In a very eye-opening article recently posted on the site SEOMoz brought to light the fact that Google search results are now being directly impacted by the social connections of the person doing the searching. As the author of the piece astutely posints out, "This should be giving everyone in search marketing a huge "ah ha" moment."
The author of the piece, Rand Fishkin, presents this in a very clear format, showing in detail how search results are altered based on 1) if you are logged into Google and 2) whom you follow via social media.
The image below is a screenshot of a search he did while logged in to Google. You'll see the #3 listing is for someone he follows (Note the Geraldine reference and image):
Now look at the same search results AFTER he logged out of Google:
The difference is quite staggering, is it not?
As the author goes on to say, "...the reach of your social network and the sharing you do to those networks will have a substantive, possibly massive, effect on your search traffic."
Over at another site, christopherspenn.com, an article written by Mr. Penn, who is a co-founder of PodCamp with Chris Brogan, among many other things, refers to this news as "monumental" saying "If you're marketing something, there's now a direct incentive to build your network as large as possible among your prospective customers."
This is all very compelling stuff here, so much so that I wanted to get one of our own experts' opinion on all this. So I tracked down Josh Spiegel, one of our Search Marketing Managers at the Star Group for this thoughts and he hit me with this very powerful and emphatic edict, fi you will...
"If you don't have a presence in social, you'll lose your presence in search."
Now... let that sink in for a few minutes.
Sources: seomoz.org, christopherspenn.com, How Social Media Affects Search Marketing, The Star Group