Online marketers are still trying to figure out just how strong of a role social signals play in organic SEO rankings: multiple studies have been conducted to determine the exact correlation of social signals and SEO rankings, with varying results.
In two years, companies playing in competitive niches that don’t have a robust social strategy will be left in the dust by those that do; Social signals are becoming the new “link” in terms of overall importance in the ranking algorithm. While I don’t believe the value of links as a ranking signal will ever completely disappear, I do believe that direct and indirect impacts of social signals will eventually surpass links as the most valuable ranking factor.
Aside from social signals eventually overtaking inbound links as the most valuable ranking signal, there’s a clear upward trend in the importance of AuthorRank as a ranking signal. The idea of associating content with an author, rather than the website on which it resides, is evident in Cutts’ December 2010 Webmaster video “Does Google use data from social sites in ranking?”
Google expanded on this idea beyond just Twitter and Facebook by implementing Google Authorship, which allows Google to track authors across domains and assign authority and credibility to their content, allowing that content to not only rank higher in search engines for certain queries, but also pass more value to the outbound links contained within.
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