Good afternoon, my name is Sean McGinnis. I’m here to talk with you about how the coming together of search and social is changing both search and social…and how that combination may affect your outlook as a marketer, whether your working environment is independent, agency or in-house. First, a little bit about me. I’m an actor, but I don’t act. I’m a lawyer but I don’t practice. I’m all over social media but I don’t consult with companies about social media. Heh. I guess I’m better defined by what I don’t do that by what I actually do. Seriously though…. I spent most of the last 18 years of my life working for Thomson Reuters serving the legal space. About 10 of those years was helping law firms across the country build profitable digital marketing campaigns and web presences. I have many years of experience in sales, marketing and SEO in that space…and from 2006-2009 I led one of the largest pure SEO teams in the country. When I left that company, my team was 40 SEO consultants.
You’re probably wondering about the subtitle of this presentation. I don’t blame you…. As I think about what Google has built in terms of a search engine and how they deliver search results to consumers, it seems to me there is a very strong analogy to what happens when you go to build a building… So I thought it would be fun exercise to take a closer look at this analogy… especially since we continually talk about “social” by using terms that harken to a sense of place – by using words like community and tribe.
Before we begin the meat of today’s presentation, I’m hoping to get some perspective, and I need your co-operation to get that accomplished. Really quickly – by a show of hands – how many of you would identify yourselves in the following way: C-suite or executive Manager of teams or people Manager of projects or processes Individual contributor Switching gears, how many of you focus on the following? Marketing Social Search PPC THANK YOU!
Whether you are a marketer, someone who manages marketers, or someone who sets direction for marketing teams as an executive, one of the incredible risks we all face is getting too tactical when it comes to our marketing work. On too many occasions, I’ve seen marketers focus on tactics to the exclusion of strategy…. Beyond that, I’ve noticed a lot of times when we get so close to our individual work as marketers…..
that we miss the larger view. We miss an opportunity to see how our work fits into the bigger picture.
But if we step back and see the entirety of what we do, in context with what the business is trying to achieve, then we have better information that will help us understand our role, our place and our importance. That context can lead us in new and exciting directions, inform current projects and take them in a different direction, or simply provide us with ammunition we may need to fight for allowance to take a slightly longer view of our business challenges.
So, back to our analogy…. If you are going to go off and build a building today…what would you need? I ask you to forget about the fact that we’re talking about Google and search engine results for a few minutes, and just run with this. I promise you I’ll bring it all back together by the end of the presentation. So, I ask again…. What are the the critical categories of things you’d need to build a building?
The First thing you’d need is a set of blueprints or schematics. The building would require (depending on the size and scope of the project) and entire and various set of engineering reports and plans….
Next, you’d need raw materials (and a lot of them, right?) You’d need wood, steel, nails, screws, drywall, copper plumbing, electrical wiring, A/C chillers, an HVAC system, etc…
You’d also need to have some sense of design and functionality…. What is the form and function that this building will take. What is it’s purpose and how does that purpose inform it’s beauty, shape and form? These three are desperately intertwined…. But they exist on their own too.
So, to review…. When you’re building a house, you need a blueprint, raw materials, and you need to worry about the design, both in terms of beauty and of functionality. Again, as I think about search results and what Google has built, I see very strong analogies between their search engine results and how a building gets built. Engineering = algorithm – all the many different factors that yield great search results. Raw Materials = data. Massive sets of data. Design = search result interface or the UI or what we used to call the SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
To understand the Google algorithm, you need to understand what Google cares about.
To understand the Google algorithm, you need to understand what Google cares about.
Think about this for a minute….. THINK LIKE A SEARCH ENGINE! Someone asks you a question about something you personally know nothing about. How do you find the answer to that question? Let’s pretend you are a human search engine and you have “knowledge” of everything on the internet. You’ve “indexed” with a perfect memory. All aspects of the web. What criteria do you use to determine the best “answer” to my “question”? The first thing you want to do is be sure that what you found is relevant to the question. What are the things you might consider? Here are some examples. Next, you want to ensure that the answer you are presenting is the best answer available. You want to make sure that it is authoritative. What are the ways you can determine this? In short, that’s they was search engines worked up until very recently.
What are the raw materials of the web? How do we use the web? What functions are we regularly performing?
As you can see, there are variety of different things people do online. With the exception of the growth of social media sites, there has been very little change over time in the top activities in the last 10 years or so. Here’s the thing. These are thing we do…activities we perform. Underneath EVERY ONE of these activities is data. Massive amounts of data.
At the end of the day, it’s all about data, right? Data data data data data! NOT SO FAST! Let’s look at the different TYPES of data and how social is starting to impact the data that is being used to shape search results.
Here are a representative sample of a TYPE of data. These are the people, places and things we consumed (and still consume) every day on the web. Each of these data types have their own challenges in regard to data indexation and understanding. Each also have their own specific challenges regarding search.
But these aren’t just “data types”. Each type is really a representative label that describes specific things…..
And those specific things have relationships to each other. For the first time, we’re on the verge of taking into account the context of all this data. What is the MEANING between and among data.
Just a quick exercise. I’d like you to think for a minute. Think of all the ways you would describe yourself. What categories do you fit into. What labels would you apply? What groups do you belong to. What locations have big impacts on your life. Race, sex, age, politics, religion, college, high school, company, affiliation, memberships, credit cards, car, single, married, parent, you get the picture. I’ve taken the liberty of spending 10 minutes thinking about this myself. This is what I can up with in JUST 10 MINUTES! NOW, think about what contextual labels really exist, and not just what I’m able to conjure up out of thin air in 10 minutes. This has the potential to change everything.
Tell the Web 3.0 story.
Not only is social “affecting” all these areas of search, I believe it has the potential to “revolutionize” all three of these areas of search. I believe social will affect search the same way that steel revolutionized the building process. Steel revolutionized all three areas – materials, engineering and design. I believe social will have a similar impact on search moving forward.
The social house that google built
How Social is Changing the Search Landscape The Social House that Google Built Sean McGinnis Principal: 312 Digital Founder: 12 Most VP Sales & Marketing: DotCO
<ul><li>Relevance </li></ul><ul><li>Text </li></ul><ul><li>Meta Data </li></ul><ul><li>Relation to search terms </li></ul><ul><li>Key words in text (and location of those terms) </li></ul><ul><li>Etc, etc, etc…. </li></ul><ul><li>Authority </li></ul><ul><li># of inbound Links </li></ul><ul><li>Source of IBL </li></ul><ul><li>Authority of linking sites </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords in url </li></ul><ul><li>Etc, etc, etc… </li></ul>Which factors yield best results? Algorithm Over Time
Web Page Web Page Link What does this really tell Google? It hints at some relationship Web Page Web Page Provides context, defines relationships, gives meaning. Imagine what search will look like next! Compare Context
Social Signals in Algo In December 2010, Google & Bing confirmed they are using social signals when determining search result ranking. http://searchengineland.com/what-social-signals-do-google-bing-really-count-55389
Studies Find Correlation Two SEOmoz studies uncovered a correlation between Facebook shares and +1 votes and traffic/rank. http://www.seomoz.org/blog/facebook-twitters-influence-google-search-rankings http://www.seomoz.org/blog/do-social-signals-drive-traffic
Chicken or Egg? Correlation does not equal causation Social signals driving search results and traffic Shareable content is also linkable content One of two things… Does it matter which?
Social affecting search… Social : Search / Steel : Building
<ul><li>Ensure your content is shareable, both literally & figuratively. </li></ul><ul><li>Connect with thought leaders in your space, both online and off. </li></ul><ul><li>Resist the urge to sell…be social instead. Content that “sells” is simply never shared. Awesome social content is shared CONSTANTLY. </li></ul>Specific Recommendations
Questions? Sean McGinnis 312.970.1185 Principal 312 Digital Founder 12 Most VP Marketing DotCO http://Linkedin.com/in/SeanMcGinnis http://Facebook.com/smcginnis