Marketing & Advertising

Social Media Sites Are Also Search Engines

Blended search results by the major search engines sometimes include postings to social media sites in search engine results. But some of the major social media services are themselves becoming search tools, which increases the need for ecommerce sites to get involved with social media.

Let’s look at Twitter and its internal search. Because of Twitter’s character limitation for each post, there’s not a lot of room for extended information. You have 140 characters to define your focus and spell out your thoughts. While it may not have been the initial intent, the affect of this limitation has been to make Twitter a link-sharing interface. What’s more, the links are often surrounded by keywords that directly reference the link. Because of this tendency, Twitterers are using Twitter search to find information, usually with corresponding links.

Facebook Improving Its Search Functionality

Now Facebook is entering into foray of search. A recent post to the Facebook blog represents this in saying, “Today, we’re beginning to test new versions of Facebook Search with a small group . . . [who will be] able to find content from the people, organizations and public figures that matter to [members] as soon as they share it on Facebook . . .” The post continues, “The people around us are a powerful source for finding information about new and interesting information — from the latest on last night’s episode of ‘The Office’ and suggestions on what to do for your next vacation to current events.”

Other social media entities, including LinkedIn, have similar internal search functionality. The point here is that ecommerce merchants, and anyone doing business on the Internet, need to expand their search engine optimization tactics to include major social media sites. That is not to imply that the importance of Google, Yahoo! and Bing is diminished, but rather that there are new search engines to add to the mix.

Include Relevant Keywords

Your website should not only have a presence in Twitter and Facebook, but also offer information there in such a way that it is searchable within those entities. If you’re posting to Twitter and including a link, say, to new products on your website, make sure to surround that link with keywords. The same thing applies to Facebook; make your postings count by using keywords relevant to the post.

This implies keyword research, and to date there are not a lot of research tools specific to social media sites. But, information can be extrapolated from traditional keyword research tools as well as some emerging tools, such as TweetVolume, which allows users to determine the frequency of various words on Twitter.

In short, think of Twitter and Facebook not only as social media sites, but also as social search engines.

Jeff Muendel
Jeff Muendel
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