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I read in blogs that Facebook features will be crawled in future.

Maybe like how many Likes are done for a specific page.

In that case is it good to use third party widgets like ShareThis to integrate Facebook Likes or do I have to directly use the Facebook code on my website?

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Past, Current and Future

Google and many other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing are already factoring in social media interactions. Such as Tweets, Likes, Shares, Pintrest, Google +1, Reddits and so on. This have been using social media in their algorithms for some years now and they are constantly updating it.

Using Social Media is a Ranking Factor

It is advisable for any site... business or personal to have social media platforms integrations as they do contribute to rankings as well as gaining visitors from these networks which ultimately can spread the word by also using social media or by back linking directly on a blog of some sort.

You heard of things going viral? Well normally this happens on social networking first.... not always but most of the time and Google rewards for this hence they monitor social media. So yes... It's advisable to use social media BIG TIME ;)

SEO Profilers can tell you what your online presence is like

Check out a woorank.com which is one of many that can tell you and your competitors social likes and so on.

Or are you refering to actual FACEBOOK crawling? what people link on their walls without visiting a website and clicking the share/like button?

PS. What blog did you read? Either a outdated one or a future one perhaps which they may factor it in even more into the rankings.. Let us know if you find it.

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I wanted to know whether google uses the social plugin status in individual webpages and not by crawling facebook. may be the latter would be a different question. –  Jayapal Chandran May 19 '13 at 18:29
    
could you also tell me about using third part widgets... if i change from third party to facebook plugin or the other way ... will the scored be maintained? –  Jayapal Chandran May 19 '13 at 20:53
    
No one knows exactly how Google look or farm the data... We just know they are aware of it and no one knows for sure how Google scores for it. –  bybe May 19 '13 at 20:59
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If that ends up being true and search engines do start crawling Facebook code and counting likes, it won't matter if you use a widget like shareThis or directly implement the code. The Facebook 'like' API is public so I'm sure the search engine would run a check to verify the 'like' count through Facebook's servers anyways.

I don't think it will have a significant impact on your SERPs even if they do start counting, but feel free to use your favorite widget without worry.

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Social media has a place in search results, but it will never be a big place. Social sharing and liking is currently one of the many factors that Google uses in its ranking algorithm. However, it is not now, and never will be one of the major factors. Google can't use it as a major factor because

  • Google can't get to most of it. Facebook does not give Google the data it would need. Facebook is currently where the majority of social activity takes place.
  • The type of page that is shared on social sites is not the kind of page that answers the queries put into search engines. Social sharing seems to be focused primarily on entertainment and news. Lots of jokes, funny images, and latest news stories. The useful content that is shared is often dumbed down into easily an digestible top ten list format.
  • People tend not to share items that require too much in depth knowledge in a particular field. The audience on a social network of friends is not right for that.
  • People tend not to share things that are too personal. Articles about sexuality and medical conditions often are kept private.

So getting lots of social activity can give your site a boost on search, especially if you are in the news and entertainment business. But social will never power (or even have much effect on) the majority of search queries.

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I have a few problems with this answer. Firstly, Google does have access to most of the data. Not only do they have access to Google+ data, but the Twitter API and Facebook Open Graph API give them access to the social data of the two other major social networks. Secondly, linkbait is exactly the type of article that gets shared on social networks, so there doesn't seem to be much distinction between what's popular on social networks and what's popular on the web in general. –  Lèse majesté Feb 19 '13 at 5:18
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Also, there are plenty of professionals on social networks these days, and they're followed specifically because of their expertise and knowledge-ability. A search engine is naturally going to weight the social links of influencers (people with lots of followers), and such users are more likely to be journalists/experts/celebrities/thought leaders than a random housewife or 16-year-old. And even average programmers, physicists, doctors, lawyers, etc. are going to share pages their professional circle is interested in. –  Lèse majesté Feb 19 '13 at 5:25
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Lastly, most searchers wouldn't be looking for random people's private diary entries anyway, so the exclusion of such results actually improves search quality. But such private posts wouldn't be accessible by Google or web users in the first place. However, social graph data clearly has great potential for web search (especially for personalized results), which is why Facebook and Google are investing in the concept. –  Lèse majesté Feb 19 '13 at 5:31
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