Even a year ago, if you had talked about searching on a blog or in an SEO article, you’d have been talking about searching on Google or Yahoo or one of their competitors. Search for information was almost exclusively in the domain of search engines and linking for SEO purposes was done to increase your visibility on those search engines. These days, searching and linking have become more and more prominent on social networking sites, like Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook, and the acknowledgement of this change is becoming apparent through rankings on Google, which are taking some of these social networking links into consideration. Discussions of these features, both as stand alone features and as part of the bigger picture seem to be cropping up all over the place.
Using Facebook likes and Twitter retweets to build awareness of your business will not take the place of traditional linking entirely, but it can be another avenue to explore for SEO purposes. So it is advisable for us to remember to keep an eye on the progress of these features and the link between social media and search. I was especially interested in a discussion between WebProNews and Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz about this issue:
Chris Crum sums it all up succinctly by saying that “the way people are obtaining information online is diversifying…Google’s real competition isn’t coming from other search engines. It’s coming from different avenues of information access.” With social networking playing a far greater role in linking and information in general, it is important to keep in mind that in all of your business endeavours, including SEO, you have to maintain and grow your social connections. While word of mouth was the best advertising for pre-internet business endeavours, social media is filling that spot handily these days. It’s the electronic version of word of mouth! Acquiring likes for your Facebook page, retweets on Twitter and links to get the attention of Google’s search parameters are all about the same thing: exposing your business to customers and potential customers.