Search Is Information Based
There are two primary ways a digital participant finds content across the digital cloverleaf (paid, owned, earned, social properties). One scenario is to initiate a search using a popular search engine such as Google.
Most recently Google has tweaked their algorithm to reward authority and quality of content as opposed to what is considered to be of lesser quality such as link farms. This move presents an opportunity to communications professionals and who can provide quality content which can land in a respected earned media property which wields authority. Search activities are usually information driven meaning a digital participant is seeking specific information. The results of their targeted searches which are increasingly ranked by authority and quality dictates what they will amplify to their own networks using either e-mail or a variety of social platforms to spread the information.
Social Is Influence Based
Media is also found (and talked about) on a variety of social platforms ranging from blogs, message boards, Twitter, Facebook etc. The attention of a participant is obtained typically through a “stream” or “friend” of a connection. Media is then digested and shared generating conversations. If enough conversations are generated, these result in the formation of signals which register across the digital media cloverleaf. In this scenario, digital participants are influenced by their connections to digest, amplify and discuss media.
Search & Social Intersect
Search & social do not exist independently, but co-exist in a dependent fashion. For example, it’s common practice for journalists of respected media outlets to monitor and even source conversations which occur on social properties. An article on an influential media outlet citing the source of the conversation can in turn can affect the search results of a specific phrase. The opportunity exists through targeting what participants are searching for and pursuing strategies which generate the right kind of conversations around these topics. In addition to conversations, the right kind of content can also be picked up. Every initiative in digital needs to integrate how search and social relate to each other around a specific topic and category which you wish to influence.
Aggregate, Curate & Syndicate
A sample scenario: A competitor launches their competing product generating targeted signals which register on the Web. Digital participants search specific phrases to find information and news articles on the launch while simultaneously conversations across social and digital media properties erupt. Results in search and social begin to influence what a participant thinks (the consideration loop begins). Analysis of search engine rankings targeting specific search queries is initiated. Insights and data are converted into a communications and engagement plan designed to create a set of new signals. Communications and engagement initiatives are launched across the entire digital cloverleaf (paid, owned, earned etc.) and syndicated leveraging partnerships. If communications and engagement initiatives take hold, increased activity across networks resonate and search rankings become positively affected. The combined results in search and social can now influence what a digital participant pays attention to and takes action against. The process is repeated as new signals are monitored.
This is how search and social can and will work together.