a year ago, Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, said, “The amicable signal, a people we ‘hang with’ is indeed a ranking signal.” (December 2011). [...]

  40. [...] A blatant note to both buyers and sellers of SEO services: a year ago, Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, said, “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal.” (December 2011). [...]

  41. [...] A blatant note to both buyers and sellers of SEO services: a year ago, Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, said, “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal.” (December 2011). [...]

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  44. [...] A blatant note to both buyers and sellers of SEO services: a year ago, Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, said, “The amicable signal, a people we ‘hang with’ is indeed a ranking signal.” (December 2011). [...]

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  48. [...] as 2010 that social media was becoming a factor in search engine rankings. But it wasn’t until LeWeb in December 2011 that Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt finally admitted this was indeed the case. [...]

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  50. […] I read a few articles confirming these Google search engine ranking factors that you can also read. This one confirms that page speed is a ranking factor, and this one has Google’s Eric Schmidt confirming that social signals are a ranking factor. […]

  51. […] your content’s social love. It’s at the core of its search signals. At LeWeb 2011, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal.” The […]

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