We do use Twitter and Facebook links and ranking, as we always have, in our websearch rankings. But in addition, we’re also trying to figure out a little bit about the reputation of an author or a creator on Twitter or Facebook. And let me just give you a little bit of background on that. I filmed a video back in May 2010, where I said that we didn’t use that as a signal. And at the time, we did not use that as a signal. But now, we’re taping this in December 2010, and we are using that as a signal.
So the exhaustive place. So primarily, it has been used a little bit more in the real time sort of search, where you might see individual tweets, or other links showing up and streaming up on the page. We’re studying how much sense it makes to use it a little more widely within our web search rankings. Now, there’s a few things to remember.
So if we’re able to obtain the data, then we can use it. But you know, if, for some reason, a page is forbidden for us to crawl, or we’re not able to obtain it somehow, then we wouldn’t be able to use that within our rankings. This is something that is used relatively lightly, for now, and we’ll see how much we use it over time, depending on how useful it is, and how robust it ends up being.
The one thing I would caution people about, is don’t necessarily say to yourself, aha. Now I’m going to go out and get reciprocal follows, and I’m going to get a ton of followers, just like people used to get a ton of links. In the same way that page rank depends on not just the number of links, but the quality of those links, you have to think about, what are the followers who mean quality? You know, who are the people who actually are not just bots, you know, or some software program, or things like that? So it is a signal that we’re starting to use a little bit more. You’ll see it most within our sort of real time search, as it’s streaming through. But we’re looking at it more broadly within web search as well.
by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team