Mark Zuckerberg predicted not long ago that soon all business would be ‘social’ and that Facebook would prove to be a prototype of sorts to the way that all websites and businesses worked online in the future – and it seems as though Google was listening. The web giant has been taking search in a number of new directions recently and one of the most interesting and talked about is ‘social search’ (semantic search is another big one, but that’s another article for another day). Here we will look at what that means and how to work it in your favour.
What Does Social Search Mean?
The idea behind social search is essentially that aspects of social media are integrated into the way that Google presents us with search results, and the way that webmasters get their links onto those SERPs. The biggest example has been with Google Plus Your World, in which Google has begun to show results from your Google+ circles in with the organic search results. In other words you search for ‘Lanzarote’ and you are presented with not only sites like Wikipedia and Expedia, but also images that your friends took when they were there two years ago.
As time goes on we can only expect ‘social’ and ‘search’ to be integrated further and that’s why it’s important to start preparing for that now. Here are five ways you can start doing that.
5 Things to Start Doing
Make a Google+ Page: If you don’t already have one then you should definitely have a Google+ page. Google are putting a lot of stock into Google+ even if it hasn’t quite taken off in a big way yet, and they are looking for lots of ways that they can get data from the search engine to help inform their search results. You need to be using the site if you are going to get any benefit from this and not be left behind.
Use Author Markups: Authorship markup consists of short pieces of code that tell Google who wrote an article. The idea then is to make a Google Plus profile with that name and then link your content to your Google Plus page. Now when someone sees your article they will get to see a little picture of you next to it to help the listing stand out and to lend it credibility, and by clicking on your name they’ll get to see your Google+ page and potentially find some of the other articles you’ve written too. This way you become almost a brand and people who find they like what you have to say and find more of the same.
Click +1: It is also worth sharing your own content when you get the chance by clicking +1. If you see your link in the search results then plus one it, and encourage others that you know to do the same. You’ll get exposure this ay among your circles on Google+ immediately, but at the same time it’s also likely that Google is going to start looking at this data in the same way it looks at links from other sites – as testimonials that give your pages more clout in the SERPs.
Build a Network: You can also get people to find your content that’s now linked to your site by simply making sure that you have lots of people in your circles. This way when you share your articles to your Google+ page they will be likely to be shared by many more people and to find their way into other people’s ‘Your World’ searches and their Google Plus feeds. Spend time promoting your page, and be sure to be active on the network.
Don’t Forget the Other Networks: Sure social search is being spearheaded by Google and is involving Google+ primarily. However Google has worked with Twitter in the past for its real-time search, and with so much data on other social networks like Facebook It’s unlikely that that won’t go to use in some kind of search utility in the future. And besides, since the Panda update Google has been placing a lot more importance on links from social networks, so in short it’s important to ensure that you start to think of social media marketing and SEO as two sides of the same coin, and to put effort into all aspects of crafting your online presence.