With Bing announcing last week that they are reinvented their SERPs to tap into the power of Social Media, listing Social results next to organic links, and Google looking to rely on Social Media signals in the future, I’ve examined the implications of what this may mean
Of course, it’s logical that SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) should be looking to include Social Media in their results as it now forms such a large part of the internet and is a place where a very large portion of online time is spent. But the main challenge is how these are displayed. Should all Social Media results be displayed for a particular search term, or should they be ranked based on a number of factors? Some people believe that in the same way domain authority works, certain brands or people on Social Media sites will have much more authority over others – a retweet from Lady Gaga will have much more authority than a retweet from your average Joe.
But how is this authority leveraged? Sites like Klout are very popular for measuring Social influence – but this has come under heavy criticism as you can have a very small group of friends but talk to them constantly via Social Media and therefore appear to have high interaction and thus strong influence – without this being the case outside your group of friends. It’s clear that a celebrity with over 10 million followers will quite rightly have a high authority, but when the distinctions between the two become blurred it becomes up for debate.
This also then begs the question of manipulating these results – looking back to the Snickers promotion which saw celebrities such as Rio Ferdinand and Katie Price using their Twitter accounts to promote messages for Snickers (and of course being paid to do so). With large numbers of followers, surely the authority of these accounts would be high and if Social Media results were to pull into SERPs then it is likely this type of advert would rank highly – is this the same as buying links?
I do believe that makes sense to include Social Media results in Search results, as I have often used Twitter’s search feature to look for things that Google couldn’t provide. It will be interesting to see how the major search engines look to implement these Social results and how the early adopters attempt to influence these results.