Social Evolution of SEO: Search Results Influenced by Your Social Network

For all those SEO fanatics, you know that for years the best way to acquire organic rankings in search results was to have pages containing quality content and targeting the right keywords to earn external links. Social media is changing all that. Let’s call it…the Social Evolution of SEO.

For many of us, our social media experience began with reconnecting with high school or college friends on Facebook, friending our favorite band on MySpace (Pearl Jam), or sharing on Twitter (“Go Mavs! Dallas takes home the NBA Championship!”). Now social media and search engines are harnessing that data, and serving it up to you in useful and relevant ways (hopefully). This is the best way to “connect” with current and potential customers on a personal level.

Take the Google +1 product, for example. You can get recommendations of things you are looking for in your search results. But wait, it gets better. These suggestions, or “stamp of approvals”, come from friends, contacts, and others on the web. The way this works is if you search for “Sushi Restaurant”, you’ll get sushi-relevant posts from people you are socially connected to that normally wouldn’t rank on page 1. Google annotates the listing with a photo of your connection for “social proof”. Of course, you can see this only if you are logged in to your Google account.

If people claim their profiles and use their logged-in accounts to search, the reach of your social network and the sharing you do on those networks will have a huge impact on your search traffic. In other words, it’s about influencing your social bubble to see your recommendations on THEIR search results. So having a big social reach is an advantage in SEO. We can’t ignore the rapid growth of social connections as an SEO strategy for current and prospective clients. It should be an interesting year in search.