Social search is the new buzzword today, when it comes to optimizing websites. If recent trends are anything to go by, social search will likely play a bigger role than traditional search when it comes to how people browse, and transact online. This should not be surprising given the number of people using smartphones these days, and the reliance on staying connected with our social networks online. But before we go further, let us understand what social search is really about.
What is social search?
Having a presence on different social media platforms has become a mandate for all businesses today. When people talk about and interact with businesses online, they create social stories that can be seen by those in their online social networks. Search engines integrate such public stories or mentions from your social graph into your searches for relevant terms, enabling you to see these above natural search results. This is done with the intent to make search results more personalized, and relevant. So essentially, social search is a way that people can discover relevant content created by their friends, family and other online connections. It is the virtual equivalent of word of mouth, one of the most powerful influencers there ever was. After all, it is so much more credible to have a trusted person recommend your business instead of you trying to do the same!
What adds to the relevancy of social search is also the fact that the results are distinguished by their recency, and relevancy. For instance, you will see your friends’ most recent tweets or posts, which can keep changing with successive searches for the same keywords.
How can you optimize your business for social search?
Here are some ways you can get started!
- Use relevant keywords and hashtags in your social content. Or in other words, use the same language that your online customers are likely to use! When you use the right keywords and hashtags, search engines will identify you as an expert source for those topics.
- Be consistent with these keywords, so that your content ranks for relevant searches. Increased usage of important keywords will enable your content to show up with more regularity when there are searches for those keywords.
- Share links to related content, to increase the credibility of your content, and even the chances of purchase. This not only helps to increase traffic to your website, but also helps improve your website’s social credibility with search engines.
- Share unique content at frequent intervals. So if you are launching a new product, taking part in an exhibition or even sponsoring a local event, put it out on social media using relevant keywords and hashtags. This helps to continue the social conversation, and encourage more interaction. Remember, higher the interaction, higher the conversations, higher the search results!
This doesn’t mean that traditional search engines like Google and Bing aren’t important. All that it means is that when you look at optimizing your business for these search engines, you also need to create content friendly to social search, to open up a new way for people to land onto your site.