Facebook the Walled Garden, Twitter Anything But



I was working on writing a comment for the latest blog post by AJ Vaynerchuk at ShoeMoney.com but it turned out that the comment morphed into something more, so I thought bringing some attention to the post as well as my thoughts on it might be a good thing.

AJ selected the names of fifty prominent internet marketing veterans and compared where Twitter and Facebook ranked respectively for their names on Google. The results were unexpected.

Twitter completely dominates the rankings in Google. Twitter was also indexed for 100% of the names, while Facebook was only indexed for 72% of the names. It is unclear whether or not the author verified that the all of the individuals who failed to show listings from Facebook actually have Facebook accounts.

The last number AJ identified was the percentage of Twitter v. Facebook links on the first page of Google. That number again is heavily in favor of Twitter with 86% of the names having a Twitter listing on the first page of Google and only 18% of the names for Facebook.

AJ’s conclusion is:

My guess is that when these names come up in blog conversation the link-backs will always point to the individual’s blog, or twitter – not Facebook. Everyone knows that anchor text plays a major role in SEO, and it seems Twitter is winning that game.

I think there is a lot of common sense in his conclusion but I also think it is more than just back links. Let me start by saying I believe the comparison is interesting but it is really an apples to oranges comparison because Facebook and Twitter currently are designed for completely different usage patterns.

Facebook is basically a walled garden, what happens on Facebook tends to stay within Facebook. For the most part none of the content produced on Facebook is repurposed out amongst the blogsphere, this along with a limited volume of daily updates as compared to Twitter, makes Facebook of lesser value to Google from a fresh content perspective.

Twitter however seems to be built to be one giant piece of Google bait. With a fixed field for communication and a feel like that of an instant messaging service, where each message becomes a linkable page, Twitter has developed a massive user generated content system for whatever the Twitter audience might be discussing.

Having fresh, new, and in demand content I am sure is massively appealing to Google and with most marketers having their name / brand / nickname in their Twitter ID the @name communication technique is most likely also driving up the relevancy score for the users name on Twitter.

What are your thoughts?

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan Kanellis

    I really wish they would have looked at other social networks when comparing like linkedin or mybloglog.

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..Yahoo/Google Ad Deal Closer?

  • http://www.seoresults.co.za Web Marketing Man

    This isn’t the 1st time I see the “walled garden” analogy applied to facebook. It is very true though, and quite apt. That would explain why facebook is starting to open up (to digg, inter alia), as was discussed in an earlier post on this blog.

  • http://www.thevanblog.com Steven Bradley

    Interesting. Roderick I agree with you about the apples to oranges comparison. It could also be possible that some of the people have chosen to keep their profiles private.

    I’m with Jaan on wishing the comparison included more social networks, though something tells me someone will eventually make the comparison.

    Steven Bradley’s last blog post..Last Chance To Join Teaching Sells For $1

  • http://www.tealmontgomery.com Steve Teal

    I’d be very interested to see more comparison data such as this one. It isn’t the most accurate because of the walled garden factor but would be interesting to see results against LinkedIn which has been high in ranks for name searches.~ Steve

  • http://www.greatpriceshere.com Nicole

    So, is the moral of the story, not to pay too much attention to ranking? I should imagine so.

    Nicole’s last blog post..eBooks – Another Way to go Green!

  • http://www.ioergercreative.com Roderick Ioerger

    @Jaan, Steven, & Steve – Maybe Jeremy will ask AJ to do a follow up post? If not I might drop him a note but it would make sense to have it done at Jeremy’s or AJ site.

    @Nicole I think the moral of the story is more that some social media tools provide greater search engine and branding opportunities than others.

    I also think it may inspire a host of new SEO ideas for getting search engine rankings via leveraging twitter.

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  • http://www.springgarden.info/ Matthew Chuck

    Cool Information!

  • http://hydroponicproduction.blogspot.com/ Walter Scott

    Hmm I didn’t think twitter had much of an impact on rankings.

    Walter Scott’s last blog post..Aeroponic Hydroponic Cloner

  • http://www.minigreenhousekits.com Dana Scott

    Great blog, I really enjoyed this post. I will be back and have bookmarked your site. Thanks! Dana