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Once Again, it is about the links, not the tweets…

SEOMoz has posted another piece of anecdotal evidence linking tweets to rankings that must be taken with a grain of salt. I hate to continue to harp on this issue because I am still a big fan of SEOMoz, but the reality is that a tweet generating links is not a social signal.

The issue in question was that smashingmagazine.com tweeted out a recommendation for SEOMoz’s excellent beginner’s guide to SEO. I highly recommend you check it out. After the tweet, their guide shot to the front page for the keyword “Beginner’s Guide”. Unfortunately, it is far too easy to jump to the conclusion that the retweets and social weight of smashing magazine’s twitter profile were responsible for the jump.

What is the more likely culprit? A sitewide link from Smashing Magazine and Twitter Feeds syndicating the links on their own sites.

You see, Smashing Magazine keeps it’s twitter feed live on the side bar. Any of their latest tweets are included on nearly EVERY page of their 8700 page PR6 site.

More importantly, over 200 sites are STILL linking as of today to that bit.ly link because of syndicating their twitter feeds, follows or retweets on their own sites.

So, what is the take home? Twitter can be a great viral source for links NOT Google Rankings are significantly affected by the twitter social graph

Once Again, it is about the links, not the tweets... by No tags for this post.

4 Comments

  1. Nick Pyett
    Feb 18, 2011

    Very interestsing. I suppose you can’t take anything at face value in the world of SEO!

  2. searchengineman
    Feb 22, 2011

    It’s getting harder and harder…to take anything at face value. Thanks for the second opinion.

    searchengineman

  3. Randy Pickard
    Mar 9, 2011

    Nice analysis. It is a good example of the poor reliability of conclusions reached based on a sample size of one. Prior to reading your article, I jumped to the conclusion that Smashing Magazines ratio of 353,000 followers to 487 following must have give their tweets terrific authority. However, I on second thought, your conclusion seems more likely to be the correct on and that it was the links that were generated that produced the ranking.

  4. Glenn Friesen
    Sep 6, 2011

    Wonderful counterpoint and valid investigation.

    I wonder how useful the distinction between models is, though (viral source for links VS. rankings being significantly affected by the social graph)…? Would the mechanics of either change the behavior of SEO’s pulling this lever? (I don’t think so).

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