Social Search Optimisation
Its official: Social Networking is no longer just a fad. But don’t take my word for it, the numbers speak for themselves.
Many websites have implemented relevant social network platforms to accompany their websites presence as it provides a new source of traffic, increases relevancy and personalized search. Search engines have also created strategies (with new algorithms) that not only address the significance and popularity of social networking but also help them remain relevant in the search sphere.
New vs. Old Search
Social network sites provide a new and easy channel to potential clients that could not be offered by traditional search. Social networks also offer ‘feeds’ where content is pushed to the subscriber rather than in traditional search where content is searched for by the user (intent is on the user and has potential of driving high volumes of traffic as search rank improves).
Examples include Twitter feeds and other tools such as Facebook Like Buttons where users have opted their platforms (Twitter or Facebook – community pages) to receive the latest, ‘direct’ feeds from a trusted sources. Direct and trusted search sources may include friends or other people they may follow such as celebrities, gurus in a industry or thought leaders. Once an individual 'Likes' or 'Follows' your page, they gain access to your feeds automatically (newly updated content).
You may have seen that search engines such as Google have reacted to the rise of social networking by creating the ‘updates’ option for search and Buzz.
What does this all mean?
Because social networking is instant this means that links are indexed faster so that users receive fresh content instantly. This content is shared over the web faster and linked to other user content/friends/groups/pages which inevitably has an impact on search ranking.
Content shared, with a mixture of traditional SEO aspects such as Meta Data, Hyperlinked text and well-tagged keywords, promotes optimised content online (example below).
In addition, search results on platforms such Facebook show search results in the following sequence:
- Previously liked/member pages or groups.
- Items liked by your friends.
- Other most liked content.
- Web results from Bing.
This ultimately makes what you and your friends share more important than web results on these platforms.
What we should do
- Install social buttons: this will help facilitate social referrals by making the buttons available on your site content for visitors to share the content.
- Create SEO friendly content: this will make sure that when it is shared on social platforms, it is optimised for the search engines.
- Use targeted keywords: when writing titles of articles to be shared, use targeted keywords on your Title and Description that will make your content easy to be found through search. This is because Facebook and other Twitter applications automatically grab Meta descriptions and titles of content and these need to be optimised.
- Regular updates: make sure that you stay relevant and post fresh content for the web regularly to increase traffic and increase search indexed content.
Reference: Gigya, “Social, SEO and the Open Graph: What To Do Now” (2010) .