Social media has revolutionized the way consumers communicate today, with billions of comments, conversations, recommendations, photos, and more shared daily on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. This social sharing shows no signs of stopping as more and more consumers and companies discover the power of online interaction. Not surprisingly, this major shift in consumer behavior has led to significant updates in search engine algorithms in an effort to include this consumer-driven data in search results. MediaPost.com recently examined how the growing influence of social media is affecting the spectrum of search.
Some of the latest changes in search have included Google’s Panda update to increase the rankings of higher-quality sites, along with Bing’s Tiger update, which enhanced the relevance and accuracy of search engine result placement (SERP). Bing’s actions reflected the increased importance that search engines are placing on consumer’s social content and how this trend can cause changes to a brand’s SERP. Interesting, data reveals that 75 percent to 90 percent of the top 10 search results on any SERP have received at least one “tweet” or “like.”
As further evidence of the focus on social behavior, Google and Bing have started delivering personalized search results based on consumers’ social graphs. Last year, Bing announced that online results would include Facebook “likes” in addition to relevant content. This partnership extended to Facebook’s use of Bing as the network’s search engine. January brought the launch of Google’s “Search Plus Your World,” which finds both consumer content that has been privately shared plus matches from the general Web. This increases the value of consumer search by offering the inclusion of personal social results along with the most relevant online content. Personal results are displayed at the top of the page, yet only include Google+ content.
These are just a few of the changes that show the increasing importance of online consumer content. Marketers must pay attention to this rapidly evolving trend and develop social media marketing initiatives that will leverage the creation and sharing of social content about their brands. By establishing strong social referral programs, brands can show consumers that they are responding to their personal interests and needs. This emphasis on the consumer is driving the direction of marketing today because it results in greater engagement, loyalty, and the creation of “social advocates” who refer the brand throughout the online community.
By directing the power of social sharing toward their brands, marketers can encourage and enable consumer-driven content. This can result in increased SERP, sales, traffic, and overall knowledge of the consumer.
At MDG, our 360° marketing approach uses just the right mix of traditional and online media to reach your marketing goals. While some industries may fare better on TV and others online, we strive to create a balanced approach where digital and traditional marketing efforts support each other and your message is tailored to the medium.
Read more at Media Post.
Written by Michael Del Gigante