Although founded back in 2009, Google has now launched major updates to its Social Search facility, which integrates information from Twitter, Flickr and Quora throughout its search engine.
The image below shows what I discovered today with my own site having been shared by Twitter, albeit by one of my own twitter accounts.
For further reading on the subject see Mashable’s Google Social Search post here and TechCrunch’s Google Social Search post here. Mashable makes particularly pertinent comments in respect of Facebook being shut out of this procedure, perhaps in salute to views of the grandfather of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, who noted that sites like Facebook are creating blackholes in the web:-
One thing this update doesn’t include is Facebook “Like” data, a prominent feature of Microsoft Bing. Unlike Google, Bing has access to instant personalization and the user data behind Facebook’s walled garden. As one of Google’s archenemies, it’s unlikely the search giant gave much serious thought to deep Facebook integration, instead choosing Quora, Flickr and Twitter as its inaugural integrations.
Nevertheless, perhaps this is a chance for Facebook to bring itself out of the black hole and help search engines better organise the world’s information.
What does this mean for SEO?
For SEO consultants, this is big news. It means that while linking via websites and blogs is still important to get your website to rank in the search engines, it is also important to get linking and sharing via social media.
For law firms, Kevin O’Keefe, owner of LexBlog, has a particularly apt message in his blog post on social media use for SEO purposes. He notes:-
Google’s highlighting social media makes a lot of sense if you think about it. What are you apt to trust more – random search results from Google or content shared or produced by those you trust within your social network?…
The prioritizing of social search is growing evidence that change is on the way. Social media is becoming more and more important to lawyers and law firms.
How can law firms adapt?
Law firms and lawyers are and indeed have been embracing social media for some time now. Nevertheless, there are still some traditional practices that believe that having their law firm’s website is enough and that they can allow it to remain dormant with no updating content and no social signals being given via social media to the search engines.
Those times have changed. It’s time to get social.
WardblawG is run by Gavin Ward, a social media and SEO consultant, working with Stephen Moore of Moore Legal Technology to deliver a first-class social media, SEO and blogging service to law firms in Scotland and England. Contact Gavin Ward for further information.