About The Author:Brett Lane is the Director of Social Media for Intrapromote LLC.(www.intrapromote.com) and has specialized in Internet marketing strategies related to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) since 2000. His knowledge of SEO and Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing has enabled him to aid small, medium, and large sized businesses with achieving their online success.
How are Social Media Web Sites Affecting Google’s Universal Search Landscape?
Social media Web sites are becoming increasingly popular. With this shift, Google has begun slowly adding “Universal Search” listings to its current search engine results, and hence, social media Web sites are occupying a greater number of keyword listings. This is primarily a by-product of social media and blog sites hosting massive, user-generated content and the viral nature of back-links being created from trusted social Web resources.
Surfing the World Wide Web has gotten easier, and users now have more experience regarding online multi-media platforms. As a result, video, podcast, blog, image, and RSS based Web sites have seen a major increase in user engagement. Additionally, Web sites like YouTube, MySpace, FaceBook, and Del.icio.us each have millions of registered users interacting with one another on a daily basis. Due to the nature of these social communities Google has placed more significance on links that point to Web sites from such portals. People and organizations around the globe are starting to realize the impact that social media has on the online community. Subsequently, search engines like Google have tapped into this, and we will soon see the true impact that social media is making across multiple aspects of the Internet, in particular, Google’s Universal Search landscape.
Most SEO professionals know that in order to achieve great rankings for their clients, they need to possess optimal “Google Link Love” where social media sites are giving them a mix of high-quality, one way back-links and increased brand exposure. The nature of Google’s ranking algorithm is based on the democratic notion of one Web master linking to another as a vote of confidence for that site as an online resource. Social media Web sites are known as folksonomies, i.e., collaborative tagging, social indexing, etc. which provide Google with an improved gauge of measuring a Web site’s external linking structure and online exposure from a truly democratic standpoint.
How is social media changing Google’s Universal Search Landscape?
Google has begun displaying video, news, and other forms of multi-media content within its regular search results. What does this truly mean, and how is it impacting those Web sites that pride themselves in first-page rankings? First, as Google’s Universal Search landscape blends various aspects of the search process in an attempt to provide Web users with more comprehensive SERP’s, Web sites that don’t take into consideration the impact that social media is having across the Web, will be in for a rude awakening as their site’s keyword rankings decline. The poor Web master who is currently holding a listing of 8-10 can potentially have their ranking drop to the second page because new content will take its place within Google’s current search space. Secondly, Google’s Universal Search landscape not only impacts the Web site owner, but also the Web master and Search Engine Optimizers. With the shift towards Universal Search, Web masters and SEO’ers will have to work twice as hard for their clients to ensure they maintain competitive positions in Google’s search listings by finding creative ways to get their content to show up in social media sites across the Web.
There are a variety of social media and niche multi-media sites that exist online and are showing rapid growth on a monthly basis. With Google progressively displaying Universal search results within its normal SERP’s it is evident that there will be some major changes down the road concerning how they display information to its users. One of Google’s top concerns, as shown in their recent creation of a Universal Search platform, is its ability to provide users with the most relevant search results. Through this shift, and in order to provide higher quality data to its end users, they must compile data from multiple sources, i.e., video, news, books, images, etc. In order for SEO professionals and Web site owners to have higher key word rankings within this blend of eclectic search results, they must ensure their multi-media content is being displayed properly and in the correct social media channels online.
What are the benefits of social media marketing?
Not only is it imperative to utilize social media marketing for an increase in online visibility through Google’s Universal Search results, but Web masters can also take advantage of the greater reputation management benefits. One common strategy for corporate Web sites seeking to better manage their online presence is to build credible corporate profiles at social media sites like Del.icio.us, Digg, Magnolia, etc. in order to engage users in this space and help their profile pages rank higher in Google’s search results for their branded keyword phrases. Another major benefit of social media marketing is that it gives each participating company the ability to monitor what’s being said about themselves in these spaces and take action to halt negative campaigns being aimed at them online.
What social media sites should one utilize to gain added exposure in Google’s Universal Search listings?
There are various social media sites available online. However, the following will address a brief summary of some of the most valuable sites for utilizing social media marketing.
Del.icio.us – Social media platform that allows Web users to tag resources, i.e., Web sites with keywords to be seen by other viewers online.
StumbleUpon – Social media platform that allows users to “channel surf” Web sites online that other users vote as popular resources online.
YouTube – Video uploading Web site with tabbed pages featuring ratings, favorites, flagging, tagging, and commenting.
VSocial – Video uploading site utilizing AJAX, tagging, rating, reviewing, RSS feeds, and creative commons licenses.
News Aggregator Sites:
180° News – Online news aggregator offering a broad range of topics including technology, sports, entertainment, business, world, society, and health.
Newsvine – Online news aggregator that allows users to vote up or down submitted stories.
Real Simple Syndication (RSS):
Syndic8 – One of the biggest RSS feed directories online.
Technorati – Indexes blogs based on tags and authority as measured by incoming links.
By making all forms of your multi-media content available to various social media sites online, you will increase your sites chances of being found in Google’s Universal Search results when its users search for your targeted keyword phrases. Additionally, this social marketing medium allows you to better manage your reputation management activities by monitoring the social media space where your content exists. Lastly, most of the sites hosting your content will give your site a hyper-link for users to find your other content, thus aiding your keyword rankings within Google’s search results.
Although Google hasn’t completely made the change to displaying only Universal Search results, it’s just a matter of time before they do, and the lives of numerable Web masters and SEO professionals around the world will be impacted. In order to stay ahead of the competition and not get knocked down from Google’s top ten rankings for your targeted keyword phrases, it is imperative to occupy the greatest amount of “real estate” in the social media space. Having a greater presence within the social media sphere will allow your Web site a fighting chance of being found in Google’s top ten Universal Search listings for your targeted keyword phrases.