Social Media vs. SEO

By Erik Qualman

Niall over at SimplyZesty asked Alastair McDermott of WebDoctor and I to write-up some thoughts on SEO versus Social Media in 2010.   Here’s the take I supplied:

SEO vs. Social MediaThere will be a blending of search and social. We are already seeing this with Twitter being incorporated into the Google organic results. Consumers we will be privy to a) sponsored listings b) organic listings c) social graph listings. During a purchase decision we will utilize all three of these data points – however I would strongly argue that item c – what our friends and peers think – will be “weighted” the most. We are seeing “word of mouth” transforming into “world of mouth.”

If I have my first baby and need to purchase a child seat for the car and I can see via social/search tools that 30 of my friends have purchased a child seat in the past 18 months. And, of those 30, 23 have purchased the exact same model and all have had a great experience, well then I’m going to be fairly confident in that purchase decision and I may not even look at the sponsored or organic listings.

SEO is still a vital part of any product/companies health (especially in the here and now), but as we look down the road, the simple fact is that I trust more what my friends and peers think than an algorithm. So good companies are starting to listen to what is being said in the “social sphere” and adjusting their products/services accordingly.

The full article at SimpleZesty is here:  “The Looming Battle Between SEO and Search”

A big thanks to Niall for reaching out to me as this stuff is fun!

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12 responses to “Social Media vs. SEO

  1. It will be interesting to see SEO and Social Media will converge or evolve.
    Social media is heavily biased towards our own core social group.

  2. nice post, I am waiting your next informative postings.

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  4. This is huge in my opinion. The Google social search function is going to be a real battle in my opinion for those SEOers who simply dont want to move ahead, this is really pushing us into the realms of “relevant content”. From a marketing perspective, this is great news. Recruit one person, then almost automatically recruit their friends.

    I cant wait to test this on a new concept that I am working on.

  5. Social media is heavily biased towards our own core social group. This is primarily the reason why Semantic search and the concept of Netnography is going to outweigh the keyword search in the years to come. Hence a marriage between SEO and Social Media is mandatory.

  6. What if we consider the SEO on Social Media? once the companies undestand the need to be here they will start developing better Social Media posts in order to have better results in Social Media searches.

    • Dresde:

      Agree that this will be important moving forward – to start optimizing your social media posts and presence to optimize for the eventual searches that will occur within social media itself.

      Thanks for the great comment.


  7. It will be interesting to see how SEO and Social Media will converge or evolve. I agree that you will listen to your peers and friends when making a purchase decision compared to an algorithm. But algorithms do evolve and we can see that the “social equation” has started to appear in Google though it may still be at the early stage.

    I won’t be surprised if those programmers, scientist or whatever you call them at Google, will come up in the search results based on “peer relevancy” if there is going to be such thing in the future.

    Just me and my overblown thoughts…

    • Ryan:

      Great point on the evolution and the beauty of social media is it is forcing all search engines to improve their social capabilities otherwise they become less useful.

      Best, Erik

  8. Hi Eric – This is going to be a fascinating space in 2010 isn’t it? The announcements in Dec from the search giants on realtime results has given everyone a glimpse of what is coming over the next few years but I think we are a long way from realtime being as ‘respected’ as natural SEO. Until algorithms are smart enough to know how to serve me results based on my friends, my geo location, my search history etc, it is going to be a bit hit and miss, not to mention easy to spam. However, long term, I see it as the natural successor to SEO as we currently know it.

    thnaks for sharing

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