And it’s not new.
It’s been going on for the past 12-18 months with things speeding up rapidly over the past few.
Let’s first understand the why Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc. are placing such an emphasis on social.
Because they realize that most humans make (buying) decisions based on what trusted people in their lives like. It’s social approval which is nothing new; it’s been around since time immemorial.
Whereas the initial iteration of search engines aimed to show the most relevant sites based on users’ search queries, using keywords as the main determinant for which sites were displayed, it has now moved well beyond that.
Google +1 is attempting to not only show you the most relevant site to your search query, but they’re striving to show you the sites that your friends have approved (if a person hits the +1 on a site, the assumption is that they approve of it).
Bing is now showing which of your Facebook friends have liked a page based on your search query.
Yelp allows users to see which of their Facebook friends have reviewed a business and easily read their reviews.
So it’s easy to see from recent industry moves why social has become so important in search engines.
But what does this have to do with improving your company’s search rankings?
The more people that +1, like or re-tweet your content, the more search engines infer that this is your target audience. The more your content is perceived by search engines to be worthy of sharing, the more you’ll be promoted in the results to those who have +1, liked or re-tweeted.
You’ll also start showing up in their friends’ results, which taps into the old adage “birds of feather flock together.”
A lot of this is still very new and much will play out over the coming months, but there’s a real opportunity for organic growth socially if companies do it right.
Since it’s every company’s goal to locate their target customer and acquire new customers through their social graph, it’d be wise to make sure that social optimization is a part of your seo strategy.