One of the biggest undertakings in recent search engine history is Google’s current Social Search option on Google+ that allows people to query posts and content on G+ profiles. An arguably revolutionary step in a world where link signals have always ruled search engine results.
However, as Google reveals its intention to incorporate these new social signals in normals search results, many are saying that not only might this new practice leave these types of results vulnerable to all the old methods of spamming and exploitation that plagued traditional search queries in the past, but also could unfairly warp the the rankings of sites, and the relevance of the content we’re exposed to.
Birth of ‘Search Plus Your World’
Many have said that SPYW came as strategy to kick start the popularity of the G+ social network, that had been having some trouble getting a big influx of members compared to social network giants Facebook and Twitter.
Adding this unique feature has definitely differentiated them from competitors and added a whole new dimension of SEO to the social marketing industry. But many question how it helps bring better quality content to web users.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the possible consequences that may result from Google focusing more on this type of search strategy.
Social SEO Will Become a Requirement For Any Site
While these signals will supposedly only affect the logged-in users there have been talks of a certain degree of ranking bias for sites that not only have G+ accounts but also practice social SEO.
Those sites or companies with rigorously active social marketing campaigns will have more social signals, and appear to have a more relevant web presence and richer content and begin ranking higher.
And even though social results will be distinct from regular search results they will still be taking up that space on the page and discouraging people from looking further down the result pages if the wording of their search didn’t return anything meaningful on the first page.
The incorporation of social signals will likely attract all manner of spammers, whose methods had been close to extinction with the current ranking algorithm. On other social networks such as Facebook, spam can be easily avoided, ignored or reported but if these posts start being indexed they will subject to the same weighting as any other content on the Google+ site.
Automated scripts could be written and implemented across thousands of profiles allowing specific content and links to be spread in massive frequency all over the G+ network, making those sites seem like relevant results again.
While your social connection’s opinions and links are certainly of some importance to you when navigating the internet, one has to wonder to what extent we want these opinions to dictate what we’re exposed to online.
A lot of the time public opinion and best practices might be a bit beyond those you’re friends with on G+. The quality of the content you get will start to depend on who you’re connected to on those networks. It may end up narrowing our scope of the data on the internet entirely.
To what extent SPYW will affect our everyday search results is still only being debated. It may in the end, provide an entirely novel way of exploring the web and exposing oneself to content. What can’t be argued though is that it will certainly provide a new playing field for people active in SEO and Social Media marketing.