The Future of SEO

Human beings are innately social creatures. We feel better when we eat together, laugh together, and converse together. When we have a problem, need advice, or want a recommendation, historically, we’ve always turned to people in our social circle— friends, coworkers, family— for the solution. The internet has, of course, changed the way our social species socializes. Now, when faced with a question whose answer is not immediately known, it’s not uncommon to hear someone respond with, “Google it,” or, “Ask the internet,” as if the web is our human pal in the next room. But that’s not so far off from the truth. When we want to find a good restaurant nearby, figure out how to install a low-flow showerhead, or find the most tactful method of breaking a heart, we turn to our new best friend: the int ernet. Or, more specifically, a search engine. But our friend the search engine is changing, and it’s mostly because we, as a species, are pretty much staying the same.

What this means is that we’re continuing to be our old social selves. Even if Google’s link to Urban Spoon or Yelp has recommended a popular Thai restaurant on Main Street, we’re still more likely to check out the hole-in-the-wall Cajun place that a friend recommended to us. That’s because ultimately, even if we treat the web as our indispensible companion or an all-knowing demigod, we still ultimately trust other human beings, or websites upon which we can mount a human face, a personal connection, more than we trust a faceless internet search engine. The future of SEO is essentially a capitalization on this fact, and it is as social as we are.

A recent article from the Search Engine Journal has given the future a name, and they’re calling it “Social SEO.” Engines like Google and Bing have been using “social signals” in their algorithms since 2010. Basically, the more a link gets tweeted, shared, or +1’ed, the more social relevance it has, particularly if it’s shared across social mediums, or by a person with social authority, and this bears weight in its search status.

This social future is based not only on what you share with your own network, but the likes and interests you have in common with others, be they friends or complete strangers. For example, if you enjoy a particular YouTube channel and decide to subscribe, you can be grouped as a demographic alongside the others in that group. That is to say, if users A and B like TheCuteCatChannel, and Google knows that user B also enjoys a blog about DIY pet projects, then the next time User A is searching for DIY projects, they might get a recommendation for a DIY pet project, based both on their interest in TheCuteCatChannel, as well as User B’s. The same theory works with becoming a fan of certain Facebook pages or deciding to follow certain people or companies on Twitter. This is how social media is going to revolutionize your search results, which is pretty cool, because it’s even more personalized than ever.

As another article on the topic concludes, backlinks are still extremely important in search engine optimization, ranking just below Facebook shares, and should not be ignored. We’re also still in the nascent stages of the new “social SEO,” so you don’t want to trash any of your current methods in favor of the new. But remember the weight of the personal connection. When your birthday’s coming up, would you rather your friends base your gift on your likes and interests, or the most popular gift shop within 10 miles of your zip code?

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to optimize your search engine results, remember that there’s an SEO company that can take all of your beautiful content and spin it into SEO gold. Contact us to learn more!

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Published On: Apr 30, 2013