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Should We Be Getting Excited About Social Search?

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Googleโ€™s latest changes to organic search will have a lot of marketers rubbing their hands with glee. I think a word of caution is in order, however, as I donโ€™t think itโ€™s going to have as big an impact as many theorize.ย Googleย has had a penchant in recent months of introducing features to search that rely on people having Google accounts. Not just having accounts, but also being logged into those accounts.

The latest little offering is the introduction of social search data into organic search. Up until now, this information has been available at the bottom of any set of organic search results. They will now appear within the search results themselves. There is a theory that this data will effect search results by boosting content that has been โ€˜likedโ€™ or โ€˜tweetedโ€™ by your friends on various social media sites.

Why shouldnโ€™t you get excited about this new change to Googleโ€™s search results? Because of the limitation of itโ€™s use (that is, only available to logged-in Google account holders), it is not going to achieve any significant changes in how your pages will rank. If anything, it could have a negative effect. Spammers jump on every little change like this in an attempt to lift their pages a place or two in search results.

At present, the ideal situation is one where anyone searching for information in your niche either doesnโ€™t have a Google account, or isnโ€™t logged in. Their search results will be unaffected by any spam data. Of course, if your site is an extremely popular one and you have a lot of followers who do โ€˜likeโ€™ or โ€˜retweetโ€™ your content, then you may see some gains in traffic. At present, the gain is not going to be significant enough to race out and start a social media campaign to increase your followers.

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