By Andrea Freygang
What is social search? Social search brings you results based on your network’s recommendation. It also means that items mentioned more in blogs, social media and other online outlets will rank higher. SEO (search engine optimization) is still important but is fading as Google races to keep up with social media which has clearly fascinated the masses over the last couple of years.
SEO works on the premise that more content with targeted words will drive traffic online. While that is true to an extent, if the content is poor quality, Google’s algorithms will pick that up. Google has been working to weed out poor content, and earlier this year, shifted rankings on many sites due to high levels of SEO targeted writing with little value or traffic. SEO is still important in keeping you site up at the top of the rankings for your targeted keywords, but abuse of the system is catching up to people with Google’s changes in the algorithm.
And it was these SEO changes that led to the influence of social media and the social sphere on how Google indexes content. For example, let’s say you own a car dealership and you fill your blog and subdomains up with content on cars. Very keyword heavy, but it doesn’t offer value and even if you post every day, doesn’t improve your rankings in Google search. Now lets say we downgrade the frequency and increase the quality and really begin to have a conversation with your readers, people began sharing your writing on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn and your rankings will increase exponentially.
Why? Because Google now sees the second option as having more value because other people found it had value. This content must be quality or relevant because the social stratosphere is sharing it. You are also more likely to find content written by someone you know because Google has made attempts to track these connections as well.
See all their algorithm changes here in a recent blog post: http://googlesocialweb.blogspot.com/2011/05/social-search-goes-global.html.
You can also see a YouTube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hAgiIXuNbs&feature=player_embedded.
This is all important because your customers (especially down here in busy South Florida where I am) are going online to find you. They are searchign on their iPhones, iPads, Blackberries and Androids and a multitude of other gadgets for the best places to eat, shop, get their oil changed. And this is a huge opportunity for small businesses, and most can begin to see an influence with only a couple of hours a week of using online marketing tools.
By positioning yourself to be found via social search, you are reaching a whole new market. Even if you haven’t been using these tools because you are still a little weary, it’s time to learn or let someone else you trust manage it for you. Most businesses who actively engage in social media see an increase in sales. By preparing good content and sharing it across your network, you increase the likelihood of your business being found.
As a special thanks to one of the best social media marketing blogs out there for the inspiration for this article, visit this article for some great tips on how to prepare for social search: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/3-ways-to-prepare-your-business-for-social-search/.