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I have a question; How do you believe social signals play into rankings? (For my next SEW article)

Was reading this; http://blog.searchmetrics.com/us/2012/06/07/us-and-uk-seo-ranking-factors-2012/ 

Which got me thinking about putting something together... if I use yer thoughts, happy to linkee ya up! 
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Kevin Gallagher's profile photoDavid Harry's profile photo
 
Did Google themselves not say that G+ plus one's where not a great signal at the moment. Which makes me think would Facebook be the same?

A ranking factor, perhaps a signal or discovery. But if a lot of people are sharing content surely that's a signal of quality?

But again a lot of people retweet posts and don't even read them. I have seen it. I have also seen a lot of people just retweet things that their friends have retweeted  (cleeky).
 
See, that's the bits that got me. If Google doesn't entirely trust the noise level of their own social (+1) then I'd have to think tweets and likes are the same.

Further to that, using tweets for example, there is the issue of access/trusting 3rd party data. They learned that when they didn't renew their contract with twitter. To justify the crawl expense (as opposed to API access) it would need to be a signal that significantly improved search quality no?

I am more inclined, as you noted, to think of them in terms of discovery/velocity more than actual 'votes' (aka PageRank). 
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