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Google Becomes More Social And It’s Hurting Your Business

Conversations in bars and dinner parties about who is right or wrong are often solved by the smart phone being drawn from the pocket or handbag with a subsequent mobile search on “Lord Google” with the question being answered from Wikipedia or another website with authority. Problem solved… using a blunt mobile instrument without a fight breaking out at the bar or the tipping of wine into someone’s lap.

Google becomes more social

The online search industry is embedded in our daily lives with up to 90% of all buying decisions starting with an online search and 89% of all clicks through to  a website occurring from websites that appear on the first page of Google.

Google has been with us for over 10 years now (the company started in 1998) and has just announced a continuing evolution of its search algorithms to maintain its relevancy and that includes more integration with social media that has been occurring since 2009, though you may not have noticed. Google has also added other tweaks such as increasing visibility and ranking for content that is more recent and this puts fresh unique content right in the frame and blogs are essential for companies to maintain  regular published online content.

If you haven’t taken close notice of  Google’s search page recently beyond just looking at your results, just take a look down the left side when you do a Google search and you will notice this refined search banner that has 5 social network elements.

5 Major Social Media Elements In Google Search

  1. Images (which includes social media channels such as Flickr)
  2. Videos (which includes a well known social network YouTube”)
  3. Realtime (this is the feed from Twitter.another social media channel you may have heard of but conveniently renamed by Google)
  4. Discussions (this highlights social channels including forums)
  5. Blogs (another social web platform)

Google’s Latest Announcement

Google has included some significant changes in its latest announcement including

  • Increasing the priority and prominence of search results from platforms such as Twitter, Flickr and Quora (a new social network kid on the block)
  • Blending results throughout the page instead of only at the bottom
  • Adding friends social media interactions into search results

This is done by an annotation system that lets you know when a friend has shared a specific link or search result. If your friend writes a blog about how to create honey, that result will have an annotation that your friend has “shared this,” either via Google or through one of Google’s three major social integrations.

This will produce a massive increase in social results appearance in search with friends results turning up in if they have tweeted a reference to that particular search term. You can also connect your Google account to social networks like Twitter if you choose either publicly or privately as you may not want to reveal that you are a @spongebobsuperfan on Twitter.

Google On How It Works On YouTube

What Are The Implications For Business?

The implication for business from the latest announcement and the continuing refinements is that if you want to increase your chances of appearing high in a Google search, that just pursuing a SEO link strategy is not going to be as successful as in the past.

It is now a necessity and a priority to be participating on the major social media channels or you are reducing your brands chances of “being found online” high up on search results.

If you are not active on social media because you think it’s all hype then you may be damaging your business because Google is making social search a priority and your potential customers will find it increasingly hard to find you when they do their next online search and you can’t be found.

The reality is that social media integration into search is here to stay and you need to learn the rules of the new social web or you will reduce your organisations visibility and no one wants to be invisible unless you are a super hero or a dinosaur.

More Reading

Why Being Big on Twitter And Facebook Is Important To Google

10 Facts Reveal The Importance of Ranking High In Google

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • While I am not exactly in favor of social search taking over Google’s results, I can see the reasoning behind it, and most importantly I can see why businesses should focus on their social presence now more than ever.
    I’ll go as far as to say it may be even too late for that, of course it’s a provocation but the point is, as I often say, social media isn’t an option anymore, more like an essential element that every business should implement since its birth.

  • Great post Jeff. I don’t quite understand how it is “hurting your business though”. That it now comes down to you doing well on social networks too to rock, isn’t that a good thing? Hmm, now that I read through it again, I believe you predicate it upon many businesses that solely rely on SEO and the like, that makes a lot of sense.
    Thanks for sharing, let me buffer this. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment Leon. Yes, you are right that I have predicated the post on the fact that a lot of businesses are using SEO only to rank high in Google. The impact of the social web is that SEO is not a one trick pony anymore and you need to be ubiquitous on social media..be everywhere with unique content. Cheers

    • davidquaid

      Maybe this: What if you’re an accountant? I don’t want to be friends with my accountant on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn. Anywhere really…

      If only blogs that have lots of comments and shares and tweets are important – then what for people who aren’t thought leaders? What if they just work hard?

      What if you’re a really good artist or engineer or solicitor but you also have a life outside of twitter/fb? Should your more extroverted competitor outrank you?

      — just thinking —

  • Thanks for sharing this information an taking the time to explain it. I am very slowly starting to gain an understanding of why social media is becoming so important to businesses.

  • Google has been focused on emphasizing the quality of content in their search results. They have been talking about this on their blog for some time. The recent series of algorithm changes pissed off some people, but was effective in reducing the influence of content farms. The only people upset at these changes tend to be the old school SEO guys who liked to “game the system” to get their sales heavy/content weak websites ranking on page one of Google. Search is coming into its own and it is because of social media.

    • Thanks for the comment. I have heard that Google is reducing the value of links in its algorithm and also adding importance to traffic (which you can’t fiddle with) and I think you will see the SEO value of social to continue to increase so you cannot afford to ignore the value of great content distributed on social channels.

    • davidquaid

      I agree with you Joseph: the content farms and ridiculous scale of link building is absurd. Call me naive, but I’ve never been a fan of link chasing tools like Moz or Ahrefs or Majestic ( I said fan, I’m not trying to flame anyone.)

      There are SEO’s who’ve been blogging and guest blogging and “earning” links and I’m delighted with Panda – just why did it take so long!

      But I’m not overly enthused with Social in Search. They’ve tried and dropped many things – e.g. twitter live search (well, twitter killed it!) – the G+1 share in serps (before you’ve visited the site???) and the “you, your mom and your fake puppy account +1’d this site. you have have 3 +1’s” grey link you get when you’re signed in!

  • I like that social search results are growing. It means we will get the most relevant and current info. It also tells us that if a company wishes to rank they must be interacting with customers.

    Thanks for the great article,

  • davidquaid

    {Groan} Social Media can be easier to spam than links (although they don’t necessarily scale as quickly). I dont see much impact/value but I do envisage the delight for social media types. Some might actually need hospitalising due to overhype….

  • davidquaid

    Social Media profiles have always ranked well – ask anyone in reputation SEO! I don’t think that this is what Google mean.

    Google a business, “e.g. Coca Cola” – notice they list the Facebook page but have “scraped” the fan count!