Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Socialization Of SEO

Posted by Leah Ludwig

My colleague, Gina Rubel, shared a very interesting article with me recently about social media and its affect on search marketing. The article from discussed how and why a huge social reach is now playing a key role as a competitive advantage in search engine optimization.

In his post, blog author Rand Fishkin discusses how for many years the best way to gain rankings in search results was to have accessible pages featuring quality content and targeting the right keywords – in a way that naturally earned external links. You can reference other organic SEO tips in a previous ThePRLawyer blog post. These tips are still very much the same, but there is a new game changer, or shall we call it an “x-factor,” thrown into the mix. Fishkin’s blog goes on to outline how search engine results are now being altered and how this is an eye-opener for search engine marketers.

This is how it works. If you are logged in to a Google account and have social media profiles that you actively engage, you will notice images from your social media network in your search results demonstrating what links and search terms your social media contacts have shared, liked, retweeted, talked about, etc. Try it out. Do a Google search while not logged in to your Google account and then try it while being logged in. There is definitely a difference. I captured my own searches to demonstrate just how it works.

Have you noticed this in your own searches? Harnessing the power of a network and growing a social media circle can really effect and benefit search engine optimization. Fishkin said, “Not only is Google annotating the listing with a photo, creating social proof and certainly increasing click-through-rate, they're also biasing to put these results on page one that might normally rank in utter obscurity. This isn't just true for obscure, random searches either, nor is it exclusive to [only the social network feed of] Twitter.”

As a side note, since these blogs were posted it seems that Google has shut down its real-time search deal with Twitter. You may only see older Twitter shares in your Google searches, but nothing after July 2, 2011 – for now.

I also got some insider feedback from our in-house search engine marketing guru, Laura Powers. She says, "If you’re working to market a product, service or brand, there’s now a direct incentive to build your online social network as large as possible among all of your target audiences. The socialization of search is more than just working within the platforms of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., it's about your social circle becoming more aware of your engagement in their search results and the power you have to influence those results.”

These new developments really demonstrate how a huge social media reach is acting as a competitive advantage in SEO. If you haven’t already, it is time to get on board and begin to proactively engage social media.

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