As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, search engines are an indispensable means for prospects to find your website. Your ranking on search engines is still significantly dependent upon well-chosen keywords coupled with “inbound” links (connections from other sites to yours). There are many link-building strategies, including directory submission, PR outreach, competitions and giveaways, organic content (such as blogging), community links (such as from the local Chamber of Commerce) and customers. SEO techniques such as these remain essential for driving traffic to your site.
Although these traditional SEO “1.0” practices are still relevant, SEO 2.0 connects to consumers in a deeper, more holistic way than ever before. How? By providing high-quality content that users find fresh and original. Major search engine providers like Google are adapting to this by updating its search algorithm to move better quality content to the top of search rankings.¹
The desire for deeper consumer engagement and fresh and original content is leading search engines to the greatest repository of consumer data and original content in history: social media.
In this brave new SEO 2.0 world, search + social, or “social search”, is king.
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As one might expect, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft are duking it out over who will rule the future of social search. Interestingly, Twitter and Google used to have a deal to use tweets in real-time search-engine result listings. That contract has ended, however, with no renewal in sight.
Another little-known tidbit, Microsoft is an investor in Facebook, giving itself access to Facebook’s data on its Bing search engine. However, Facebook’s stringent data privacy restrictions render most of the information it has collected useless. As a work-around, Facebook is now offering users a “public” option for updates.²
Google’s release of Google+, coupled with its codification as a social search network with the January 2012 announcement of “Search Plus Your World,” has produced a model for the widespread and efficient melding of social search. With over 90 million users, Google+ is a rapidly-growing social network, although it still has a long way to go to catch Facebook’s 845 million-strong user base.
How Does this Affect your Online Marketing Efforts? A Few Takeaways:
- Top search-engine provider + fast-growing social media network is an SEO 2.0 content creator’s dream. If your business does not have a profile on Google+, I suggest you set one up yesterday.
- Facebook and Twitter, search engine or not, are still HUGELY important for your business. If your business does not have a profile on both of these social media sites, I strongly suggest you set one up yesterday.
- If you are not following SEO 2.0 best practices by producing quality web content optimized for SEO and shared throughout your social media channels, (with CTAs, Landing Pages and Analytics, to boot) I implore you to start doing so yesterday.