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One Small Step for Bing '? One Large Step for Search

The social wars began in earnest among search's heavy hitters last year when Bing launched the first real time search platform, which aggregated tweets and Facebook status updates into a singular searchable interface. Google struck back swiftly, announcing a similar tool that went even further by actually integrating these social elements into the normal search results for queries that were relevant to recent events. While a significant development in the search world, this change had little material impact on the life of the searcher. Social media is an impactful research tool because it offers a personal connection with the people behind the information. When you take away this personal connection, as Google and Bing did in the early iterations of social search, the value of the information declines precipitously. With the announcement of their recent agreement, Facebook and Bing have taken a large step toward solving this problem. In mid'?October, Bing and Facebook announced an alliance in which Facebook will feed Bing their user data so that it can be integrated into the search results page. In addition to the traditional algorithm'?based results, Bing will now serve up 'Liked' results. These are pages that people within your social graph have 'Liked' in Facebook. While Facebook has indicated that they plan to open this information up to all companies (i.e. Google), there is no set timeframe for making this happen. Therefore, Bing will be given a significant head start to make real developments in the world of social search. Below are some thoughts to consider as companies digest this alliance: Make it easy to be 'Liked' (literally): The value of Like's is a hot topic, but this alliance certainly ups the ante. Therefore, don't make it hard for your audience to 'Like' your content. Put the Facebook 'Like' button front and center across your website and any other place possible where your content is displayed. Even if you already have a social sharing widget (i.e. ShareThis or AddThis) that includes Facebook, put the 'Like' button on as well. Make it easy to be 'Liked' (figuratively): Now more than ever, it is critical that brands remain relevant to their customer base. People are short on time and patience and will not waste either consuming information that does not apply. If the content you produce passes the relevance test it is likely that your audience will reward you with Like's and viral distribution. Drop the 'E' in 'SEO': This alliance does not mark the end of SEO, as some pundits would have you believe. Now more than ever, search is the primary way that people find information on the Internet. The difference is that those searches are happening in far more places than Google, Yahoo and Bing. Let's not forget that more searches happen on YouTube than on both Yahoo and Bing. To be successful, companies need to ensure that the fundamental principles of findability are woven into every piece of content they produce. This will broaden visibility in the universal search results as well as other social channels. People have always relied most heavily on the opinions of friends, family and other like'?mined individuals and social networking sites provide easy access to that sounding board. There is no question that the future of search will be more social and success in search and social will come to companies that truly understand and deliver a relevant experience to their consumers across all channels.

OMG! My likes matter. I mean really, really matter.

Last week, I was on the hunt for brown boots. I need brown boots that go over my jeans up to the knee. I've got cash in my pocket and a hot outfit without boots. Dear shoe stores, look out! I went to a very big mall and sorted through endless options. Let's say I reviewed 30 pairs, seriously considering five. I was feeling a bit panicked' how to choose? How to make the right decision among the endless options in this ocean of brown boots!? Now let's pretend that everyone I know and love was standing behind me telling me what they would buy. Perhaps what they have already bought. Is this helpful? I am shopping alone (or so I thought) strolling through and WHAM!, there is my third cousin's wife's choice with a blinking star on it. I love it and you should too. Here's why: 1.) My third cousin's wife has great taste and I always wondered where she shopped. 2.)There are many times when a choice, even boots, is six-to-one, half dozen-to-another. But to someone else, the choice is much more clear ' its two-to-one and 10-to-another. 3.) My bestie shows up at my party with AMAZING (said in high falsetto) boots. If I had only known... To be free of buyers' remorse! 4.) My opinions will be shared ' I like to tell my friends about the good, the bad and the ugly of everything ' brown boots, charities, TV shows that I want them to watch so we can talk about them. It also matters to marketers: 1.) Happy Customers. Generally the more informed a purchase is; the more satisfied the buyer. That consumer is more likely to become a brand advocate, 'like' a product on facebook, have it show up on google, and around we go. 2.) More data. We're already swimming in a sea of 'interesting' data but linking 'likes' that show up in search to clicks on the brand site of that same page adds a tangible layer to the power of social influence. 3.) Deeper Conversations. While more information might delay a decision, if a consumer can go back to their friend, ask questions, talk it over that shopping experience just became a brand experience. 4.) Empowerment. When consumer love of a brand (or hate) can be easily expressed, the consumer is empowered. Dear brand, be good. 5.) Conversation conversion. A consumer might see that a trusted friend 'liked' something they specifically, and subjectively, do not like. What a chance to let a brand advocate turn a negative to a positive...or at least a neutral. Fears that facebook will take over the world aside ' easier sharing of information from friends can lead to a smoother and more beneficial experience for everyone.

AMP's POV on Facebook Like

In April, Facebook released the latest widgets to further extend the reach of Facebook by allowing site owners the ability to easily integrate the 'Like' button, which is so popular within its native environment, into any webpage. This is an enhancement to the ubiquitous 'Share' button, as it requires only a single click and also passes back personalized information about other friends that like the same content when a Facebook user is signed in. Given the reach and continuous growth of Facebook and the increasing importance that social media conversations play in organic search visibility, site owners should strongly consider taking advantage of this new offering. Implementation of the Like button is relatively simple, using either an iFrame: Or Facebook's proprietary markup language, XFBML: The size and appearance of the button can be customized to align with the look and feel of the site. In addition, there are some additional custom meta tags that can be used to define the way that the 'Liked' content is present in the user's Facebook profile. While the net result of the 'Like' button is not dramatically different from its predecessor, the 'Share' button, the new feature represents an expansion of the borderless web. Sites like Facebook and Twitter continue to grey the lines between their social networks and the Internet around them and all signs indicate that users approve of these changes. As demonstrated by the explosive growth in active Social Media usage and RSS feed consumption, Internet users are making it clear that they want a more fluid and consolidated web experience. This change will require a shift in the way that site owners think about their content and also how they measure the performance of their site. Sites will need to be developed with a focus on content portability by providing the necessary sharing widgets and expanded RSS feed offerings. In addition, site owners will need to actively push content out to the masses. Finally, clean, analytics-driven site measurement models will need to adapt to take into account the consumption of content outside the confines of the website. While social media monitoring tools can help fill this tracking void, this is an area that still leaves a lot of room for improvement. From an SEO perspective, content sharing tools play a critically important role. It is no secret that Google and Microsoft are in a mad dash to figure out how to effectively integrate the millions of conversations that are going on within social networks each day into their organic ranking algorithms. Some initial attempts include mixing social conversations in to the organic search results for time-sensitive searches. While interesting, there is a long way to go. What we don't see is the fact the search engines are updating their algorithms to consider these conversations as a way to filter public sentiment about a brand or event. In recent history, the SEO world has relied on the inbound link as its currency for site authority, but it is plausible that day to day ramblings from the universe of social networking users may take over this role. The ways that companies actively engage and how well they facilitate content sharing in social media will be integral in shaping the way that search engines assess their authority in the years to come.

AMP's POV on Facebook Like

In April, Facebook released the latest widgets to further extend the reach of Facebook by allowing site owners the ability to easily integrate the 'Like' button, which is so popular within its native environment, into any webpage. This is an enhancement to the ubiquitous 'Share' button, as it requires only a single click and also passes back personalized information about other friends that like the same content when a Facebook user is signed in. Given the reach and continuous growth of Facebook and the increasing importance that social media conversations play in organic search visibility, site owners should strongly consider taking advantage of this new offering. Implementation of the Like button is relatively simple, using either an iFrame: Or Facebook's proprietary markup language, XFBML: The size and appearance of the button can be customized to align with the look and feel of the site. In addition, there are some additional custom meta tags that can be used to define the way that the 'Liked' content is present in the user's Facebook profile. While the net result of the 'Like' button is not dramatically different from its predecessor, the 'Share' button, the new feature represents an expansion of the borderless web. Sites like Facebook and Twitter continue to grey the lines between their social networks and the Internet around them and all signs indicate that users approve of these changes. As demonstrated by the explosive growth in active Social Media usage and RSS feed consumption, Internet users are making it clear that they want a more fluid and consolidated web experience. This change will require a shift in the way that site owners think about their content and also how they measure the performance of their site. Sites will need to be developed with a focus on content portability by providing the necessary sharing widgets and expanded RSS feed offerings. In addition, site owners will need to actively push content out to the masses. Finally, clean, analytics-driven site measurement models will need to adapt to take into account the consumption of content outside the confines of the website. While social media monitoring tools can help fill this tracking void, this is an area that still leaves a lot of room for improvement. From an SEO perspective, content sharing tools play a critically important role. It is no secret that Google and Microsoft are in a mad dash to figure out how to effectively integrate the millions of conversations that are going on within social networks each day into their organic ranking algorithms. Some initial attempts include mixing social conversations in to the organic search results for time-sensitive searches. While interesting, there is a long way to go. What we don't see is the fact the search engines are updating their algorithms to consider these conversations as a way to filter public sentiment about a brand or event. In recent history, the SEO world has relied on the inbound link as its currency for site authority, but it is plausible that day to day ramblings from the universe of social networking users may take over this role. The ways that companies actively engage and how well they facilitate content sharing in social media will be integral in shaping the way that search engines assess their authority in the years to come.

  • 3 min read
  • May 5, 2010

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