The Relationship between Social Media and Search

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The relationship between social media and search is very real and is not going away.  It is now helping to fuel the search engines’ fire to provide us with the best results and does so by using social media data as cues to better match what the search engines think we are looking for in the location where we can best engage with the information we require.

Search engines are achieving this goal by integrating social popularity in their organic search algorithms.  This popularity section seems presently to be the mix of social media relevancy and click-through rate.  Such has been more and more noticeable with Google’s expansion of Twitter feeds in their results.  In fact, even if you delete all of your tweets and your account, your tweets will still exist because Google assigns a number to every tweet.  (Just thought I would throw that tidbit of info out for everyone that assumes hitting “delete” is the end to unintelligent late-night posts).

Bing has also been utilizing Facebook’s Like buttons in their organic search results.  Their current factors of influence as to the relevance of the social mediums to use are the number of followers, fans, and brand names/keywords passed around the social networks.

This information is important! Search engines are no longer just regurgitating results; they are making assumptions from your Internet usage and applying your preferred means of obtaining data to push information you search back to you.  They are actually listening to their customers and providing them with what they really want, not just what has the best PR due to keyword density, URL age, etc.

It has been necessary for the search engines to keep up with all of these social networks that now take up more chunks of users’ time online, especially when you look at Twitter, who now has a real time search box.  While results are not always perfect, they are still improving every day, and if people continue to spend more time on social networks, the search engines must keep up.

No matter how popular social networks continue to gain strength and popularity, they will never prevent the need for search.  Seventy percent of online customers still find the sites from which they make purchases through search, but they also now spend a quarter of their time online in social media networks.

Trends will always be changing on the web, but have no fear, for the folks at Beacon will continue to be your guide in these new unchartered territories.