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The Social Search Sky is Falling! (No, it isn't)

I am seeing quite a bit of panic over social search, and I am seeing quite a bit of excitement over it. I don’t really understand the panic aspect- but then again, anything that makes the end user experience better, I have trouble finding fault with. From a marketing and public relations perspective- the happier the consumers are, the more they spend. This absolutely holds true with marketing as well, and especially when it comes down to SEO. To really explain why I do stand where I do on social search not being that much of a hit to SEO as it stands, I’ll have to go into some of the more commonly expressed concerns.

Nikos Anagnostou claimed in a blog titled Is Social Search a Threat To SEO that Google had “Shot itself in the foot”. While I can somewhat understand some of the views expressed here, I don’t really share them. He brings up two trends that could be seen as connected, but the association is more correlative, less causation, I feel. The questions that Anagnostou brings up here are important, though- and this is why I feel like some of the blogs and articles that are nay saying social search may be useful. He posits,

“Search won’t go away anytime soon, especially with the social element in it. But what would be the need for SEO? And what would be the need for adword advertising, if the important factor in search results turn out to be your peers?”

And I believe this is where social media marketing steps up to the bat with gusto. Search engine algorithms being as they are- relevance is going to continue to be a key factor in ranking and as such, the need for SEO adapting to the new integration of social search much more important. To me, this opens up a much wider spectrum of exposure, backed by a greater level of brand knowledge and trust- so, this is a very good thing. Sure, if you were looking at solely ranking, you might be a little intimidated, but when you take it a step further from the marketing room to the accounting room- I believe that businesses are going to see more hits translating into sales.

I think right now it is probably a little premature to begin getting nervous about the social search implications on SEO. It seems to me, and this is something I have always believed- SEO is really means to an end, and as vastly as the internet search environment has changed even in the past few years, we’ve had to adapt and change. I don’t see any difference at all in social search, here, apart from it fostering a greater level of brand to consumer and consumer to brand communication and really enriching both- and as a byproduct, SEO as well.