OK, OK, maybe it stopped working a while ago. Maybe you thought it stopped working when Google debuted Universal Search. Or maybe you thought it stopped working when Bing hooked up with Facebook. But if you were hanging on and saying, "Google doesn't personalize THAT many results," then this wakeup call is for you. If you think nothing matters until Google does it, well, Google did it. Those social results that hung around at the bottom of the page that most people didn't look at? Google is now saying that what your friends think will change the ranking of organic search. Game on.

Why is Google doing this? As with most big changes, there isn't just one reason:

  • It works better. I know it sounds simple, but some things are. Google has undoubtedly tested this to death and they must be persuaded that the results are improved.
  • Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

    Image via CrunchBase

  • To match Bing. While the charges have been flying about which search engine is copying the other, the truth is that Bing's deal with Facebook had to annoy the good geeks at Google. They wanted to fire back with a "me too" that shows they "get" social.
  • To pressure Facebook. Because Bing locked up all that juicy Facebook data, Google is using everything else it has. Wil this put Facebook in a position where they are left out of social search on the biggest engine of all? I don't know if that will force facebook to be more open and share data more equitably, but it's worth a try on the part of Google.
  • To fight spam. This one might sound a bit odd, but spamming is an arms race and every time the algorithm changes it provides and advantage to the search engine, because spammers must now have to figure out how to spam your friends. This one sounds a bit too tough fo rme, but the spammers always seem to rise to the occasion.

If you've been sitting on the sidelines thinking that you could ignore social until it goes away, you're running the risk that Google will ignore you until you go away.

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February 21, 2011





Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.

Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.






Comments(6)

Google's incorporation of social media into their search results should be a wakeup call to businesses. It's not enough to just have the Twitter or LinkedIn profile, now you have to actually do something with it! This is one more chance to get your brand into a high ranking spot of the search results, especially if a social networking post goes viral.

Not quite sure who was still ignoring social media up to this time, and if there are such people if it is worth waking them up :) It was obvious that its here to stay an grow for years to come looong time ago.

Good point made.

I agree with you Mike. Social Media can no longer be ignored by anyone - small or large business - and most of the time, they dont even do it correctly - just having an account is not enough.

I believe the time of the Social Media Specialist is NOW. and companies need to outsource this task to professionals in the business.

The bottom line is social media is a newer channel of communication and just another way of communicating with customers and employees. It may suggests community is the ultimate goal, which must be created and nurtured over time.

Content --> People --> Community --> ?
Community is definitely the buzz word right now and the reach of people has increased and so has the sphere of influence.
The best marketing technique has always been the word of mouth or to say "Voice of Customer". Social media amplifies the 'voice' and thus makes it a powerful medium to generate influence.

I guess the next revolution that we are already seeing grow is Mobile, which will leverage "personalization".

Urgh!!!! I have been trying to ignore it. Ok, I guess I'll have to get on board. Yes, I am the one you were talking about.

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