How will social search affect businesses

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Over the past few months, search engines like google and bing are integrating social into their search engines. After reading some articles on social searches, it got me thinking about what is the future of searches be? How it will affect businesses?

“Google is taking those social circle links at the bottom of the page, pumping them with social steroids, and shoving them towards the top of results pages. For the first time, social is actually going to affect Google Search in a meaningful way.”

In my personal opinion, there can be many good and bad that may come out from it. This is what I think social searches will affect:

  • Businesses will concentrate on paid ads/adwords because they can’t rank very well on search engines
  • Businesses will concentrate on social influences pay or get influencers to tweet/blog/share about their businesses,
  • Rank may not be as important anymore as people trust their friends recommendations more. People would click an article recommended by their friends compared to other articles ranking on google
  • Businesses try to be more active on social networking sites such as facebook and twitter because they NEED to make their customers happy.
  • Businesses will put more efforts into creating meaningful contents so that social networking users will share it.


There are a few pros and cons this this


  • Benefits strong brands as they already have a strong base to share the articles
  • Searches becomes more social and targeted
  • Brands becomes more social because they don’t have the choice to



  • Bad press for brands. As good brands may benefit, bad press on brands might affect them as well. On social media, there will always be supporters and non supporters on a brand
  • Ranking on google becomes harder as it takes into account other factors.


However, all these social searches got me thinking, didn’t we have all these a while ago? Wasn’t this called “social bookmarking” although it didn’t appear on google searches, brands do pay to be “bookmarked” on delicious, digg, reddit and now facebok and twitter?


Yours thoughts? What do you think about social searches?



  • Leo Widrich

    Very thought provoking post Aaron! Interestingly I have been thinking about this topic for a while myself too.

    What I like best is your point on “Businesses will have to concentrate on their social efforts more”. I really hope this will be the case and will see more high quality business blogs that share insights and case studies.

    Yes, you are also right that it will take longer to rank higher as there are more and more factors that contribute to high ranking. Not sure if this is good or bad, but it certainly builds an entry barrier just like you say.

    Great read – sweet and to the point. Will reshare and Buffer! :)

  • Aaron

    Hello Leo,

    Thanks, this was actually my research today from one of my managers, got me thinking a lot how much companies will spend for big followers list to post on twitter.

    Well i think it takes longer to rank is a good thing, means black hat SEO will have its rough days and gaming the search engines will be tougher now.


  • Amit Mishra

    Hi Aaron,

    The entire search page war will have to be thought through a different angle now. The keywords will not be of much value until or unless you have some relevant information to show which will increase your social search score as a company.

    But it made me think that how will the startups will survive in such a scenario where they were relying on SEO than anything else to get some desired traction for them through searches. They also don’t have anything else to show on the social graph for them.

    Will the bigger brands becomes stronger and the new innovation companies may die down because they don’t have supporters.

    Its a bit far fetched but seems a possible scenario.

    Your thoughts on this??

  • Enda Dempsey

    Very interesting post Aaron, I’ve been doing some research into this area myself over the last few days, and have written about it in my blog. Basically, in time, I believe that it will redefine the whole area of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The old way of exploiting algorithms by choosing strategic keywords will be rendered useless. The search experience will become more like how we seek information in real life, depending on the impressions of members of our personal networks.

    I agree with Amit’s opinions above to an extent, there is little doubt that as social search becomes more popular, reputation will become more and more important. In traditional search engines, algorithms couldn’t take into account personal experience of a brand, whereas social search will. It is therefore more important for large organisations to look after their customers, in order to leave them feeling satisfied. I think that there is the possibility of smaller local companies coming to the fore, as recommendations come from friends in the locality. We should remember that social search results come from friends in the network of the individual, so this should help keep domination by larger enterprises at bay.

    On that note, you raised a very interesting point about manipulation, and the hiring of people to post positive comments about an organisation to influence search results. I hadn’t thought about this, but it is definitely something to keep an eye on!

  • Kathy DalPra


    I wrote an article to my followers about this in my ezine a couple months ago. I’m really glad you brought this up because I’m very much become a student of how social transition will change search. I definitely am very excited to see what everyone else thinks of this topic.

    I certainly can’t predict the future on this one, but I do have a few thoughts, for what it’s worth:

    – I do like the idea that, as users, we can see how I network of friends/colleagues feels about certain websites at glance…however, that is assuming they will use Plus One in the first place (have to be logged in and actually WANT to publicize your opinion)

    – No matter what the algorithm, someone will manipulate it. That has been a common theme in Internet marketing and the rest of life (if there’s a rule, someone will find a way to break it).

    – I think social search will benefit big boxes far more than small businesses and as an entrepreneur who serves other entrepreneurs, that concerns me

    – I am at the edge of my seat to see how SEO morphs, now that social influence is a factor

    Thanks for starting the conversation Aaron!

    – Kathy, The Online Close

  • Nancy Davis

    Hi Aaron,

    I already trust my friends input more than search engines for certain services.

    This is a true example from my life: About two months ago I needed a new hairdresser. Local search for my area turned up nothing of interest.

    I posed a question about it on Facebook and went by a recommendation of one of my Facebook friends. This hair salon that I go to now has no website, but does have a Facebook page. They do great work, and I found them not with a search engine, but through Facebook.

    It is happening already Aaron.

  • RatanKK

    Search Engines will thrive more with the influence of Social Media.

    Search Engines are good at indexing content, and social media is nothing more but content ratified with your own connections and with shared emotions within the content.

    So, what you find in Social media helps you to CONSIDER them, but not purchase them right away!

    I will seek help from Search Engines to find more before I actually make my purchase decision!

    I am good to post in my social media sphere for an hair dresser, but if I want to go for a holiday in Russia and I do not have any one who has visited Russia in my social media sphere, social media will not help me.

    And I will once again seek help from Search Engines.

    For any recommendation that your social media sphere can provide, Social Media can help. But beyond that, each one of us will have to depend on Search Engines.

    As long as you take care of the CONSUMER both in SOcial Media and in your Search Engine Effort, you are covered irrespective of how Search influences Social or the other way round.

    Would be keen to know What you think?


    PS: Thanks Amit for pointing this article to me, and Aaron for tabling the topic. Let’s be at it!

  • RatanKK

    If you have read the above article, the following article would help you understand the context of the above article.

  • Maisarah

    Hi Aaron! This is my first visit to your blog and I find it very interesting! I agree with you that as much as Internet can help a brand to succeed, it can bring it down too, with the fact that on the Internet the users are more vocal and “selfish” in giving their comments. So the measurement of how “good” a brand is, is becoming more complicated.

  • Yael Rozencwajg

    Hi Aaron, this is a great post.
    I think Social Search has to be considered very carefully by businesses.
    In the next few months, Social Search will impact every way of paid adverts.
    However, I fully agree with RatanKK, the dimension of Social Media in Search is providing help for the consumer.
    But the referrer will always be the Search Engine by default.
    Community, friends, family can influence the choice, but the results are in the Engines !
    While the user experiment is getting complicated, Google, Bing will improve their capacity to bound the targets (location, density, domains…) by SERP. So we can already talk about Social integration in Search.

  • Dino Dogan

    This is something I’ve been thinking about A LOT lately. For example, did you know that google uses over 50+ search signals to deliver custom search results even when youre NOT logged in?

    Mind blowing.