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What Influences The SEO Landscape Today?

I recently wrote an article for our November Newsletter and thought to make a mention of it before most of us go on leave for the Christmas Holidays.

What Influences The SEO Landscape Today? talks about how quickly our online world has changed and the role that SEO still plays. If you are finding it hard to stay ahead and don’t know too much about how Social Media is integrated these days, then I suggest you have a read. Enjoy.

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Bing & Google in a Race to Conquer Social Search

Only a few hours after Microsoft announced deals with Twitter and Facebook to integrate real time data into Bing’s search results, Google’s Marissa Mayer announces at the Web 2.0 Summit that Google Social Search will be launching in the coming weeks.

There has been so much said about this in the last 24 hours, and it is hard to keep up with all the blogs, news and article mentions. Let me try and summarize quickly…

Yesterday Microsoft announced sealed agreements to access real-time content from social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to boost search engine results in Bing. According to Microsoft executives at a presentation at a San Francisco Internet conference, Bing is hoping to take on current dominant search leader Google in the sphere of Social Search and will have access to Twitter’s entire store of public data in real time as well as content from social networking site Facebook. At the same conference, it was also announced that a standalone Twitter search service will be offered at Bing, with some ranking technology other than sort by date involved, and that shortened URLs will be expanded. And finally, there would be some integration within the regular Bing service itself.

Only a few hours later, Google’s Marissa Mayer announced Google Social Search will be launching in the coming weeks. This feature will allow you to see results for queries from people in your social network and will work only via your own Google Profile. In your profile, if you add add links to social networks you’re a member of, such as FriendFeed or Twitter, Google will scan who you are connected to and give your results from those people which will then be integrated in to regular results. Google emphasised their goal of creating the most comprehensive, relevant and fast search and believe that their search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data, looking forward to having a product showcasing how tweets can make search better in the coming months.

There has been such talk for some time and even though Bing (MSFT) beat Google to it by first announcing the integration of real-time data into search results, it is clear that this move from both indicate what the future of Search holds for us. Social Integration. Real-time data in Search results! This indicates the importance of consumer perception and the value of comments made by the average consumer and the trust they have regarding brands and products.

This is somewhat confirmed by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg saying that The Future is Social, Not Search. While Google is by far Facebook’s biggest rival in terms of Paid Advertising, it was clear that no love is lost between Google and Sheryl Sandberg, an ex-Googler. Sandberg said that Facebook is leading the net from the information age to the social age, where people will be finding their important answers not through Google but through their friends. As for search, Sandberg said Google would still have a place in the future, even if it’s not very big.

The face of search is indeed going to change and the race to be there first is definately on. The next days, weeks and months will be very interesting.

How will consumer behaviour affect search and the ranking relevance of brands and products in the SERP’s?

My personal prediction is that this affect won’t be seen immediately, but that it will slowly take affect as both Search Engines integrate real time data over the coming months.

For me, the future of Search will neither be Search, nor Social. The future of Search will be “Social Search” – Integrated Real-Time Search, (hopefully) relevant, updated results, as it happens.

How Bing and Google will control what is included in the search results will be interesting to see, but this can only be a good thing for companies doing Online Reputation Management. Hopefully businesses and corporates will be forced to operate in the social spaces more to not only control the conversations, but also add to it, or respond.

Resources:

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Are you a social media addict?

Good Morning World!

Whilst putting together a social media presentation a week back, i stumbled across an awesome video on YouTube(see below). Its a Sony Vaio advert but incorporates a SMAA (Social Media Addicts Association) meeting. It made me think, could this be possible, in the near future will some of us (me included) become social media addicts. We can already look at global statistics and come to the conclusion that Social Media is definitely growing at a rapid rate!

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Top Brands in the hot seat

If you are one of the lucky few that have managed to book a ticket for the Mega Brand Forum tomorrow you will have a front row seat to all the action, insights and tips on how brands like Sun International, Avis Rent A Car, FNB, BP Southern Africa, and BMW got those awards.

If however, you won’t be able to be there you can still catch a piece of the action, by following our live tweets and blog updates. So tune in tomorrow and find out the success stories from 5 of South Africa’s Top Brands.

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“Twittify” your company

Twitter

Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows you to answer the question: “what are you doing?”, by sending short message 140 characters in length, called “tweets” to your friends or “followers”.

Why do people use twitter?

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Twitter 101: How To Get More Twitter Followers

Want more people to follow you on Twitter? I was looking for tasteful Twitter strategies on how to get more people to follow me the other day, and I came across a horde of uninspiring articles offering just that: Tips on how to get more people to follow you on twitter. Continue reading

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More Changes to Facebook

The next 12 months will see changes made to Facebooks privacy policy after agreeing to give users more control over their privacy settings. Changes will include clarification as to why Facebook needs users personal information, a new authority system for 3rd party aps and more information regarding deletion of accounts.

With huge amounts of information circling the web these days I’m sure these changes will be welcome ones. Sky News brings you more details.

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Monash Business Communication Forum – Digital Communication

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the second Monash Business Communication Forum hosted by Monash University and Stone. The forum focused on digital communication as an essential part of business communication.
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The Journal of Marketing spread their wings

The Journal of Marketing; Advertising; Media; and Branding is the official publication of the Marketing Association of South Africa MA(SA) and provides cutting edge reporting on all issues pertaining to the important marketing discipline.

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Changes to Facebook Search

Earlier this week Facebook announced some significant changes to the way users can search on their site. Users are now able to search for comments that friends have made in the last 30 days. In addition you can also find out what any users with a public profile are saying about a particular topic or news events.
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