Before every Distilled conference, we hold a dinner for all the speakers and some ‘VIP’ conference attendees. During the dinner at 2011’s Searchlove New York, someone asked the question “What do you think will be the biggest change to search ranking factors over the next couple of years?”
It’s a great question, and I didn’t hesitate to give an answer: the integration of social signals will be more impactful than we could have anticipated.
Back in the Day
When Google launched (around 15 years ago) it was clearly streets-ahead of other search engines at the time. Whereas other people trusted the content of a page to determine topic-relevancy, Google used the links between pages to assess the relative ‘authority’ of pages and sites.
For the intervening few years, this was the way things were; building links to a site helped it rank.