SEO is dead, long live social! It seems that any Google algorithm change or advance by one of the social networks will breed a hundred articles along the lines of that headline, but those of us who understand a bit more about web marketing know that all things need to be considered in moderation.
There’s also set to be more integration between the search engines and your social networks, with Google displaying websites that your Facebook Friends have recommended in its SERPS.
Google have even gone so far as to develop their own social signal, +1, which will enable people to show which websites they like by clicking a button, much in the same way the Facebook “Like” button works.
It is this cross platform integration that is causing the most excitement at the moment, with web marketers predicting it will change the entire way in which people find websites on the internet. But before we get too carried away, it is important to consider who this won’t effect, as well as who it will.
Cross Platform Integration
Us internet marketers are a pretty switched on bunch. We’re always signed into Google, our Facebook profiles are always open and we could Tweet from the North Pole if we chose to.
So when you see results pages in Google with which of your Friends has tweeted about a certain website or who has “Liked” a particular company it’s pretty easy to get excited about a new way of searching.
But stop for a second. Just because as a search marketer you are always signed into Facebook and Google at the same time and you always have your accounts active, does the average searcher?
Just because it is possible to integrate information between different platforms, it is still a massive leap between this capability and everyone on the web being able to see it. Some people don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account. Some people don’t have a Google account.
Some people search Google without being signed in to Facebook at all. Personalised search of this kind depends on many variables being in place at once for it to work and the more variables there are, the less take-up a particular service will have.
What About B2B?
B2B web marketers should get a lot less excited by every announcement coming out of Silicon Valley. Google integrations with social media platforms are a great idea in theory, but unlike the wonderful world of web marketing, your average office worker is more likely to receive a disciplinary than see your company displayed in the SERPS by being logged in to Facebook at work.
Big companies have measures in place to stop employees from straying off topic when browsing the web, and to the average business owner, Facebook is well and truly off topic! The image of Facebook as a place to go to chat to your friends and spy on lovers past is too engrained for it to be allowed at work, no matter how relevant your searches might be because of it.
If you are a B2B marketer and office workers are your target, it might be a while before you need to worry about social media integration interfering with the SERPs in your niche.
This isn’t to say that it’s not important to have a social media presence, it still is. Social media can be a fantastic resource to find people who are interested in your niche and provide a great way to interact with customers who are interested in your services.
The integration between the social networks and the search engines is still in its infancy, as are social factors being used as a ranking factor, but this can be expected to grow in time as Google seems to be finally embracing Facebook and Twitter.
What is important to bear in mind however is to treat each announcement from Silicon Valley on its own merits and apply every change that will affect your niche as you see fit. Jumping on every bandwagon will simply be a waste of time and resources, so before you get excited about the next big announcement, make sure that it is actually applicable to you, and more importantly, your target audience.
How does social media helps your B2B search? I am looking forward to your comments below!
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About the author:
Alan Grainger is an in-house B2B web marketer and manages the SEO for The Corporate Gifts Company, a leading UK specialist in the business gifts sector. He writes articles exploring the issues faced by the B2B web marketer, giving an “in the trenches” view from an in-house SEO department.
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