Its official . . . ‘the medium has become the message,’ to paraphrase Marshall McLuhan. At least the medium – social networking sites Twitter and Facebook – has become the increasingly important message from both Google and Bing.
At SearchEngineWatch.com, Erez Barak breaks down how social media marketing, networking and organic search have converged. Both Bing and Google have moved from separating out search results from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, he notes, with both major search engines “streamlining search engine results pages (SERPs) by combining organic results [within] this social context.”
Barak notes that:
• “Both Google and Bing have moved away from showing tweets and sectioned-off “Liked Results” in the SERPs.”
• “Search engines are now sending users to the correct websites, as well as providing the detail about the origin of the recommendation (i.e., friend’s profile, original recommendation).”
• “With these social annotations, the search engines are giving users some visibility as to why they’re algorithms are picking certain results over the others.“
Barak’s analysis demonstrates how fundamentally important it is for businesses large and small to develop and nurture a “social footprint” not only on popular social media sites, but across multiple social media sites.
Fortunately there are a number of social media management apps like HootSuite and TweetDeck (see Mashable review) to help you manage your company’s digital footprint across multiple social media sites. But, when it comes to managing your footprint on social media sites the responsibility is essentially yours. In that vein, Barak makes the following three observations:
• “Actions like getting retweets and mentions on Twitter, Likes on Facebook, and mentions on Quora are crucial for today’s online businesses to gain visibility through search engines and social networks.”
• “As search gets more social, the idea of the social footprint which gives you exponential reach into a follower or fan’s social network just from a simple @mention, retweet, Like, or follow will have a whole new large-scale network effect. “
• “When people share your content, it will show up across their social networks and in their friends’ SERPs.”
Google and Bing’s move to integrate and heavily weight social media “juice” in their search algorithms is indicative of the pervasive role that social media has assumed online. Those companies that ignore the message that, in fact, “the media is the message,” and rely strictly on traditional search engine optimization tactics, risk impending online irrelevance.