Great big neon sign of the times

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WE’VE been telling you for long enough and now it’s time to take notice. It’s so important, in fact, that we’ve spelled it out for you with a big, fat, neon sign.

Why? Google has made some massive changes to its social media ranking criteria and, for those of you who’ve been avoiding social media, the goalposts have been moved. A lot.

Just a few weeks ago, Google announced to the world that social media was to play a far more important part than ever before in its search engine rankings. You didn’t know? Well, that’s probably because you haven’t been using social media!

Here’s how Google’s new rules will affect YOUR business…

Firstly, Google has decided to give more weight to the opinions of people all over the web. So-called ‘social search results’ will now be mixed throughout search results based on their relevance. Google first introduced ‘Social Search’ back in 2009, but until now, those results only appeared at the bottom of the page.

It means, in short, that social media is more integrated in Google’s search algorithms than ever before. SEO is no longer king of of all online presence… effectively, you’ll be competing with the likes of blogs, Twitter comments and Flickr content.

Not only that, but Google has added a number of other tweaks, such as upping visibility and ranking for content that is more recent; this, of course,  adds even more weight to the argument for regular blogging and updating in order for companies to regularly publish fresh online content.

Oh, and being the clever little search engine it is, Google will also be adding your friends’ comments to the mix; so, if your buddies have been blogging and talking online about a subject you search for, chances are they’ll pop up in your results. Of course, by ‘friends’ we mean anyone you’re connected to online – suppliers, clients, prospective customers… Big Brother, anyone?

Concentrate… here comes the science part

If you’re wondering how this works, it’s all to do with an annotation system that lets you know when a ‘friend’ has shared a specific link or search result. If one of your online contacts writes a blog about HR issues, for instance, that result will show up with a note that your friend has “shared” the post via Google or one of its other social integrations.

The result? A huge increase in social results in searches, with friends’ results popping up if they have tweeted, or blogged, a reference to that particular search term.

The good news is that you can choose to connect your Google account to social networks either publicly or privately – just in case you don’t want anyone to know you’re @ILoveMinnieMouse on Twitter.

Enhanced Social Media Elements

Seeing is believing, right? Well, pop yourself over to Google, right now, and search for anything you like. Take a look down the left hand side of the page and you’ll notice the updated search banner, which now includes more social media elements.

Okay, let’s drill down and see what’s really going on. If we look at the newest tweaks to social media’s Google importance, you’ll see the following options as part of your search:

  • Images (pooled from social media channels such as Flickr)
  • Videos (how many times have we purred about the importance of YouTube?)
  • Blogs (fairly self-explanatory… it’s content from blogs)
  • Realtime (this seems to be Google’s way of saying ‘Twitter’, although any other social media channel could also be included)
  • Discussions (this includes chatter from groups, forums and the like)

Get the picture? This is big. It’s important. If you want people to find your business online, you really can’t afford to ignore it. Really, really, really.

What does this mean for your business?

Put simply, if you want to boost your chances of a high Google ranking, an SEO strategy probably won’t be enough. If you want your brand to be found online, participating on the major social media channels is now vital. If you don’t…. well, it’s your www.funeral.

Google has made social search a priority, and it’s not about to do a U-turn. So, if you’ve been an ostrich up to now, it’s time to pull your head up, rub the sand out of your eyes and get Tweeting, YouTubing, Digging, Blogging… everything you can find to get your business noticed.

PS: If you want to read Google’s own take on the changes, you can read the announcement here.

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17 Responses to Great big neon sign of the times

  1. Jason Vance says:

    Social Media can be leveraged with local businesses. It’s now time that they can use social media to gain an active audience. While this isn’t a magic bullet, it’s a solution to declining advertising ROI. With Social Media, they’re able to measure and adjust what their strategy is.

  2. jm says:

    social media is the way of the world now.Im just now looking into more social media to gain maor google page rank!

  3. JJ says:

    As a business owner you need to use all the resources available to you including as much social media as possible.

  4. I heard today that Google may be nixing your results from your Twitter and Facebook pages in search, anyone else know of this? I think it’s pretty scary if true. I’ve been working to slowly build my twitter and facebook audiences aswell as G+

  5. Dernell says:

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  6. Tory says:

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  7. http://www./ says:

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  9. http://www./ says:

    Once again, please YouTube; bring back the 'View All' link on "My Recent Comments" on the profile pages and correct the default black font, accordingly. Thank you!

  10. AHAHAH la dernière phrase est à mourire de rire! J'étais plié en quatre! :DGratuite certes, mais drôle. J'imagine qu'au moins 90% des commentaires ci-dessus sont écrits par des Français… Le VFB de Marc Rosset est exactement là pour cela! Sinon Santoro, j'adore son tennis! Et je lui souhaite bon vent, évidemment pas à Fort-Boyaux.

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  16. Jess, your letter gives me goosebumps – I am so full of excitement for the changes ahead for you all – and this little girl, she is so bursting with love I know she has enough to share with everyone who is part of your lives, but especially for her little sister – I can’t wait for your next letter xx

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