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Discussion on Links vs. Tweets

by Jon Cooper
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Drop what ever you’re doing and go check out my new article: 24 SEO Experts Discuss Links vs. Tweets. I guarantee you’ll learn a thing or two from it.

The reason I’m posting here is because I want to extend the discussion to the rest of the Point Blank SEO community. More than anything else, I want YOU to answer these questions. If your answers are good enough, I’ll add them to this point and give you a link! All you have to do is leave a comment with your answers. Here are the questions:

1. Because of the way people share content today, do you think the impact on rankings links have will start to decrease?

2. Do you think tweets and other social shares will ever have the kind of impact on rankings that links have today?

3. Would you rather have a link to a blog post from an authoritative blog, or would you rather have the post tweeted by a highly authoritative figure?

Answer away!

The first set of answers comes from Gianluca Fiorelli:

1. Personally I believe that the link graph by itself will start decreasing its influence as “King of ranking factors” in the future. But I sincerely believe that it will still have a big impact.

In the vision I have of the future of search, I consider that all the graph that the search engines, and Google especially, will use in the ranking pot (Link, Social and Author Graphs) will compensate and complement each others.

2. Not really. Not if not confirmed by other signals. If it wasn’t so we would simply pass from link spam to social spam… or, to use a figure we all know, from Black Hat SEO to Black Hat SMO.

3. May I choose a third option? I would love to be linked from an authoritative blog, which owns highly authoritative social media profiles from where it shares its blog post with my link :D.

The second set of answers comes from Chris:

1. No matter how good I am at interpreting my crystal ball and looking in to the future I can’t see the weight of links from trustworthy resources diminishing drastically any time soon. Google are already on the record stating they are looking at the social share graph as part of their algorithm so it is fair to assume the overall weighting of a link has naturally decreased by this process but for now I will continue to build links.

2. Once Google get a real handle on the authority and reputation of a G+ sharer or Tweeter they can begin to give Tweets and Shares from these individuals more value than a bunch of spam bots re-tweeting a link.

With the release of Google+ this type of thing is already starting to happen and I am sure with time & data Google will be able to give more emphasis to a tweet from a Thought Leader than a link from a low profile blog post.

3. I would much rather have the link from the authority blog than the tweet from the authority individual. Tweets have a very limited half life, social shares die very quickly where as a link can be referenced and re-referenced and if you are lucky enough to get a link from an evergreen piece of content then you will have great rankings for a long time to come. :)

The third set of answers comes from Michael Kovis:

1. Simply no. Why? Static web links have been the standard for years. Google’s algorithm depends far too heavily on the metrics these types of links provide for the SERP’s. Social sharing will always be a supplement to the link graph. Keep in mind the old saying, “quality over quantity.” I have no doubts though, that indeed the way search engines use social sharing data will continue to evolve and help search engines decipher the difference between authoritative web links and the spam.

2. Once again no. I touched a little bit on this in answer #1 as well. Social shares are always going to be a supplement to the link graph. If social shares were more permanent, then and only then, would they take be able place of valuable static web links by having a much larger impact. I cannot verify that social sharing won’t ever have some sort of long-term impact (e.g. frequency of link shares per domain), but there could be that possibility.

3. I think this question is really comparing apples to oranges here. Both are fruits (links). Both provide different types of benefits (value) (i.e. think difference of vitamins and minerals here).

Hands down, I would take the static web link from an authoritative blog. It will carry a much longer lifespan than the average tweet, even if that tweet was from an authoritative Twitter account. Over time, the web link will provide much more value as it is continually being measured by the search engines algorithm and gaining more authority. Maybe a simple way to describe this would be comparable to planting a seed to grow an oak tree (link). Unless that tree dies (broken link), they can grow for years and years while getting stronger and stronger (gaining more authority).

The tweet, on the other hand, provides a totally different type of value. The link itself has a short lifespan, but social sharing opens up so many more opportunities as the reach can be almost unlimited. If the right content gets shared it could lead to multiple retweets, blog mentions, bookmarks, links, relationships, etc…

This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 122 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper+ is an SEO consultant based out of Gainesville, FL who specializes in link building. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter.

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9 Comments
  1. Chris says:

    Firstly I have to say fantastic article Jon. Keep them coming!!

    1. Because of the way people share content today, do you think the impact on rankings links have will start to decrease?

    No matter how good I am at interpreting my crystal ball and looking in to the future I can’t see the weight of links from trustworthy resources diminishing drastically any time soon. Google are already on the record stating they are looking at the social share graph as part of their algorithm so it is fair to assume the overall weighting of a link has naturally decreased by this process but for now I will continue to build links.

    2. Do you think tweets and other social shares will ever have the kind of impact on rankings that links have today?

    Once Google get a real handle on the authority and reputation of a G+ sharer or Tweeter they can begin to give Tweets and Shares from these individuals more value than a bunch of spam bots re-tweeting a link.

    With the release of Google+ this type of thing is already starting to happen and I am sure with time & data Google will be able to give more emphasis to a tweet from a Thought Leader than a link from a low profile blog post.

    3. Would you rather have a link to a blog post from an authoritative blog, or would you rather have the post tweeted by a highly authoritative figure?

    I would much rather have the link from the authority blog than the tweet from the authority individual. Tweets have a very limited half life, social shares die very quickly where as a link can be referenced and re-referenced and if you are lucky enough to get a link from an evergreen piece of content then you will have great rankings for a long time to come. :)

  2. 1. Because of the way people share content today, do you think the impact on rankings links have will start to decrease?

    Simply no. Why? Static web links have been the standard for years. Google’s algorithm depends far too heavily on the metrics these types of links provide for the SERP’s. Social sharing will always be a supplement to the link graph. Keep in mind the old saying, “quality over quantity.” I have no doubts though, that indeed the way search engines use social sharing data will continue to evolve and help search engines decipher the difference between authoritative web links and the spam.

    2. Do you think tweets and other social shares will ever have the kind of impact on rankings that links have today?

    Once again no. I touched a little bit on this in answer #1 as well. Social shares are always going to be a supplement to the link graph. If social shares were more permanent, then and only then, would they take be able place of valuable static web links by having a much larger impact. I cannot verify that social sharing won’t ever have some sort of long-term impact (e.g. frequency of link shares per domain), but there could be that possibility.

    3. Would you rather have a link to a blog post from an authoritative blog, or would you rather have the post tweeted by a highly authoritative figure?

    I think this question is really comparing apples to oranges here. Both are fruits (links). Both provide different types of benefits (value) (i.e. think difference of vitamins and minerals here).

    Hands down, I would take the static web link from an authoritative blog. It will carry a much longer lifespan than the average tweet, even if that tweet was from an authoritative Twitter account. Over time, the web link will provide much more value as it is continually being measured by the search engines algorithm and gaining more authority. Maybe a simple way to describe this would be comparable to planting a seed to grow an oak tree (link). Unless that tree dies (broken link), they can grow for years and years while getting stronger and stronger (gaining more authority).

    The tweet, on the other hand, provides a totally different type of value. The link itself has a short lifespan, but social sharing opens up so many more opportunities as the reach can be almost unlimited. If the right content gets shared it could lead to multiple retweets, blog mentions, bookmarks, links, relationships, etc…

  3. Sean says:

    1. Because of the way people share content today, do you think the impact on rankings links have will start to decrease?

    Short term, no. Long term, probably.

    2. Do you think tweets and other social shares will ever have the kind of impact on rankings that links have today?

    I’d be surprised if social shares ever have the same impact on an algorithm. I think that it will require the social market to mature before the links will start to pass more value.

    3. Would you rather have a link to a blog post from an authoritative blog, or would you rather have the post tweeted by a highly authoritative figure?

    Oh, short term, attention starved society :)

    Basically the options are in black and white below:

    • Tweet = Good short term value with diminishing return over time
    • Link = Good short & long term value with ‘definite’ SEO benefit

    I think the answer is pretty obvious…

    P.s you don’t have to add this, Just wanted to answer them.

  4. Neil says:

    Hmm, to answer:
    1.) The real time requirements of search to pick up recent events will require tweets and shares to be more important. But the basic architecture of the internet hasn’t changed – and it won’t. Some content is the right answer to the question a searcher is asking. And most of those questions aren’t recent questions about current events – they’re static questions about topics that change slowly over time. So whilst tweets and social shares are important bellwethers of what’s occurring “now”, they don’t necessarily have the same long term impact of social voting on the best pages on the net.

    2.) See answer #1 – they ought to have more impact on current affairs and recent news, and less impact on static and unchanging items of interest. A page about World War II should not move up or down if an influential twitter user decided to post about the topic. Unless there’s a large scale change in opinion, or some new facts that have come to light, at which point the links will gradually change to reflect this over time.

    3.) At the moment I’d rather have one of my tweets re-tweeted by an influential twitter user. This would bring valuable traffic to my site and give it the exposure it needs (after all, great content is useless unless people see it). The link on their site is nice, but it’s something I can go and fetch myself using other methods.

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