I just got off the panel on The Future of Search at Search Engine Strategies San Jose. There was a bit of discussion about social media and whether SEO will still be relevant if users are spending their online time inside of social networks like Facebook and YouTube. The consensus from the panel was that SEO will still be alive and well, and that social networks offer just another venue within which searchers can conduct their queries. That makes the large social networks like Facebook into search engines. YouTube is now the #2 search engine, after all (there are more search queries on YouTube than Yahoo). Yesterday’s Mashable article, The New Search War: Google vs Facebook highlights the threat to Google that Facebook poses. It’s an interesting read. The point in all this: optimizing for better visibility in search engines, whether Google or Facebook, isn’t going away.
Not only does social media provide another venue for searching, it serves as an invaluable tool to the SEO practitioner, specifically for link baiting. It’s link building on steroids. The value lies specifically in the social news and social bookmarking sites (Digg, StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, etc.). If you make it to the front page of Digg, the visibility you get in front of the “linkerati” (e.g. bloggers and journalists) is invaluable. I describe a process for seeding link bait into social media in my Search Engine Land article The Social Media Underground. A word of caution: be respectful of the social community. Don’t submit junk, don’t spam your friends with vote requests, and don’t bait-and-switch.
A few months back at the eMetrics Summit, I was interviewed by Web Marketing Today about this whole process, and some other things. Here is the video: