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Social Media: Likes, +1s & #Hashtags

Likes & +1s

Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, has once again squashed the idea that Google +1s or Facebook likes have a direct impact on search rankings. He said that he is looking for the “politest way to debunk the idea that more Google +1s lead to higher Google web rankings.”

There have been correlation studies done by MOZ suggesting a link between Facebook likes and Google rankings but Matt says it isn’t surprising content with more likes or +1s have better rankings. Matt explains, “If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc.”  He also added “rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.”

This may be a little misleading because it implies that Likes and +1s have no value but we all know they do.  They may not have a direct impact on search results but if you are logged into Google while searching, it will show you sites that have been +1’d by people in your circles.  This is similar on Facebook when they recommend you pages that your friends have liked.


Hashtags have become so popular that people will use them in everyday verbal conversations.  It is a little annoying when that certain friend talking in nothing but hashtags but they are a great way to share content by grouping it with a popular hashtag.  Twitter started the whole hashtag trend and now many websites are using this format.  Even Facebook, who has said in the past that they are against the idea have integrated it in its searches.

Despite the popularity, many people still don’t know how to use them correctly and are surprisingly careless with their hashtags.  Here are a few common mistakes and what to do instead.

Make hashtage a natural part of your post

The Bad: Using an absurd amount of hashtags at the end of your posts/tweets.

The Good: It may seem like a good idea to stuff your post with full of every relevant hashtag but it just looks tacky and on twitter, it will take up your precious character limit on Twitter.  Instead, try only a few and hashtag a word in the post itself.  For example, “I found the best #vegetarian pizza recipe ever!”

Hashtags should make sense

The Bad: Using Random hastags that may or may not be important in the post or using popular hashtags that are trending and using them to piggy back for views.

The Good: Just be aware of the purpose to the tag, and don’t swipe it in a desperate attempt to become visible. It makes you look like a spammer.

We should all be using hashtags regularly but we should be using them the right way.  Otherwise, the whole process is counterproductive and potentially harmful to your SEO efforts.  No one likes an over-aggressive hastagger.

By Tony Fong

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