Google has announced that Google+ results are now going to be found in Google search results.
This is very interesting to me because it continues to blur the lines of what search engine marketing truly is. It wasn't long ago that the lines were neatly drawn and everything was separate and segregated. That made things a lot easier.
But easier isn't always better. Blurring these lines makes sense from a user perspective. And so it is for the overall betterment of the web landscape. That said, this blurring makes things more complicated and difficult for the search marketer.
"Today, we're including public Google+ posts as well. So if you're signed into your Google Account, your search results may start including posts shared publicly by people you're connected to on Google+."
As search engine marketing evolves, I expect to see continued integration of social media signals throughout standard search results. While I don't believe it is the case today, I would not be surprised to see a day where social media sharing becomes a stronger algorithm criteria signal than traditional links.
I think this is a real possibility simply because a very small percentage of the overall web community publishes traditional content. So link popularity has been in the hands of a very small group of people. By using signals from the social media realm, it greatly increases the overall base of people contributing to a site's link popularity.
What this means to you, as a web marketer, is that you are going to have to engage in the social media world. And I'm not talking about just auto-generating content that no one is interested in. To succeed in search engine optimization from a social media perspective, you are going to have to create a social media presence that is interesting and engaging. And interesting and engaging is not easy.
For those that are willing to do it, this is a great opportunity. As search engine optimization continues to become more complicated and a harder system to game, that makes the landscape more interesting. Yes, you will have to work harder to get good results. But there are going to be fewer people that you ultimately will have to compete with.
Every time the search engines make search engine optimization more difficult, another round of people give up and do something else. For people that are genuinely interested in contributing to the web community, this is great news. There is simply less spam to have to deal with.
This piece of news continues to push search engine marketing into the realm of social media. It is yet another reason why you cannot ignore social media. Ignoring social media ultimately will mean you are ignoring search engine optimization. And really, you are ignoring people. I just don't see how a five-year business plan does not include an aggressive social media strategy.
What do you think? Is social media as important as I'm making it out to be? Or do you think social media is an optional business component?
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Sage Lewis is the president of SageRock Digital Marketing. SageRock has been a leader in Web marketing since 1999, offering search engine optimization, paid search marketing, social media marketing, and analytics.
Sage speaks nationally with SES and other prominent Web marketing organizations. He is one of the most sought after speakers and coaches in the field of Web marketing. From coast to coast, Sage has trained, coached, and consulted with some of the largest brands and conferences in the country.
Sage is also "The Web Marketing Video Guy" with nearly 500 Web marketing videos published. Sage writes as an expert for ClickZ in the "Search Engine Marketing" section. He lives in Akron, Ohio with his wife, Rocky, and son, Indiana.
His columns can be found in the Search Engine Watch archive.
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