(This material was recently presented at the Marketing Association‘s Certificate of Direct Marketing course)
It’s a special year for search and social: they’re getting married.
Well, maybe that’s not true. Maybe they’ve been shacked up for a while, but search engine optimisation and social media have never been so closely intertwined.
But first, some background.
Beginnings of the SEO industry
In the beginning, there was search. It’s easy to forget now how revolutionary it was to be able to search for – and usually find – any information we wanted.
However, it was possible to game the system to get your website ranked higher. This led to the SEO industry being born, and marketers were forced to trust SEO practitioners with a very important part of their brand – their online presence and visibility.
Database of Intentions
What search gave marketers was what John Batelle calls the “database of intentions” – previously marketers could only learn from responses to communications, or surveys. Now we could see what people were going to do in the future.
Batelle has a great summary of “database of intentions”, and how it has evolved over time.
As you can see, what began with search evolved into social, and a fuller, richer picture of the customer emerged.
That’s great for business, but what about the consumers? Are they able to find what they need?
Give them what they need
That’s one of Google’s top priorities, so Google has been in an arms race with “black hat” SEO operators who try to game the system.
Arguably, Google is getting closer to its goal of simply delivering you, the user, what you’re looking for. And for content developers, that should also be simpler – no extra tricks or hacks required.
Google’s recent development called “Search Plus Your World” just made social a lot more important. This post explains the details, but in a nutshell, when you search, you’ll see:
- Public results (the type you’d see anyway)
- Private results (things from your own Google+ or Picasa accounts, or items that have been privately shared with you)
- Personalised results based on your search history
- Social results from Google+ – and only Google+
(There’s some controversy over this. Google says it can’t bring in results from Facebook or Twitter, but engineers from those companies are crying foul)
What does this mean?
- Google+ is really important for getting seen in search results
- It’s harder to reach total strangers; instead, personal/social connections will play a much bigger role
- If in doubt, create content that a) tells a good story, b) gives people a reason to pass it on and share with others
Search Plus Your World is only available in some countries (not including New Zealand). If you’ve had a chance to use it, what’s your feedback? If you’re in the SEO business, what’s your view on the future of the SEO industry?
今年是社会化媒体领域特殊的一年：搜索引擎和社交网络终结连理。从来没有像今天一样，搜索引擎优化（search engine optimisation）和社会化媒体联系的这么紧密。
人类意图资料库（Database of Intentions）
谷歌最近开发的”Search Plus Your World”将搜索引擎完全社会化（具体参见http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z9TTBxarbs），通过使用Google搜索时你会发现：
- Google+ 即将成为搜索结果的来源。
Search Plus Your World现在只在一些国家进行测试，如果你有机会参与内测，你的反馈是什么呢？如果你是做搜索引擎优化的企业，你觉得该行业的未来会有什么改变呢？