Social Media is becoming a huge part of search engine results pages, and marketers who incorporate social media strategies in their SEO are starting to realize the benefits. With the addition of real-time search and social search to the growing mix of search engine technologies, marketers can enjoy exciting new ways to engage with existing customers and reach out to new ones. Here are a few of the latest developments of how search engines are updating their algorithms to integrate social media:
- Yahoo! Search Assist: Getting real-time suggestions is part of Yahoo!’s latest functionality overhaul for its existing “Search Assist” feature. Yahoo!’s autocomplete feature has long been in place to help customers conduct their searches more quickly, but with the addition of real-time search and social search, customers can now get even fresher suggestions to find the latest and most relevant content for their search. Not only are these suggestions geo-location based, they tend to reflect the latest news, culture, market trends etc., so customers always discover what’s most important and upcoming.For example, if you start a search for JetBlue, the first suggestion is related to news articles about the flight attendant who has been in the news recently. A much-shared story on social media and blogs, this illustrates the power of search engines integrating social media. Clicking on the first suggestion takes the user to results about the flight attendant, rather than directing users to JetBlue’s website.
- Yahoo! and Facebook: Yahoo!’s latest enhancement to its search engine paradigm has extensive ties to Facebook as well, meaning that people who use Yahoo! and Facebook can now link their accounts to share and view updates with friends and family across both channels. Twitter and other social media websites are next in line for these collaborative search efforts.
Although these technologies are fairly new, smart marketers are already turning to real-time search and integrated social search marketing to connect with real people and real events all across the web.
How can marketers use real time search and social search to benefit their websites?
- Use Twitter as a real-time sitemap. Casey Henry wrote Using Twitter for Increased Indexation for the Seomoz blog in which he tested using Twitter as a means of getting new web pages indexed by the search engines. His results showed a correlation between sharing links on Twitter and getting them indexed more quickly by Google. He found that creating your new post or content with internal links along with sending a tweet that gets 3 or more re-tweets will help in speeding up the time and rate at which your pages get indexed. If you take care to create interesting content & share it with your Twitter fans, using twitter can help drive traffic to your new content without waiting for the Google bots.
- Use Social Media to increase your website’s backlinks. Sending out news-worthy content on sites like Digg and reddit can generate inbound links. Also, when you send out interesting content via social networks, your audience will share that content on their own blogs, websites and social profiles.
- Use Social Media as a keyword research tool. Analyze the language used to describe your brand on social networks and use those keywords as part of your SEO strategy. If you use a social media monitoring tool like eBuzz Connect you can use it to identify common keywords.
While there isn’t yet a completely predictable formula for getting content to appear in real-time search or social search, marketers should focus on the creation of current, interesting content. Sharing that content via well-established social networks can create a positive SEO impact.
Contributed by Zaid Ramadan and Michelle Pate, Milestone Internet Marketing, Inc