Searchlight SEO

Blurred Lines: Are Social and Search Merging?

Last night, there was a ruckus outside our hotel room in Chicago. @ChaseKreuter and ‪@kat2kati from our strategic account team and @doraluca from our Customer Success team were in their #pajamas. Fearing that we might have to make a quick escape, we decided to investigate the source of the pandemonium. Or at the very least, join in.

We didn’t go to Google. Instead, we went to Twitter.

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Turns out, it was the #Stanleycup making the rounds at @RockitbarBurgerBar.

This changing search behavior is at the core of the new partnership between Google and Twitter. With Tweets now showing up in search results, the lines between search and social continue to blur.

As consumers change, so too must marketers. Therefore, I asked several of my favorite thought leaders, well… what they thought. Here’s what they had to say about the convergence of social and search:

“Yes, they are converging and I believe they should integrate further. If the goal is to find the most relevant content with links, there is no reason why social should not be an indicator of relevance and importance.”

Joe Taylor, Manager, Agency Success Team at Conductor
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“I don’t really think there is a question as to whether search and social are merging – it’s already done. You can argue the degree of success, but Google has become a social network, Facebook has become a search engine, and YouTube – a platform built for video – is a titan of search and social.

Companies want to own the SERP. Take advantage of the additional brand presence and let your social pages help push competitors to Page 2.”

Geoffrey Forman, Content Marketing Manager / Marketing Analyst at Edmund Optics | America
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“Google’s mission has always been to provide the most relevant search results and the best user experience. Twitter is a rich source of content, so it makes sense that Google would start showing tweets in search results.

Are social and search merging? I think they merged a long time ago. Searches are taking place on all social media platforms – YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and many more. Search is about optimizing all your content, for all types of search on all platforms and finding ways to communicate and engage with customers in a way that’s natural for the brand and for the customer.

Great content leads to engagement and how your customers engage with your content sends a signal for Google. Relevant, share-worthy content will find its way to the social platforms and search results.” 

Eliza Shamshain, Director of SEO at Tradesy
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“Truthfully, I haven’t seen an example of Twitter results in SERPS out in the wild. I’ve even been using keywords from other people’s screenshots and have seen nothing.

If there’s breaking news or an event I’m interested in, I go to Twitter. Google knows that. Google doesn’t like that. That’s why we’re seeing this partnership.

Joe Leyba, Marketing Manager at Capella University
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“In reality (aka the minds of consumers), social and search are already merged. It’s only us content producers who are just grasping this reality and search engines who are responding to the reality.

Well-constructed social media can spur people to search. Optimizing content can get new people to engage with your brand via social. How they find it may be different, but smart content is smart content. Making smart content easy for the right person to find it at the right time is important whether you’re talking about tweets or cave paintings. Eventually it’ll all be searchable on any device at any time. Act accordingly.”

Garry Mendez, Content and SEO Manager at Black Lapel
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Now that Twitter results are visible in search engines, Conductor Searchlight makes sure marketers can see how their social and search efforts are assisting one another.

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We’d love to know how you are using social to influence search results. Be part of the discussion on Twitter.

  • Hmm, this brings up an incredible growing trend. As a savvy social media user myself, I routinely find myself going to Twitter first or second for searches – not so much so for other social medias (such as Facebook), but most definitely Twitter.

    I think the reason why Twitter reigns supreme in this instance is because it not only gives you insight to the conversation that is going on (like people looking up #StanleyCup), but it also gives you real-time updates and a variety of opinions – Google, on the other hand, might show you the top 3 new hits from your search, but nothing in real time.

    I, for one, love the fact that more people are searching through Twitter…it might be time for Twitter to roll out some sponsored ads on searches their users do.

    • SheridanOrr

      Juan,

      Great points! I should have interviewed you too.

      I, like you, like the real time of Twitter. However, I’ve heard some people argue that people just can’t keep up with the volume of the stream of information and that’s why Twitter isn’t even more sticky.

      I’d love your thoughts on that!

      • Ah, shucks, you’re too kind! Thanks Sheridan, maybe I can help in a future article :]

        As for the virtual dump of information on Twitter – yeah, I totally agree. Twitter hasn’t followed the Facebook model & created algorithms based around users’ behaviors to show them the content they’d be most likely to be interested in. Twitter is just a big plop of info. Literal TMI.

        I’d venture a little further to state that the biggest problem with Twitter is
        that it’s merely a “broadcasting medium.” It’s not a “social media.”

        Millions of links are dropped daily by bots & spammers, so it keeps a
        certain audience from joining Twitter and increasing Twitter’s user
        base. There needs to be a fundamental change in what types of posts are
        accepted through Twitter. There’s so much virtual ‘trash’ out there that
        it’s difficult to truly interact and find and engaged audience.

        I think if Twitter addresses the sheer volume of information on its platform and creates somewhat of a Facebook content model (Facebook has proven it works), it can truly capitalize on the fact that hordes of online users go to Twitter to perform searches for information that is relevant right now.

        But yes, I would agree that Twitter’s biggest obstacle to capitalizing on this is the fact that many people hate Twitter for the fact that it’s literally TMI!