You’ve heard of search and social, but have you heard of social search? Recently, Bing and Facebook announced an agreement that would integrate Facebook’s “Like” functionality into the Microsoft-run search engine Bing. That means if you were to search for something on Bing, the pages your personal network of friends have “liked” will be included in your unique search results along with the billions of other sites out on the Web.
This is a smart move on Bing’s part. After all, consumers themselves say they trust word-of-mouth information from their friends and family (the people on their social networks) more than the brand itself or what a stranger might have to say about a product they might be considering. To go a step further, some consumers even trust the recommendations of virtual strangers more than other types of advertising, according to a recent Nielsen study.
But this has larger implications for the state of the SEO industry as a whole. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, used to be all about tweaking your site just perfectly so it would rank high in organic search results. But as Joe Devine spells out in this Mashable article, SEO is only one piece of a larger component we here at ReachLocal call Web Presence:
“While top search engine placement remains the major goal, it is just one aspect of what [Digital Media Agencies] seek to do. A DMA also seeks to manage a client’s online reputation, create and maintain their social presence, and handle the many other aspects of a client’s online brand.”
What’s your strategy to maximize the opportunities from something like social search? Let us know with a comment.