SEOMoz 2011 Broad Algorithm
This is the most powerful argument yet for investment in social content enablement. It also can be a powerful way of demonstrating social ROI. If all you do to a page is to code social features on it, tying your SME authors to Twitter and Facebook, you can measure how your ranking tends to improve over time after you do this. That would provide a direct correlation between social enablement and the leads it generates through search.
Prior to the SEOMoz study, Rand Fishkin, who runs SEOMoz, wrote up some of the preliminary results in a blog post. The most striking conclusion from the post is that the number of times a link is shared on Facebook has the strongest correlation to its ranking in Google among all social factorsmore than tweets, likes, or any other way links are passed around socially.
In my last article, I had assumed that the rift between Google and Facebook prevented Facebook data from affecting Google search results. This is in contrast to Bing, where the presence of the Like button shows up next to search results and appears to affect rankings. Well, SEOMoz has proven that assumption dead wrong. Not only is Facebook sharing the single most powerful social tactic you can use for boosting link ranking, four of the top five social factors correlated to search rankings are taken from Facebook metrics. In order of importance: Shares, Sum of Shares, Likes and Comments, Comments, and Likes.
The cumulative affect on search ranking of using Facebook Share and Like widgets near your content is overwhelmingly strong. If you have already optimized your pages for the keywords your target audience uses in their queries, the single most effective way to increase page ranking is to enable Facebook likes and share on your pages.