Social Signs Signaling Relevance In Search

by , Aug 13, 2012, 11:56 AM
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Similar to Google's announcement Friday that it would downgrade sites with a high number of copyright takedown notices, the engine continues to focus more on what people share, copy and download.

Online search agencies and their clients may notice the impact that recommendations contribute to paid and organic search results. A couple of years ago Google began incorporating social signals into listings on organic search query result pages. Facebook likes, Twitter tweets and the overall act of sharing content became a small part of the ranking algorithm. While likes and tweets have waned in importance, during the past several months sharing a conversation or a piece of content continues to grow.

Look closer at how Google pushes social into sitelinks. Businesses with Google+ pages can link directly from the search engine results page the number of followers and viewers who have +1'd the page. For example, when searching for an online business degree, the sitelinks under the business name in the query results note that 179 people +1'd the page or follow Walden University on Google+.

In a recent post I explain how pushing rather than pulling of information by people searching for information will make recommendations more important. MediaWhiz SVP of Digital Strategy Adam Riff said agencies who can gain a "recommendation" line on paid-search ads can increase click-through rates. It's not just extra copy, he said, but rather verification that others saw and like the page or ideas that represent the company's content.

For search engine optimization, since Google's algorithms track sharing activity, the brands can gain negative or positive results in rankings based on recommendations. Riff agrees that it makes sense to run an integrated media campaign around a product launch or announcement in advance of the introduction to gain social recommendations based on specific keywords.

"If you can get enough people sharing the content relevant to the keywords 'digital camera,' the client's brand can start ranking higher for those words," Riff said.

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