After reading the Edelman paper Search Engine Visibility, I was surprised how much of an impact social media is making on search engine results. With something like a music blog, the more times a reader follows a link posted on the site, the more traffic that page get solely because of the music blog. Many sites don’t gain popularity because the webmaster found a new formula for increasing visitors. There could be content on the page that’s been there for years and the site could get piggybacked on a highly trafficked site.
The difficulty bigger companies have with generating a social media “embassy” was surprising to me. Of course there are people on Facebook that will become fans of whatever product they support. The issue I believe companies are running into is the fact they cannot generate MORE income from social sources. The free publicity and support means nothing without there being some kind of increase in profit.
Direct impact of search engine increases are easier to measure and profit from. There are many sites that are willing to pay high traffic websites to advertise on. There are even tools to see how much traffic one site gets on a daily basis. These kinds of social media influences give the public back the bullhorn. We can directly impact the success or failure of almost any business with a public image. Opinions matter now more than ever and businesses are listening more intently.
Social media tools and search engines are going to be incorporated with each other more as time goes by.