Can you build too many social shares too quickly and get penalized for that?

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Can you build too many social shares too quickly and get penalized for that?

Hello all SEOs and SMM's out there. Social share providers. I have a question for you about social shares. You know what I mean, things like Likes, Shares, +1's, tweets/retweets, pins/repins etc etc.

I already posted on What counts as a Social Signal these days anyway in the eyes of Google? So I'm talking about all of those sorts of things.

And as you know, when it comes to doing SEO. SEO on a NEW site. You never want to build too many backlinks too quickly to your site. That can set off red flags and get you sandboxed! Or at least, hit with a manual penalty by one of the algorithms.

So my question is, can the same thing happen with social shares? If your new site was to suddenly get lots of social shares / signals quickly. Like a LOT. Like say, 10,000 overnight and 100,000 by 7 days. Or even say 500k in a months time.

Would Google penalize my site for that? Does it work the same way with social shares like it does with backlinks? In that if you get too many too quickly, can Google think you're trying to manipulate the SERPs and then penalize/sandbox/whatever for it?

Take this scenario for example: Sometimes a site can go VIRAL overnight. Like when some new game or toy or product or cool hot invention is made and the manufacturers site gets swamped with millions of hits as it's shared and reshared constanly on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram etc etc. Plus it can get picked up by blogs and blogged about by many blogs and even news sites, press release sites, even social bookmarking sites like SU, Reddit etc etc and get linked to really quickly many times by many sites and end up with like 10,000 backlinks and 10,000 social signals/shares really quickly.

And sometimes, Google can indeed penalize a site like that. But generally, when we see it happen, it's because the site doesn't have great on-page SEO. Although that's not always the case. Sometimes it can happen but it's rare.

Sometimes it can be an actual manual review. Google employs teams of people to keep their eye on who's ranking for some of the most high search volume stuff. And if they suddenly see a site ranking high because they have picked up thousands of social signals and links from social media sites, blogs etc (in a certain niche) etc. Then they can see that and realize that it's all organic. That it's happened organically, naturally on its own simply because it's such a hot product whatever.

So you have to be careful when doing this. When using social signals/shares etc to increase the ranking of your website. You can't really add too many too quickly but what's more important is to ensure they continue being added. There is nothing that is a bigger sign of manipulation when there is a massive growth in signals and then a sudden stop. It's just a massive giveaway of what you've been up to and it's possible that Google even looks at this as a way of knowing if you've been buying social shares etc to try and manipulate the SERPS.

But it's very possible to still built social signals, shares etc and fly under the radar so to speak and keep it all natural looking. You just have to make sure you level it out and make it look like it's real engagement. By doing it after you add new content. So that means different shares from different sites (as that would happen as your content is shared around) spikes high and then levels out just like it always does!

What is your experience or thoughts on and of this?

Since social shares all mostly come from "Google friendly" sites.

Do you know if Google penalizes sites for adding too many social shares too quickly?

Or that if any penalty came from it, it would have to be a manual review only?

Can you build too many social shares too quickly and get penalized for that?


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Thanks Mike, it is certainly an interesting topic and not one that I really considered before. I know that often buying social services is not so hot, especially when it comes to things like buying followers. For me that is completely pointless.

I never really considered the impact of buying social shares, or perhaps what would happen if my website went viral overnight. You've got a very valid point though, a social share is a backlink and gaining too many backlinks in too short a space of time will certainly put you at risk of being penalized. I would hope though that Google does do a manual investigation to see whether it is just your website going viral naturally or using other methods that are frowned upon.

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I'm grateful for this information for it will help to build my experience with social media networking in the future.

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Just my thoughts on the topic. I don’t think your website can be penalized when you get too many social media shares in a short period of time. I’m sure Google will consider the efforts that the webmaster is doing. Especially for a new website, it is normal to promote the site so backlinks and social shares will abound. But if there is a penalty for this, it may slightly affect the ranking and I believe it is negligible.

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