Getting Ready for Social Search

get ready forsocial searchSocial search is the now the latest trend in the ever evolving world of search engines. You may won­der if it really affects your website’s search engine rank­ings. The answer is yes, it does. But first…

What is this new search phenomenon?

Basic­ally, it’s all about get­ting more per­son­al­ised search res­ults using people’s social activ­it­ies and connections.

Google has now incor­por­ated the social side of res­ults whenever you search while logged in to your Google account; ini­tially, social search on Google which was launched way back in 2009 was optional. if you search for ‘hotels in Lon­don’ on Google (while logged in) you’ll get the reg­u­lar search res­ults blen­ded in with the activ­it­ies of your social circle of friends. For instance, if a friend blogged about the same term in your search query, the blog post will appear as among the top results.

Google’s Social Search: In the begin­ning there was twit­ter, Quora and Flickr

Google star­ted their social search with Twit­ter, Quora and Flickr, later adding Google Plus posts rel­ev­ant to the search query. The activ­it­ies of your con­nec­tions on these sites, are integ­rated in such a way that when you get a rel­ev­ant web page and they happened to share it, you’ll get the mes­sage ‘YourFriend Joe’ shared this on Twit­ter. Your social con­nec­tions also include the list of people on your Gmail contacts.

Social Search Effectiveness

For a broader vari­ety of search res­ults, your Google pro­file has to be linked to many social net­works. If you link your pro­file to Face­book, Twit­ter, LinkedIn and more, it means that your net­work of friends on the web is much more expans­ive. What they do on the major social net­works: shar­ing, book­mark­ing, or blog­ging influ­ences the res­ults you’ll get. This new method is designed to give you more ‘trus­ted’ and rel­ev­ant res­ults as the gen­eral assump­tion is that what your friends find use­ful is likely to be use­ful to you too.

google plus Facebook jokeGoogle Plus v Facebook

There’s no part­ner­ship agree­ment in place between Face­book and Google as is the case with Face­book and Bing. Bing extracts data from Face­book and will give more import­ance to pages shared by your friends on Face­book, while Google now integ­rates pub­lic Google+ posts and tweets in their search res­ults. Other social net­works and book­mark­ing sites, when linked to your Google pro­file, also play a part as your friends’ post on these will be deemed quite rel­ev­ant to you.

Why do ‘we’ need Social Search?

The aim of social search is, quite simply, to per­son­al­ise your search exper­i­ence. Both Google and Bing use ‘social sig­nals’ in their latest search algorithms to determ­ine which page would rank higher in their search res­ults page.

Social sig­nals in this case mean the point­ers from social sites about the pop­ular­ity of a page. You’re prob­ably already famil­iar with three of the most pop­u­lar but­tons to be found on blogs today: Face­book ‘Like’, Google’s +1 but­ton and the Tweet but­ton. The more users like a page, Tweet it or +1 it, the more pop­u­lar the page is, and search engines will take note of this. It’s also already com­mon know­ledge that if your con­tent is shared or book­marked more, then it should rank higher in the searches – but this is get­ting even more sig­ni­fic­ant with the intro­duc­tion of social search.

Social search impact­ing your online vis­ib­il­ity efforts?

Well, you’d have to adjust the efforts to focus more on improv­ing your social media pres­ence. For indi­vidu­als and busi­nesses alike, hav­ing accounts in all the major social sites is becom­ing a must. And not just accounts, but act­ive, lively accounts. The fact is, social data is now much more rel­ev­ant to search engine rankings.

Both Google and Bing have con­firmed that they do ana­lyze the ‘author­ity’ or pop­ular­ity of a Twit­ter account, as part of their social search scheme, to determ­ine the import­ance of a link shared by that per­son. Simply put, hav­ing a high num­ber of fol­low­ers means that your account is pop­u­lar and there­fore car­ries a big­ger PageR­ank, hence con­sidered an author­ity source. There­fore, the rela­tion between hav­ing a pop­u­lar Twit­ter account linked with your web­site and get­ting higher online vis­ib­il­ity is direct.

As things are look­ing right now, the search industry is not about to go down any­time soon thanks to the intro­duc­tion of social search. The major search engines are giv­ing more import­ance to back­links from the top social sites as well as per­son­al­ising every user’s search exper­i­ence. On-site SEO efforts like adding social sig­nal but­tons (Like, Tweet, +1) are now more cru­cial than ever in dir­ectly optim­ising your online visibility.



SEO, social con­tent and sig­nals advoc­ate, closet geek (not fully fledge), writer, speaker, & blogger.

Founder of NOD3x ( — Social Net­work Ana­lysis, know­ledge graph ana­lysis application

Lee can be con­tac­ted by email: here


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