Google, ever interested in staying ahead of the game of tying people and information together on the Internet, created Google Social Search.
Google Social Search allows individual people to tie all of their places on Google and other networks together, creating both close and extended friends and contacts lists. This has presented an entire new galaxy of challenges for search engine optimization professionals to penetrate and reach these new social search circles. Google Social Search means users with ALL types of social accounts, from Twitter to picture sharing services, can bring everything together under one umbrella and be able to share it with a set circle of friends and extended friends of friends.
Because Google Social Search ties together so many disparate users into new, larger groups, when one person in a group gives a referral to another member in that group, the referral shoots up in a search results listing because it is a definitive referral made by a person, not a referral generated by a search engine. In this case, people and personal referrals trump electronic referrals because it was intentionally made. In the Google Social Search world, the value of that referral makes this referral much more important for future searches and higher search engine rankings.
This provides the challenge for SEO professionals – find a way to have more Google Social Search users make explicit referrals, upping rankings in search engines, and overcome competition.
Google Social Search SEO makes it easier for smaller companies with new web sites to compete with larger, more established web sites which staked out key words and references long ago. Any reference to a site, via a tweet or any other reference from one social circle member to another increases ranking for a site for everyone on that social circle network. A communique between two people – no matter how brief or obscure – suddenly vaunts a site upward in rankings to the entire social circle, which could be three people or literally thousands, depending on the size of the circle. The possibilities are endless as Google Social Search becomes widely accepted and used.
– Google+ is the gateway to all of this; Google’s version of a social site may not be as large as Facebook or other similar sites, but, it’s growing, and Google will make sure it has the muscle to be a contender. Google + results are an automatic part of search results, so make sure your SEO plan includes Google+.
– You’re accustomed to posting articles in all of the usual places to draw search engine attention, now, include social media for posting places. Google+, LinkedIn, and other are all the places to be posting articles.
– Since social media is, well, social, put a new emphasis on building relationships and increasing followers for social sites. Everything written or shared can pop up in followers’ search results – including followers who are not members of the distinctive social site where the link was shared. These steps now, as stated above, will have a huge advantage down the road on search results, building rankings early. Body count is important; the more followers, the more activity, the better rankings. Think of clever ways to want people to follow you, through some sort of reward for following (give away something that costs nothing, but has value) or other methods. Just keep building the body count; bodies turn into rankings which turn into SEO results which create happy clients.
– Think strongly about creating content which can be shared. Shared content through endorsements or other methods is now more important than ever with social circles, because once someone shares content, with social circles, the sharer’s entire network may see the post by searching for relevant material in Google Social Search. This goes back to the premise of one person sharing with another person is stronger than just generating search results. People trump electronic results, which create higher rankings.
– You’re accustomed to adding Facebook and other buttons to everything you do, now, add Google +1 buttons, too.
– As Google changes the way we see search results, we can now also see who the author of an article is; if someone likes what they read, they can return to the search engine results page and see “More by (this author)” and that author’s catalog of work. But, you’ve go to tell Google you are the clever and wise person who wrote the piece that is so admired. Do this by adding “Rel=author” and “Rel=me” tags to link the work to your name. This adds credibility and makes it easy for people to use the results more, and, obviously, to increase rankings.
– Don’t leave Pinterest out of your plans. This relatively new social site has strong SEO power, already sends nearly as much referral traffic as Twitter. Google now crawls pins and boards, too. Optimize pins for relevant search keywords, and further optimize for Pinterest searches by hashtagging relevant keywords on each pin.
– Now that you’re making Pinterest part of your plan, add a “Pin it” and a StumbleUpon button to your sites, too. StumbleUpon is second only to Facebook in terms of referral traffic.
Social networking has exploded, and continues to build momentum to a point where some have wondered for it is replacing traditional SEO plans and practices. Social networking is not a replacement, but an addition to the traditional Internet. Search engine optimization as we know it today will continue, but, if you’re not taking a close look at the social network explosion, you’re leaving your clients out in the cold with only half of a plan.