How You Can Use Social Search To Your Advantage

by Desiree Baughman on January 12, 2013

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Social SearchAnyone who’s even been remotely involved in online marketing knows full well how search engine optimization (SEO) works.

SEO can essentially be defined by two things:

  • Relevancy (choosing and incorporating the “right” keywords for a piece of content)
  • Authority (the type and number of sites that are linking to your content)

But search engines have been getting smarter. Since the dawn of social media, search engines like Google have been looking for ways to incorporate any sort of social media context into their search results. And so the term “social search” was born.

What is Social Search?

The term “social search” is generally used to describe how a search engine factor’s in a user’s social graph (or social network activity) into search results and how those results are displayed after a search query is entered. So if you have certain content that you wrote or posted or shared to your Facebook or Twitter page, for example, Google could then somehow take that content you posted and use it to ensure that its search results display the most relevant content for you.

If you want to see social search in action, try out Google’s “Google Plus Your World”. This new function marries Google search results with a users Google Plus social media network. Any content that has been shared on social media, or that has received a +1 by anyone in your Google network, will be “prioritized” and rank higher in search results.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has also shown clear interest in launching a social search engine, which is not surprising since Facebook reportedly handles almost 1 billion search queries every single day (WebProNews, 2012). As he said earlier this fall, “Search engines are really evolving towards giving you a set of answers… like, I have a specific question, answer this question for me. And when you think about it from that perspective, Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer a lot of the questions that people have”.

Integrating Your SEO And Social Media Strategy

The moral of the story here is that we all have to stop looking at our SEO tactics and our social media strategies as two separate entities. As each day passes, these two are becoming more and more reliant on one another, and we’ve got the tips now to help you stay ahead of the game. Here’s where you should start:

1. Invest In A Fully Integrated Marketing Platform

The best thing that you can do for your inbound marketing strategy is to invest in a great inbound marketing platform which will link your social media up to your SEO. Being Certified HubSpot Partners, we encourage that our clients use HubSpot inbound marketing software as it’s proven to be reliable and profitable, but if you’re not sure if HubSpot’s right for you, check out our free eBook “The Essential Guide For Mastering HubSpot” which explains exactly how HubSpot can help your business, and if it’s right for you.

2. Look At Your Keywords And Content

Start this process off by looking at your content and your keywords, and seeing where there’s any overlap. For example, is there one blog entry that has both been shared a lot on social media and that has a high ranking in Google? If so, work on optimizing that content.

Your social media profiles also need to be keyword rich, as that too can increase your ranking. For example, if you go to Bing and enter in a certain keyword query, Bing will show you any friends who have written or shared content related to that keyword, as well as show you “People Who Know” search results. If your profile includes that keyword, then you may show up in the “People Who Know” section of search results.

3. Recruit Your Social Media Influences

Recommendations from our peers are far more valuable than any other form of marketing or advertising. Nielsen Research proves this with their recent study that has shown that 92% of global consumers will trust recommendations that come from their friends and family above any piece of advertising (Nielsen, 2012). This means that you need to:

- Locate your influencers: Look for who’s sharing your content on a regular basis and who engages with your brand
- Encourage and nurture your influencers: Thank your influencers for their help, such as providing them with special product launches – but make sure that you don’t frame this in such a way that you’re giving them gifts for promoting your company

4. Keep Your Finger On The Pulse

Social search is still continuing to develop and change, so don’t rule anything out. For example, in the opinion of many, Google+ was a complete bust, but don’t write it off just yet. Remember that this social media site is the product of the biggest search engine company in the world and that using it and optimizing it can work in your favour.

5. Continue To Produce Great Content 

Above all else, remember that the content that you produce is what is going to get you ahead in those search results. Our free eBook “How To Be The King Of Content Marketing” can provide you with a number of tips and strategies on how you can produce fantastic, optimized content that will get you more shares and get you a higher rank in Google than you ever thought possible.

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