As with most theories in life, there are going to be proponents and opponents. It’s no different for theories in SEO. Over the years, there have been many discussions, debates, and disagreements about what methods works, what doesn’t, and what’s ethical.
Social media seems to be one of those popular topics. There are two camps: 1) Proponents that believe that Google actually tracks various types of social signals to help a website rank higher. 2) Opponents that believe social signals do not play a role and that it is simply a matter of coorelation, not causation. There have been hundreds of articles written about this topic with both sides arguing their case.
Now, we finally have some confirmation on this topic straight from the horse’s mouth.
To sum up, Matt Cutts basically says that social media is not a part of Google’s search algorithm and that it does not play a role in how a website ranks. At the same time, Matt also says you shouldn’t stop using social media because it’s still a good way to drive additional traffic to your site.
I agree with Matt Cutts and how Google is handling this. Social media signals have coorelations with popular webpages and blog posts, but they do not directly cause a site’s ranking to go up. Social media sites continue to drive considerable amounts of traffic to websites, so there would be no reason why anyone would not want to continue using it. Think of social media as another marketing channel, like PPC or banner advertising.
What are your thoughts on social media?