Google, social search and the future of online PR

by Louis Venter 22 March 2010 Guest posts, SEO

In my opinion, one of the key areas of concern within SEO circles is the enormous amount of SEO fodder that is being pumped into the internet to influence search rankings.

This doesn’t seem to be stopping either, with new services being launched to “rewrite” vast amounts of articles and distribute them online becoming almost mainstream.

At SES London recently the content was described as “not Pulitzer-prize winning”. I would go as far to say that a great deal of it is complete and utter crap that does nothing to build a client’s brand or reputation.

Now while I don’t believe that all of these articles currently hold the same value within Google’s algorithm, I do think their search quality team will attempt to address this problem as quickly as they can. The main question, though, is how.

My gut feeling is that they will use a social footprint to establish whether or not to count the link love to the destination website. They already have deals with Twitter and Facebook to crawl their posts in near-real time, and with these two platforms being two of the primary sources of content sharing at the moment it gives Google a fairly accurate picture.

Google will obviously have to address Twitter spam, which seems to be rife at the best of times. Given their early attempts at real-time search, they clearly don’t have a handle on how to measure social influence accurately, but these are early days after all.

Which brings me round to Buzz. Despite the obvious privacy issues, Google has placed a lot of resource into Buzz and this shows their hand a great deal in my opinion. I would not be at all surprised if Buzz was aimed at delivering a social footprint for the search quality algorithm. One obvious use for this data would be to separate the signal from the noise in online PR.

What should SEOs be doing to counter this?

Well, firstly, the rules of PR haven’t changed. Write great informative pieces of content that will attract links on their own. Make sure that these pieces of content are easily shareable and Tweetable and promote the content in the same way as you would promote your client’s site. Understand that everything you do is online PR and not just writing. The PR aspect of that is key.

If you manage to do this successfully, and Google do manage to clear out the noise, you will be sitting very pretty indeed.

Tags: , , , , ,