Google’s Social Search Update & How It Affects You

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I detail Google's Social modifications in the SERPs in which Google hints that SEO companies should embrace social, and social folks should embrace SEO.

# Full Post

I detail Google’s 2/17 modifications to their Social Search results. Per Google, relevance isn’t just about pages—it’s also about relationships. This means that SEO companies need to embrace social media, and social media companies need to embrace SEO. But will they?

Now, I’m about 6 days behind this release, but I really feel that it is my duty to alert my readers (if you haven’t already read it) about Google’s 2/17 update to their social search functionality, which was originally launched in 2009.

What does this mean for you? You’ll be seeing more social media in your search results, and you’d better start to take to heart the idea of using social media outlets like Twitter to build relationships – not just as a platform to push your marketing message.

What does this mean for me? If you’re an SEO like me, you’d better start learning social media (if you haven’t already). If you’re a social media person, you’d better start learning SEO (if you haven’t already). The line between the two professions is muddier than ever, and the search results began confirming that fact a long time ago.

Some quotes from Google:

[su_quote]As always, we want to help you find the most relevant answers among the billions of interconnected pages on the web. But relevance isn’t just about pages—it’s also about relationships.[/su_quote]

This means that not only must you have an engaging (and well-optimized) web presence that people trust, but you must begin to leverage (if you haven’t already) social media outlets as a means to cross-promote that web presence. This is more than putting a social media button on your site. It means actively making connections with your consumer base and having meaningful and personal interactions that satisfy that group.

How will it look compared to the last version?

Here’s what Google had to say on the differences from the last version of Social Search:

[su_quote]Social search results will now be mixed throughout your results based on their relevance (in the past they only appeared at the bottom). This means you’ll start seeing more from people like co-workers and friends, with annotations below the results they’ve shared or created… Social search results can rank anywhere on the page, and you’ll see who shared the result in the annotation underneath.[/su_quote]

Google Social Search Example

How Will It Be Integrated Differently?

Google goes on to explain how they’ll integrate social sharing information in relation to links in SERP results:

[su_quote]We’ve made Social Search more comprehensive by adding notes for links people have shared on Twitter and other sites. In the past, we’d show you results people created and linked through their Google profiles. Now, if someone you’re connected to has publicly shared a link, we may show that link in your results with a clear annotation (which is visible only to you, and only when you’re signed in)… Now Social Search includes links people share on Twitter and other services.[/su_quote]

Google Social Search Example

In addition, they’ve made connecting accounts more manageable. You’re still allowed to connect accounts publicly in your Google profile, but you can also connect them privately which is nice if you don’t want your business shared all over Google.

Google Social Search Example

Google made a snappy little video about the update:

[youtube id=”4hAgiIXuNbs”]

It all points to the continued emphasis on real-time search so users can see what is relevant right now. Here’s what I am left wondering. When will they let you share a link right through the search results? This could be a nice way to play nice with Twitter and other social media outlets for the good of them all – and maybe the good of us too? I guess we will just have to wait and see.

In the end, all this means is if you weren’t engaged in social media before you need to be now in order to remain competitive. If you “get it” with social media, then this is nothing new. If you’re still trying to understand how social media can impact your web presence, then this may seems like a big mountain that you’ll have to climb quickly.

Here’s some quick tips:

  1. Get that Twitter account and/or Facebook page up and running!
  2. Cross-promote your website through your social media accounts and your social media accounts through your website.
  3. Be interesting and engaging.
  4. Focus on how you can help your consumer group and not how they can help you.
  5. Make it easy to share your stuff: Twitter and Facebook have lots of sharing plugins.

Hope you enjoy and have a great day!

Image credit: Wallpaper 4 Me

Jacob Stoops

Jacob Stoops

Long-time SEO and podcast host. Senior Manager at Search Discovery. Husband. Dad. Mob movie aficionado. @jacobstoops