Imagine this, you own a quaint bakery with a simple, yet functional website. You are known around town to make the world’s best chocolate donut. And though your chocolate donut may be tasty, ranking for the term “chocolate donut” in Google is damn near impossible. Or is it? Search Engine marketing is moving in an interesting direction, and it’s all about your social circle.
For many years now, the mammoth companies of the world have had a strong hold on the generic search terms that many local businesses would kill to rank for in the top search engines. Google, by far the top dog, owns almost 91% of the global search engine share. With that kind of competitive edge, the Mountain View, CA giant is looking to change things up a little. But yet at the same time, give their users the best possible experience.
Going back to our yummy chocolate donut scenario, if one were to search “chocolate donut,” the cute local bakery would be found many many pages deep in the results. But now imagine you are logged into your Google+ account. All the sudden, that local bakery is now among the top 10.
Seeing this dramatic change in position would make one believe that going forward, the standard SERP will disappear and monitoring rankings will be less and less important, and each individual using a social network platform will be served a result that is unique to them and their search. You will be served a result based on what you typed in the search box, who you are friends with, and the things that you and your social circle are interested in. Julie Ann Ross of Site Pro News spells it out beautifully, “the more connections a person has, the more likely some of their material they have read or recommended will show up in the person’s search engine results page.”
In addition to SERP being influenced by location and sharing circles, content is still revered as a strong ranking element. From a social media standpoint, website content is also being ranked on the amount that it is being shared on Facebook, Tweeted, and +1’d. This means the better your content and the more your content is shared, the higher your page rank will become.
At the moment, this experiment only displays results within the Google product universe. And still is fairly new thanks to the Google algorithm update PANDA. Ross continues, “Social media SEO has increased in importance, thanks to some changes in Google’s algorithms, most recently the Google Panda update. What Google Panda has done is made social media connections a bigger part of their SEO algorithm.”
But here’s food for thought. What will happen when your Google search is connected to the social giants of the world? The 750 million users on Facebook? Or 360 million(+) little birdies using Twitter? Wow.