SEO is Going Social: Why Social Media Is Becoming the New Search

Marketing July 3, 2015

If there is something you don’t know, you “Google it.” It has been this way for at least the past decade. This is why SEO has become more and more of a top priority for marketers worldwide over the years. Landing on that first search results page is the most awesome feat any brand can accomplish—at least it seemed to be the case considering how big the SEO industry has become in recent years.

But things are now slowly changing, and it seems that “Googling it” is no longer the only way people search for things that matter to them.

There’s an app for that

“Apps” by Pixel Fantasy on Flickr

Or an online service. Nowadays, if you want design inspirations, you’ve got Pinterest. Restaurant ideas? There’s Yelp. Looking to travel? Tripadvisor is your best bet. You see, instead of sifting through hundreds of search results on Google, it makes a lot more sense to use an app or go to a website that offers the specific service that you need. It saves you time, gets you nothing but relevant results and gives you access to reviews, which brings us to our next point:

Opinions, opinions

Hygiene Rating
“Hygiene rating” by Terry Freedman on Flickr

When was the last time you made a major purchase without reading online reviews first? If you’re like the rest of us, chances are, you even check reviews of movies, restaurants, books and everything else that matters to you before making a decision.

You can’t get this with traditional search. And the top results may not even be the best or most relevant ones. It could just mean that they are very good at doing SEO.

And then there are sponsored listings. With traditional search, brands can pay to get on top—and this is exactly why consumers are starting to veer away from paid results even in cases where they are actually the most relevant ones. People are now looking for more “genuine” results, which is why they are turning to:

Social Media

Instagram and other Social Media Apps
“Instagram and other Social Media Apps” by Jason Howie on Flickr

It’s where you go to see what people you know have to say about a brand that you are interested in—and why shouldn’t you? The opinions of your family and friends will always be more valuable to you than any search result could ever be.

Another thing social media has that traditional search results don’t is people that you can see. It is easier to trust someone with a face because we are hardwired to make assumptions on the trustworthiness of people based on their faces. There’s a whole article on it here if you wish to know more.

What does this all mean?

Some people say SEO is dead. Others stand firmly by their belief that it is thriving. Well, we say it is indeed alive, but is starting to evolve—and brands need to keep up if they want to stay relevant. Instead of focusing everything on keyword research and Google ads, for example, marketers should start to tweak their SEO approach to better capitalize on social media and niche apps and online services.

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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