Google released its experimental Social Search feature back in 2009. This was to provide search results that were relevant and personalized to the users social circles. Google rolled out some improvements recently that included integrating your social networks into search results with annotations. For example if a friend tweets a link that is related to your search, that link could be annotated noting your friend’s tweet. Previous Social Search was at the bottom of the results but now it can appear anywhere within the results. The newest update in Social Search is that it is now spreading globally to 19 languages.
The connections or friends that can be included in the search results come from Google Talk, Google Contacts, people you follow on Buzz, Google Reader, and other networks you have connected to your Google profile. Some of the notable networks you can add are Twitter and Facebook.
There has been some push back from Facebook as they hired a PR company to publish negative stories about the privacy concerns of the Social Search. Which is a natural response given they are in competition to rule the Internet. Google though has stayed silent about the privacy issue, mostly because users have to add networks after they’ve completed a Google profile to include Social Search in their results.
Social Search is set to play a more prominent role in SERP’s and search optimization. This will require SEO providers to diversify their social networks for their content between Twitter, Facebook, Quora, Flickr, Google Buzz, and YouTube. The more sources that are sharing your content, the more likely Google will view it as valuable content. Also when optimizing for Social Search, keep in mind keyword rich content and align your about us across your website, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. Allow your Facebook Pages to be public for both Google and Bing to crawl. You still need to engage your followers, though. Don’t expect likes and shares to do all the work. Join in conversations with your followers to promote great communication with them. And users should be measuring their activity and results. Going by your gut feeling doesn’t always work and having facts to back up why something did or didn’t work helps you adapt to new strategies.
Microsoft announced it will connect it’s search results with Facebook’s social graph. This is to combat Google and it’s +1 initiative. Bing will have the ability to take existing likes from friends and use them in searches Google has to catch up with people creating +1’s for content.
Bing has released with the integration a Bing Bar that has a universal “like” button. Now when you are searching on Bing you’ll be able to “like” a search result on any page on the web, regardless of the existence of a “like” button. Bing will have to show “like” results, answers, and sites by showing what your friends have “liked”. It will also show results from your friends “likes” to the top of the page even if they should be buried on the 50th page.
Bing is trying to incorporate crowd sourcing into results by aggregating likes on the Internet and bringing them to the top. And this will include the ability to crawl posts from brands and companies as well. It will also crawl profile information, so when you search for a person you could see their location, education, and employment details. Since Facebook does not allow Google to do this, Bing has the monopoly. This stems from Microsoft being an early investor in Facebook and their relationship with Mark Zuckerburg. Potential features include shared shopping lists, flight planners, or a function that lets you’re find friends in another city when you’re a traveling called “friends who live here”.
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