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Moran on mixing social marketing, search

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Mike Moran is chief strategist with digital marketing agency Converseon (www.converseon.com) and the co-author with Bill Hunt of “Search Engine Marketing Inc.” (IBM Press, 2005). Hands On: Search asked Moran about the confluence of social marketing and search.

HOS: Google's search results will increasingly be influenced by comments from a user's social circle. Does this mean all we've learned about SEO will become worthless?

Moran: Of course not. Quality content will always be found. This change just means Google decides content quality based on social interactions, not just links. If your content is truly relevant, tweaks to the ranking algorithm won't usually have a huge impact. Spammers will suffer a bit more because their attempts to fool the search-ranking algorithms are susceptible to any change in the way search engines rank search results.

HOS: If I republish the same content on several platforms, such as blogs and social networks, am I hurting my search visibility?

Moran: Publishing the exact same pages in multiple places won't help your search rankings. Google will probably show just one of the pages and ignore the others. Linking to the same content from multiple places is a great idea, however.

HOS: What are the big changes you expect search engines to undergo over the next five years?

Moran: I think search increasingly will be used as the innards of new applications, rather than as an application by itself. You can see some glimmers of this with YouTube, where search is a feature. Don't be surprised to see many searches become automatic, as with Google Alerts, where the searches occur constantly to keep you informed. So searches will increase a lot faster than searchers, with robots doing the heavy lifting.

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