Last week I was involved in a conversation over at the Webtrends blog about Google’s announcement that they’ll be integrating social media into their search results. I made a comment about how people with big tribes win:
Let me explain what I mean.
Back in the old days, before the Internet was prevalant, when people wanted an expert opinion on something, they asked around until they found the phone number for someone who was a recognized expert. Their immediate contacts allowed them to reach out until they could find what they needed.
Fast forward to recent years, when most people go online to look for an expert opinion. The problem with that has been that the search engines haven’t had many ways to separate the expert content on the Web from the content created by the average blogger. It was relatively easy for new bloggers to establish themselves as authorities in a field and dominate the search results.
Then social media came along, allowing established experts in various fields to grow their own following.
Now that Google and Bing have announced that they will begin incorporating social media content into their search results, this creates an enormous opportunity for established experts in all fields. For those business owners who have an established and growing online following, this could mean the expansion of their credentials and client base.
What will you do with this opportunity? Have you educated yourself on Search Engine Optimization yet?
Social Search Optimization
Initially, as Bing and Google start to roll out this new element of search, the average user won’t notice much difference. Users who are logged in to a Google account, however, will start to see social media content related to a search topic showing up at the bottom of the first page of their search results. That content will be generated by people in their immediate social network (i.e. people you follow on Twitter or your friends on Facebook).
At the outset, the results won’t be very good, and it will be easy to spam. To counteract this, Google will release this feature only to registered users in the beginning.
As time passes, however, and the search engines gather more data, this social media content will start appearing on regular search results. This will happen fairly soon, probably not more than a couple of years from now.
How can you take advantage of this now so that you are positioned to show up when Social Search spreads wide? Here are some examples:
Start a blog: Even if you just post once per week, create a blog that you can consistently post content to, and connect that to your website. Talk about your business, your industry as a whole, and share useful information about what you do. It helps you build thought leadership and improves your search engine results.
Experiment with Twitter, Facebook, and other social media: With over 300 million users and counting, Facebook has people who are interested in your organization. Fan pages are becoming major tools for doing business. Become a fan of NetBiz.com on Facebook. Before you hire a social media consultant to create all of your accounts for you, go online and play around. Learn how it all works. There are no social media experts out there right now. The industry is so very new, so try doing it yourself for a while!
Learn the basics of Search Engine Optimization: As you do this, you will start to learn how the Internet really works, which can only be an advantage to your business.