We’ve written previously about Google’s Panda updates and how they are moving search algorithms away from some of the more mystical elements of SEO (backlinks, keyword density, meta-tags, and the like) and more toward good, usable content—in other words, Panda is moving humans and spiders closer together. Sounds like a weird night at the zoo, actually.
A big part of this shift is the inclusion of social signals in search algorithms. This more or less started with Panda, but we expect social signals will become an increasingly important part of the picture in future updates. Google’s rollout of its +1 feature shows that they are clearly thinking along these lines.
With the impending public rollout of Google+, Google’s new social media offering (expected on or around July 31), Google is looking to leverage its dominance of the search market into a ready-made sharing platform that will tighten the links between search and social even further.
The bottom line is that Google wants to ensure that high-quality websites are appearing at the top of their SERPs, and have recognized that tapping into the billions of social signals that already exist across the web is a great way to help do that.
Good content appeals to people, not to bots.
No one shares a content farm with their friends or Tweets about the wonderful hidden keywords on a website.
But a great, engaging site with good design, easy navigation, and compelling, informative content? It will absolutely get shared.
In the future, it looks like search and social are headed to some fairly tight degree of integration. This is what Google+ is all about. And don’t be surprised if Facebook gets into the search game in the same way Google’s getting into the social game. Something like Yahoo is going to look awfully tempting once Mark Zuckerberg’s got billions of IPO dollars burning a hole in his pocket…
By harnessing the power of social signals to search, Google will be ensuring that good websites (i.e., websites that get to the top of the SERPs) are designed for people, not for search engines. And in the end, that’s good for everyone. Except maybe black hat SEOs.