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Google’s New SEO Algorithm: ‘Social Engine Optimization’

EDIT: I was listening to an episode of TWiT three days ago and the end result of the controversy is exactly what I outline in the latter part of this post.

As of last week, most of your SEO tactics are rendered obsolescent. Somewhat.

Last year, Google’s top level mandate was “to go social.” And that reflected havily on Google employees with regards to performance so much so that company bonuses were to be directly associated with how Google performed in “social.” So last week, in the week of CES 2012, Google unveiled (secretly) its full blown foray into the new search algorithm making use of your social profile, starting with Google+. Google+ isn’t just a social network then. It does so much more:

– it helps Google see whether the content you post is actually yours and not scraped from somewhere else. How does it know which sites are yours? Well, your G+ profile under “About Me.” See the image on top? It says I contribute to A Bugged Life, NUDI (our SCUBA site), and Geekout (I write there once in a while). I’m not sure if this can be gamed — like I can ask 100 friends to say that they write on my blog to increase SERP, but then again this new tailored search feature will show different results depending on the account you hold. In other words, if you ask an SEO guy to work on your site and he gives you a screenshot of your blog on the first page of Google, that may be true for his or her account, but you may see something completely different. That’s how powerful the implications are for this new method. So be aware.

– it looks at other popular social sites (in this case Twitter and Flickr) and sees whether you own accounts currently signed in to. It links several popular social networks to G+ including Flickr, Twitter, Quora, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo!, and more. I hope it starts linking Tumblr and Pinterest soon. This makes me wonder whether sites like Path and Instagram should have official web versions for showing content (apart from Followgram) so they can get linked and indexed.

– Your “SEO” is only as good as how engaging you are with your content. There you have it — that is still the core ideal of “relevant content” but this time tied to your friends and what they share as well. If you +1 something, it means that you’re going to want more of that in your search results. In the same way, if you spam a friend, he or she can easily un-friend you and that’s it — bye bye social graph. Talk about tailored search.

– This new algorithm allows you to flourish in your preferred social space (as long as you have a Google+ profile HAHA!) whether it be a blog, Twitter, Quora, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. In other words, “blogging” is not the foundation of Web 2.0 (or whatever it’s called nowadays).

In short, for those of you saying that Google+ is useless and boring compared to Facebook, think again. Your site’s SEO will be determined by how much time you’ve invested in G+, the type of friends that you have, and what they share. Welcome to the new search. Now stop selling links.


That is how I understand it. I’d love to see how social search unfolds in the next few weeks and months. Comments, reactions most welcome.