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SASCON 2012 : Understanding the Role of Social in Search

Panel discussion; Speakers include:-

  • Andy Betts, Digital & Marketing, Strategist @andybetts1
  • Bas van den Beld, Search & Social Strategist & State of Search @basvandenbeld
  • Martin Macdonald, SEO Strategy Director, Expedia @searchmartin
  • Paddy Moogan, SEO Consultant, Distilled @paddymoogan
  • Kevin Gibbons, Director of Strategy, SEOptimise @kevgibbo

Will link building die as a result of social signals in search?

  • It wont die but will dwindle.
  • We are ultimately a system of nodes and edges.
  • Its easy to manipulate search results using links, but screwing with the social graph is much harder to do.
  • If you only have social signals and no links, then it will look as unnatural as loads of links with no social.
  • For one project we saw that after building up social signals, ranking result stabilised.
  • It can be easy to manipulate social signals artificially because there are much more variants.
  • This type of artificial ecosystem will still sit separately from the rest of the world, so it’s much harder to fake.
  • Using Analytics Canvas, found a 62% increase in organic traffic for clients using social. Massive decrease for clients who don’t.
  • We’re still talking about tactics rather than strategy. People forget about the audience.
  • Too many people set up social accounts and don’t do anything with them.

What will be the effect of the Bing/Facebook alliance?

  • It depends on how quickly they roll it out.
  • Google are forcing Google Plus upon people by giving people an account when you sign up for any Google product.
  • Google’s biggest mistake was not using Facebook’s data.

How do you see the future of Google plus for smaller businesses?

  • If it gets more popular, then it will be important.
    Small businesses should focus more on recommendations in general.
  • If most of your visits are from search traffic, then it makes more sense to have google plus integration rather than Facebook integration.
  • Go where your target audience is.
  • Example:
    Customised message depending on whether the tool detects if you are logged in to Facebook or Google Plus.
  • Facebook like coat hangers by C&A in Brazil.
    Facebook likes for clothes on coat hangers
  • Blackmilkclothing.com – tagged photos of you wearing the products will be added to the product pages.
  • To display your photo here simply include this tag #auroraskyelegs in a photo comment on our Facebook fan page, a photo tweet on Twitter or as a tag on your Instagram photo.
    Black Milk Facebook integration
  • There was an error on the page where Paddy was demonstrating this, wearing the leggings. Shame.
  • For retailers like Currys, having an iPad next to product with reviews might be a good way to increase in-store conversions.

Should we move away from obvious SEO guest blogs?

  • Problems happen when different parties manage different things.
  • If its easy to spot as a post written for SEO purposes, then its been done badly.
  • It should look more natural/credible.

Will agencies manipulate social sharing?

  • Yes. Marketers will always try to encourage people to share the message.
  • There will be tools available in the future that will replicate the ‘natural’ shape of social ecosystems.
  • They will be available within 6 months.

What are we actually doing?  What do we call ourselves?

  • Inbound marketing. Everyone seems to hate this term.
  • Seo? Online marketing? Holistic marketing? Digital marketing?
  • Owned media, earned and paid media?
  • We’re doing Marketing. Everyone seems happy with this definition!

What do you think the biggest threat to the industry is?

  • Everything changes anyway, tactics generally have a limited lifespan.
  • What works now wont work in 12 months time.
  • You have to be able to adapt to what works.
  • Now we have tools to find out what people are doing, we have much more information available.
  • It’s more of an opportunity than a risk.

How will it work for people who aren’t yet on social sites – e.g. My 2 year old.

  • There are social networks for 4 year olds – Moshi monsters has the highest average visit count.
    Moshi monsters - social network for children
  • You will never be able to fake a natural social profile.
  • Ralf disagrees – it’s easy to get real people to connect with a bot without them realising it.
  • There are tools that can locate people around you, male or female with single status on their Facebook profile.
  • Kids often don’t understand how dangerous it can be to publish their data.

To find out how PushON research & analysis services can give your company a competitive online edge, simply call 0844 967 0565 or contact us via our form.