Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How Google Looks at Social Media

Last week Google announced updates to Social Search, a feature that makes it easier to view information posted or shared by the people in your social networks.

The search engines are increasingly looking to social media for cues on how to better tailor their results to the needs and interests of users. If you’re wondering how social media is impacting your organic search engine rankings, please read on.

Google is currently looking at social media in 3 main ways:

1) If a person logs into Google, the search engine might give higher priority to things his or her friends have posted or shared. This is called Social Search and it does not affect the general search results that non-logged in users see. Since this affects only personal search results, it’s not something that businesses can directly influence other than to make their content easily shareable or tweetable.

2) Google is also incorporating tweets, videos, etc. into the Universal results format. To ensure that your company has an opportunity to appear in these listings, it is important to maintain active social media accounts and to build social authority by being a trusted user. This has always been the case, and is unrelated to Google Social Search.

3) Lastly, Google and other search engines are looking at social signals and author authority as ranking factors. This involves detecting which links are becoming popularly shared and if they are being passed along by authoritative users. Again, to leverage this for SEO, businesses should make their online content easily sharable and should maintain active accounts that can help gain the attention of other authoritative/influential users.

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