The Science of Search, Google and Social Signals: New Whitepaper, Now

Published on April 2, 2013

We're mighty excited to unveil a new (free) paper for you today that examines the intersection of Search, Google and Social signals - and provides a ton of great advice on how to optimize your search and social strategy around new changes to search algorithms and consumer sharing behaviors.

Key Highlights:

  • How Google is assessing the value of social media sharers
  • How to leverage PR and Social Media to benefit search
  • How to identify the social sharers and where they share
  • Help for brand managers to better orchestrate their teams’ talents and resources for more effective acquisition

The Science of Search, Google & Social Signals from Beyond

The Science of Search and Social – the Backstory
There have been a number of high profile (and not-so-high-profile) updates to the Google algorithm lately. While some may feel that the tinkering by engineers is random, and more just a band-aid approach to a broken system, there is a method to the seeming madness. The method is a shift within the algorithm away from a heavy reliance on link profiles, towards a very complex social media analysis.
Temporal factors have always been important in search – the older something gets, the less relevant it may be to current events. The conflict in Georgia was an interesting example of how Google can have trouble as new papers were probably being published on the Civil War in the USA, while a conflict was erupting within a region of Russia by the same name. Google struggled to understand “Georgia conflict” searches but had less trouble with 80’s band “Katrina and the Waves” and hurricane Katrina, quickly displaying the correct search results.
Search engines such as Google evaluate a page on the web holistically. There are, for Google, over 200 factors currently being examined for each individual web page. The social element of the algorithm itself has multiple factors being examined, making it difficult to create simplistic “bot” accounts to improve search visibility. A “bot” account is one which operates without much, or at times any, human intervention. They can be as simple as looking for keywords and retweeting (RT – to resend a tweet from a different account, crediting the original account) those tweets or as sophisticated as using a series of rules to respond to, as well as RT, tweets from various accounts. Given that Google is not only looking at assessing the value of a social media user through examining interactions but also delivering content based on the likelihood that it will go ‘viral’ within a user’s network  we can see that Google is working aggressively to algorithmically determine the value of a social sharer and thus, the value of what they share.
Creating a realistic social media profile which engages and adds value is tricky, whether genuine or “bot” but when done correctly, can add more than search rankings to your brand. Using the right social media channels has always been the most difficult choice but if you have a plan, know who you want to activate and why, our “Seven Types of Social Sharer” makes it easy. Given the emphasis Google is placing on engagement based patent applications, this is going to be a vital part of search rankings.
Creating a strategy which incorporates earned and owned media is no longer a luxury. In the UK where Google owns 89% of search, and in the US where Google owns 67% of search, leveraging everything possible is essential. Businesses can no longer afford to leave anything on the table or they risk being buried by competitors who leverage everything and remove them from the top 10 results.
Focus on the right places to place content and engage, use Google+ and make sure optimization is at the core of everything you do as a business. Our whitepaper on SEO, PR and Social Media gives practical advice and strategies on how to leverage your owned and earned media effectively and efficiently  and how to make the most out of the place over 100 billion searches happen each month.
We’d love to know what you make of the new paper.  Drop a comment in the box below.
Judith Lewis on Google+