The FDC Blog

24 Aug 2012

Stop wasting your time; people don’t use social sites for search…

It’s a bold statement, and in theory it’s true. No one really uses social networks like Facebook, Google+ or Twitter to search for products or services like they do with search engines.

But with these social websites and the vast amounts of information they contain, could Google’s vision of a better web, where social signals are more important than factors like Meta Data, become reality?

Visible change

Imagine that; what if social networks and social signals outweighed the fundamental Search Engine Optimisation methods we as SEO’s swear by. This was actually first announced in 2007 and the possibility seems to morphing into reality today, with more visible Facebook comment indexing and Google+ author tags.

Although Google’s aim isn’t to radically change the playing field in SEO and online marketing the change Facebook commentdoes indicate that Google accepts that social networking is a major part of the online community. Facebook alone has over 800 million users; it’s a concept that cannot be ignored. Social signals should affect the shift in website rankings if the end goal is to produce a better web experience.

Having said this, comments aren’t likely to quickly appear high up search results, however specific searches will bring them up and we will notice this more and more as the integration between social networking and search merges closer together.

Plugins

If like me you’re an eager blogger and enjoy creating sharable content, you’re more than likely to have come across websites that use plugins like ‘Disqus’ or ‘Intense Debate’, these already appear in Google’s results meaning social signals do play a factor in the potential traffic a website can get.

Matt Cutts, the chief engineer behind Google’s search, confirmed in late 2011 via Twitter

"Googlebot keeps getting smarter. Now has the ability to execute AJAX/JS to index some dynamic comments."

Meaning the Facebook comments plugin, along with others used across many websites can be indexed, especially if their comment rich and public. We’ve already seen the dynamic change in results through Google’s own ‘Google+’ platform; where the user image of an author can be displayed near snippets of their blog post.

Conclusion

So clearly it’s safe to say that social networks already play a huge part in websites and their rankings.
Personally I think it could be one of the biggest and most rewarding changes you could make to your website by giving your visitors the ability to comment on your content.

As always social network is a great method to get your message out there, weather your B2B or B2C, but with these changes in search, it’s more important than ever for you use social networking effectively and as part of your wider online marketing strategy.

By Sunny Chana

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