It’s the time in the year to reflect, make adjustments, and look forward to what 2011 has to offer. Changes to the online landscape seem to be larger and happening more frequently than ever before. There’s no better time to reevaluate then right after an announcement that shifts the fundamental core of SEO.
Google and Bing have finally verified that social media influences website rankings. This isn’t actually a giant shock to people in SEO. If you’re a frequent visitor to the site you may have already read the article I wrote a little while back unofficially confirming this exact information. (Take that Google, beat you to your own punch line.)
It’s time to look a little further down the road to what this really tells us. Rand Fishkin makes a statement at the end of his article touching on something that has been on my mind lately:
He calls it “the evolution of organic marketing” and it’s one piece to a larger puzzle currently being put together. This evolution will lead Facebook to dethroning Google for search supremacy in 2011. This will not be a gradual shift either. Facebook will launch a new search platform that will literally blow Google’s out of the water.
Search algorithms are incredibly complex, but the underlying theory couldn’t be simpler. The more information you have about a person, the more accurately you can find what they’re looking for. For many years Google has dominated information gathering because of their expansive reach (Picasa, Android, YouTube, FeedBurner, Blogger, etc.) Even though they have access to countless areas of the internet, they are still limited from the truly in depth knowledge required to perfect online search. This is where Facebook enters the picture.
Facebook has collected all of the tools needed to build the most accurate and customized search platform ever created.
In the new world of information gathering, Facebook is king. They know what you like, what your friends like and how you group them, what you click on, who you spend time with, what events you attend, the people you’ve dated, and even what kind of information you look for depending on the time of day. Did your parents have an influence on your development and decision making process? Well guess what? Facebook knows what they like too, and I bet that connection is naturally weighted heavier. Your profile is practically a giant ongoing Myers Briggs test.
Once Facebook perfects the implementation of this info into Bing’s platform it will create the most accurate and user specific search engine ever conceived. Will it infringe on privacy? Not anymore. It’s no different than their current process of suggesting your “top news” or pointing out which of your friend’s pictures to look at in “Photo Memories”. They wouldn’t be sharing your information, but simply using it to enhance your experience. They have already successfully laid a precedent that using it is acceptable.
Did you really think Zuckerberg’s aversions to privacy came from some childhood event like his mom rustling through his sock drawer too many times? Or is it more likely that it was a strategic maneuver for what’s on the horizon? People don’t just stumble into an Ivy League school and then accidentally create a multibillion dollar company. He’s smart and he has a calculated plan.
What will this mean for SEO? Well it will eventually shift Google down to Yahoo’s current 15-20% slot in search supremacy. It will also exponentially increase the importance of Facebook’s “Like” button. This will inevitably spark half of Twitter to instantly become “Like” button optimization gurus.
Just like marketing and PR have slowly merged into one industry, so will social media marketing and SEO. Your ability to excel with SEO will now hinge on your amount of social media influence. It won’t matter if you have 15,000 spam bots following your Twitter account or if you’re friends with every city monument you live by on Facebook, I’m talking about actual influence.
The factor that matters is the amount of real people you interact with and who actively share your information. Subsequently, their level of influence will become increasingly important. This will spark the need for targeted networking on social media platforms. Yes that’s right, we’ll be creating a niche of social networking networkers (my new favorite job title.)
2011 is right around the corner. We need to learn from the past, evaluate the present, and plan for the future. Knowledge doesn’t truly become powerful until you follow it with action. So stop thinking and start doing. Get out there and work on your social media influence…your SEO depends on it.