Can’t Live With ‘Em, Can’t Rank Without ‘Em: Google to Index Facebook Comments

Can’t Live With ‘Em, Can’t Rank Without ‘Em: Google to Index Facebook Comments

We’ve already spoken here on the blog about the increasing influence that social media is having on search engine results. Recent figures suggest that 16% of all time spent online is spent on social media. Until recently the effective absence of many prominent social networking tools from search engine results has been the proverbial elephant in the room. Until recently.

Official Google Webmaster Central BlogThis week, Google announced its intention to begin cataloguing all comments made on any publicly visible website. This includes comments made using add-ins from social networks such as Facebook, Disqus and Intense Debate. Previously, Google’s robots had been unable to read the programming language used by such services, excluding them from playing any part in a website’s rankings.  From an online marketing perspective this was, to put it mildly, frustrating. So much of building a site’s authority (especially in these post-Panda days) comes from encouraging interaction with that site and brand: comments on blog posts – and particularly the links contained within them – being the most obvious example.

FacebookIt’s certainly good news for Facebook. Google’s inability to read comments made using their Connect add-in has done them no favours. Many site owners have ignored or abandoned Connect in favour of other tools which will get them noticed by search engines. Given the growing rivalry between the two, this move by Google is surely a sign that it was causing them at least as much pain as it was causing Facebook. Whether Connect was SEO-friendly or not, Facebook is still far and away the largest social media website on the net. For a company such as Google, whose entire service is predicated on the notion that they can deliver the best results, ignoring such a vast reservoir of information would have been untenable.

Now that Google will be indexing all blog comments, it reinforces the message they have been sending out that for sites to rank highly they must have good authority. And, this time, they really do mean it. If people are commenting on or linking to your blog, it is evidence that there is something there that is worth talking about. For that reason, a blog is one of the most powerful SEO tools a site can have. The digital revolution may have changed many things when it comes to promoting and selling your brand, but the basics are still the same as they were when Pears were using Millais to sell soap; it’s about creating engagement with your consumers. For help optimising your social media campaign, contact us.

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