When it comes to SEO, search engine rankings are conventionally determined by two key factors – authority and relevance. Authority is generally defined the number of inbound links pointing to your content from reputable websites.
Relevancy refers to using proper and relevant keywords in your web content (including Meta tags) to match search engine queries. That’s all fairly basic isn’t it? Well not anymore…
Things have changed drastically over the years – major search engines like Google are now integrating social media context into search engine results.
If you are not looking into the role social media is playing in today’s world of search engine optimization then you can be sure that you are leaving a lot of stone unturned in terms of opportunities in implementing suitable and up to date strategies in search engine marketing.
This integration is collectively known as “social search”.
Social Search and SEO marketing
Social search refers to the manner in which search engines take into account a user’s social network activity and use it when deciding what to show on search engine results age.
Simply put, this prioritizes content according to your social connections in addition relevance and authority. Social connections means links to content via social networks like Facebook. In the same way, social search puts a priority on relevant web content shared by influential persons or groups even they are not directly under your social network connections.
Let’s take a look at specific examples of social networks and how it is poised to affect online marketing
Earlier this year, the most dominant search engine online rolled out Google+ – a distinct collaboration between the Google+ social network and the Google search engine. Today, it prioritizes content that is being shared and used by people under your network.
Now its influence is not just limited to the Google+ social network, search results from various other social media networks can also be integrated according to relevance and web content that has a connection with people under your network are more likely to be displayed than those that don’t. For it to work though, users would actually have to log-in to their Google+ account and link their social media network with it.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had recently announced his vision to shape Facebook into a “social search engine” driven specifically by social media activity. As more and more people start using search engines to answer day to day questions, Zuckerberg sees Facebook to be in the most ideal position to address queries from its users.
Second only to Google, Facebook has become one the most widely used search engine online and caters to almost a billion searches daily. Most of these searches are for persons or businesses but the most dominant social network online certainly has the potential to evolve into a search engine for addressing inquiries and providing reviews for products and services.
Intertwining social media to your SEO strategy
Despite the fact that there’s nothing definite yet about social search and the current trends that it is setting in SEO, only one thing is certain if we are to consider the recent steps social media networks like Google and Facebook are taking. Search engine marketing professionals have to start looking at their social media marketing and search engine optimization strategy as inseparable.
Let’s take a look at some of the great ways of accomplishing just that:
Ensure that search engine optimization tools are “Social media informed” – This means having a complete online marketing platform wherein SEO and social media is interconnected. But don’t simply take our word for it simply because we at Think Big Online offer such a platform.
Now just imagine what you could do if you have a blog for example, that has integrated social media sharing function and SEO recommendations – that would surely help right? Well you don’t necessarily have to possess such a tool to leverage the power of social search with that of your internet marketing strategy:
Make your keywords “social search friendly” – what keywords would you like your website to rank highly for? Do you have these keywords on ever content that you’ve shared through social media? Take a few of those keywords and focus on creating more shareable content with it. Of course don’t forget the social sharing buttons!
Make your company or business profiles keyword rich – considering the idea of social search, if someone is to make a search engine query for a certain product or service we can expect a couple of things to happen.
One is that it would give users traditional search results. Two is that it will show people under your social network who had published or shared something about that product or service. Three is that it may show company or business profiles which feature that particular product or service. Having your best keywords on such online profiles will certainly help with your SEO efforts
Seek out and nurture your social media influencers – recommendations from friends and family is without a doubt, the most effective form of advertising. Thus it pays to get to know the people who are actually sharing your content and recommending your products or services and think of them as an extension of your internet marketing campaign.
Encourage your influencers to continue doing what they do by providing them with exclusive content or sneak peeks of a significant event and in many cases, a simple “thank you” will often suffice.
Keep track of changes in social search – just like the world of online marketing, the social search landscape can be described as an ever changing and evolving process. Although we could pinpoint a couple of principles at work, these things are bound to change over time.
Where do you think social search is headed and how is it affecting your business? Is your social media and SEO strategy well integrated?