The Changing Face Of SEO

We have known for some time that search engines love social media. They see our Facebook and twitter accounts and the activity and interactions on them as strong “social signals” that validate the website domain connected to social media pages.

The undeniable SEO boost to page rank has been just an added benefit for businesses, but is the SEO benefit going to increase in 2013? Many social networking analysts and data scientists think it will, and here is why:

  • There is still a lot of guess work for search engines like Google because they operate on implicit data.  By implicit we mean a lot of the results served up by the search engine are guess work because the user(s), are anonymous to them
  • If you start searching while logged into your social media page however you are no longer anonymous.  Facebook knows your “Likes” and “Wants” and therefore has a much better idea of who you are and therefore what content to give you from the keywords you have used.
  • In other words, social media has explicit knowledge about you and has the potential to be a far better search engine than Google could ever be.

So it seems the direction that search engine optimisation is most definitely headed is with social sites that contain a depth of data about the individual.

Is this nirvana for the search engine marketer? Search combined with social media does serve up content that is very precise, person-specific, and targeted at the individual. 

How should businesses respond?

It just means what we already know is coming into sharper focus, but here are some things to remember:

  • If you haven’t got Google’s authorship rank yet definitely get it.  Google has said it will rank pages higher for authors that verify their identity with them.
  • Be active on your social media accounts and don’t let them starve of fresh content.  Activity on your social pages and website is being measured and more activity is seen as more relevant, so update your twitter feed regularly and join more Google + Circles
  • Provide the right content marketing mix of video, pictures, info graphics appropriate for your audience.  Chunks of information that are easily digestible are best as people don’t the have time to read much anymore.
  • Try podcasting your content to find a new mobile audience.
  • Make sure you website is mobile friendly and responsive to different screen resolutions.  Social media sites are increasingly accessed by people on the move so having your website looking good on an iPhone is no longer a luxury but an essential requirement.

Social media is changing SEO because of the interaction between your top level domain and your social media satellite pages (these are being monitored and given an increasingly important weight by search engines).  An added driver for this is geo-location data that comes with social media so marketers can hone in on the individual and serve up the most relevant content for the keywords entered into search engines.  Increasingly the intent behind keywords is being uncovered by connecting the world of search and social media. 

Could Google and Facebook really be the high profile marriage of 2013?