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There’s no secret in the SEO world that many of us suspect that the reason why Google has been pushing Google+ so aggressively.
It isn’t just to build its own successful social network, but also to gain access to data on what content and websites are being shared socially as this could be a great addition to their search algorithm.
You have to have been living below a rock the last year to have missed out on studies which have suggested volume of shares on Facebook and Twitter having a correlation with high rankings.
There might not be causation there yet, but that certainly seems the direction we’re heading in, with social signals becoming a ranking factor.
Here are five reasons why Google+ is already finding this data more useful than the Twitter Firehose...
We asked a number of SEO experts whether the intiial 'frenzy' around social search last year was justified, and what developments they think will be significant in future.
As Facebook becomes an increasingly important commerce platform, brands are starting to direct users straight to their pages on the site.
Unfortunately it can be difficult to get Facebook pages to appear in the SERPs, even for larger household names.
I thought it would be useful to take a quick look at a few Facebook Page optimisation techniques, and some of the more common SEO problems on the site...
Despite the potential for search engines to leverage data culled from popular social networking hubs like Facebook and Twitter, it's still unclear what social's long-term role in search will be.
When it comes to Bing, however, one thing is clear: Microsoft 'likes' Facebook.
It had to happen. The search behemoth has revealed plans to roll out ‘+1’, the Google equivalent of Facebook's ‘Like’ button.
Google’s intentions are clear. It wants to work social signals into its algorithm to a) reduce spam, and b) deliver increasingly personalised results.
The +1 button will appear alongside search results and – in time - on websites.
To coincide with the release of Econsultancy’s Paid Search Agencies Buyer’s Guide this week, I’ve been talking to some leading UK search agency experts about what 2011 holds for the sector.
I’ve no doubt that paid search is going to become sexy again – we’ve seen PPC products and technologies emerging such as Google’s location-based ads, Product Listings, Extensions and Sitelinks.
Additionally, Bing and Yahoo! continue to challenge Google, while new opportunities for paid search are becoming apparent, ranging from mobile through to social media.
It looks to be an exciting year ahead for what some marketers regard as a stale channel, despite its effectiveness and accountability. But what do those on the frontline think?
Few search experts doubt that social media will have some impact on the SERPs in the future, but up until now, it hasn't been very clear that search engines like Google and Bing quite know the best way to integrate social content and signals into their algorithms and UIs.
But if several changes spotted in the wild on Google News results are any indication, they're increasing their rates of experimentation.
Many expect that search engines will eventually incorporate signals from the realm of social media into the SERPs. There's good reason to believe this: both Google and Microsoft have, for instance, already signed deals with Twitter to access the company's firehose.
But if Bing Social, "the first search experience" based on both the Twitter and Facebook firehoses, is any indication, social search is going to have an uphill battle.
For a while now people have been speculating whether ‘social media’ sites, in particular Twitter, pose a threat to Google search as people increasingly choose to ask their network for help rather than search.
I can see this happening in a small way but it is certainly nothing like a Google killer.
However, based in part on our own experience, I have been wondering increasingly how social media could impact negatively on paid search spend, which might be some cause for concern at the search engines?
In the battle to conquer real-time search, Google has drawn a line in the sand. The search giant today went live with its Social Search feature, which adds relevant results from users' social graph. But one thing is noticeably absent from those results — Facebook content.
Because so much of Facebook's information is private, Google cannot access it. For a social network trying to plant its flag as the curator of personal content online, that could be a problem.
Can search be crowdsourced? It's a question that Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, set out to answer when his for-profit company Wikia launched Wikia Search.
Wikia Search, which we reviewed here on the Econsultancy blog when it launched, tried to give users the ability to edit search results in much the same fashion that users can edit pages on Wikipedia.
Is Twitter a search engine? It's a question a lot of people are asking, myself included.
I signed up for Twitter at the beginning of the year and even though I'm not a hardcore user and only have a modest 'following' of around 225 people, I do like the service. I've found it to be very useful in staying on top of industry trends and seeing what interesting people are talking about.