The two biggest players in search – Google and Bing – have officially confirmed that social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook, are used in their ranking algorithms. The real game changer is that social media’s influence is no longer limited to just social search, but is now affecting ALL search queries. Search engines are determining social media’s influence for each specific query by evaluating the context of links shared on both Facebook and Twitter. Social media’s level of influence is determined in two forms: the amount of times a specific URL/link has been shared and the quality of authors sharing a specific URL/link.
Danny Sullivan, search marketer, outlines the specific changes in his recent interview with representatives from Google and Bing.
How does this apply to you?
. . . It really depends on the nature of your company. The search engine / online market environment for every website is different. Social media may be hot topic right now, but it’s not required that everyone should just jump right in. However, I can suggest that everyone at least consider it. If your website is involves in e-commerce and hasn’t gotten involved, I strongly believe you are missing an opportunity. To make an informed decision on your involvement listen to the conversation going on. If there is talk about your brand or services, it is time to get involved.
The opinions of those we call friends are important to our decision making. Google and Bing want to integrate the recommendations (in the form of sharing a link) made by our friends to bolster their users’ experiences. The influence of web-users and what they view as important will only become more relevant to search engine rankings. The belated confirmation of social media’s influence is only the drizzle at the beginning of the inevitable storm. CNN predicts the severity of this oncoming storm in its new article, “Why Your Facebook ID is the Marketers’ Holy Grail”.