Google knows they are the monster search engine.
They also know that it is humans doing the searches (I mean who else would?). They also know that they want money. (They don’t want to lose their bazillion dollars they get every year.) So they want humans to stay at their monster search engine.
Humans come to the Internet to find answers. Great answers, relevant answers, answers that make sense to their searches and answers that aren’t just trying to sell you something. So Google tries to create these algorithms that work hard in trying to find these human searchers the best of the web.
Notoriously there have been humans that cheat the search engine system by leaving crappy, fast links anywhere and anywhere. These links lead to crappy content mostly for sales purposes. Google used to look at these links and say “wow! That site/blog is way popular! I’m gonna be sure to let people know they rock by putting them at the top of my search results.” It didn’t take long for Google to figure out what was going on. So through the years Google and these crap content creators played a little game of who can outsmart who.
I think Google is winning the game and is giving favor to people who actually care about sending out good quality content, like many bloggers do and even sales sites I know. But how does Google separate the two? I think they use word of mouth, Internet style. Who is interacting with whom? Who is being mentioned and where? Not unlike real life. It’s who you know that helps you get to the top. In this case the top of search results.
How does Google discover and measure these relationships?
The answer is simple: social media, guest posting and bloggers linking to each other. The 3 best strategies to not only get a site noticed by Google but get people to notice too.
Sure Google will still give some recognition to bookmarking, commenting and forum interaction BUT these are only one way relationships; Google can tell it is just a link placed there by one person. Sort of like someone yelling on a soap box “look at me, I have something to say.” When a link from a blog is actually placed within a blog post, in the content, where only the author has access, this is the equivalent to a referral for a job interview. That blogger/writer is saying they trust this person enough to give them some credit.
There is one more factor, clout. How important is that blogger/writer that is mentioning the other blogger/writer? Clout matters online. For instance, would you rather get a recommendation for a job from a senator or a mayor? Duh! The Senator! They have more clout in our society. Online is no different. Bloggers earn their clout by writing epic shit (Think Traffic) and being around for a while. You need to build that clout. And online clout is measured in Page Rank.
So to sum it up: get links within blogs from high Page Rank blogs. Guest post and get that blogger to mention you within a post. It’s golden.
What of social media?
“…social marketing activities will no longer be optional; they will be a necessary element of traffic driving success.” Search Engine Watch.
The key is to be social, that is the bottom line. Google and other search engines are watching you be social, noticing how and where. Social clout is the new way to get popular online with Google and your peers.
“We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships.”
As a blogger, I am taking Google + very serious. Google is integrating Google + within their searches. And they are taking note of who you network with and letting you know who has liked what when you search.
Above: I am networked with Ileane in many places so she shows up in my searches. Google figures if Ileane likes it, so will I.
I am also taking Twitter and Facebook serious. Google searches tell me when people I know through these social sites have shared that link. I am assuming they see me when they search also. It is purely the power of word of mouth in action here.
No More SEO vs. Social Media?
When I began blogging it almost felt like SEO and Social Media were worlds apart. Bloggers wondered where to start, I did. It was SEO vs. Social. What is evolving is a mesh of both. It makes work so much easier for bloggers.
It will be a beautiful partnership.
Ana Hoffman has a great article on this subject also:
So why does Google even care about quality? Because people want relevance and quality. And it’s people that search.