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Search Engine Optimization vs. Social Media Optimization

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Came across this blog post, Search Engine Optimization vs. Social Media Optimization, and have a few replies:

What is the world like when real human beings can replace the best in search engine optimization?

I’ve Blogged about this notion more than a few times. If you were looking for the best Thai restaurant in New York City, would you ask Google or your friends and followers in places like Twitter and Facebook? Whose response would you trust more? Where is there more value in terms of both relationship and community building? Search engines are still hugely important in today’s world, but will their primary function shift because of Social Media and how well connected we are all becoming. We are moving ever closer to what James Surowiecki described as “The Wisdom of Crowds” (also the name of his best-selling business book).


My general response to this passage:

I think that search is so fundamental to our experience on the internet – being at the edge of something, exploring, digging, looking, searching for…something – that it will be extremely difficult for a single company to do both search and social well.

My specific responses to this passage:

1. If I were looking for the best Thai restaurant in New York City, would I ask Google or my friends and followers in places like Twitter and Facebook?

Well, that would depend on what type of answer I’m looking for and how long I’m willing to wait – it’s both a qualitative and time bound (quantitative) answer.  I’ll start with the qualitative part  then go on to the time bound/quantitative part.

Qualitatively, if I’m looking for an answer that is generally middle of the road, determined by the numbers, determined by the wisdom of the crowd then I’d likely head to Google (or some other search engine…or not).  So, on the last point covered in this passage, the wisdom of the crowds part, we’re already there.  Google determines results primarily via the wisdom of the crowds, otherwise known as the number, velocity and quality of incoming links directed at a Thai restaurant.

If I’m looking for an answer from a friend who is a Thai food connoisseur then I might head to Facebook, but more likely Twitter.  Anecdotally, it seems more questions are asked on Twitter whereas people tend talk entirely about themselves on Facebook – “Is it Friday yet?”, “Something, something, republican, something, liberal, something, BP”, “YAY! can’t wait to go to Costa Rica!!!” or something entirely too personal.  In either case, I’d likely head to a social media website.  This is another reason why I don’t think social media websites are going to replace search engines anytime soon – each serves an entirely different purpose, a different telos.

Numbers definitely play a role in this portion of the game.  By going to Google, I’m asking this machine to crunch the numbers for me, a huge lot of numbers (votes, links), and provide a qualitative answer based on the crowd.  Also, I know that Google has access to a lot more “people” than I do in my little social network on Facebook or Twitter.  Who is most likely to have an answer to a question I do not know?  Looking at the numbers, Google.  Yes, friends, you are all brilliant people, but you don’t know everything :)

Going to a social network for an answer significantly shrinks the number of minds I can tap into regarding the best Thai restaurant in NYC.

From a time perspective, I know that I will get an answer within milliseconds – the search engines are nice enough to let us know how long it took them to retrieve the answer.  But, if I head to a social media website who knows when I’ll get an answer – whenever my friend feels like it.

2. Whose response would you trust more?

I think this is answered generally above, or vaguely if you wish, but to be explicit I trust both search and social.  If you start getting into things like how many liters does a gallon contain then the trust issue disappears and might even lean toward a search engine, whether Google or Wolfram Alpha.

3. Where is there more value in terms of both relationship and community building?

Well, I don’t think search engines are in the business of creating value around relationships and community building, so a) I think the answer is obvious and b) I don’t understand how this is a relevant question to the topic.  We do know that search engines look at relationships between sites, links, and uses them as an important ranking and relevancy signal, but in that regard they’re the objective observer taking pictures of these relationships.

I think the overall post relies on the assumption that because so many of us are engaged in social media, we will inevitably ask our social media accounts for answers to questions.  And, more importantly, ask the social media accounts questions more often than a search engine.  However, I don’t agree that because we spend a lot of our lounging-around time on Facebook or Twitter we will ask them for answers to questions.  We are there because we’re voyeurs and exhibitionists.  It’s watch or be watched. And we have short attention spans today.  Search is about instantaneous answers.  Give me the answer now or give me dea…another blog post to scan!

Written by Cory Barbot

June 8, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Social Media Revolution 2

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Written by Cory Barbot

May 8, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Social Media and SEO

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Initial, rapid fire thoughts for a more robust post…

How do they intersect?

  • SEO concerned with ensuring the search engines find your websites content
  • Applicable to social media in that you want not only your social media profiles to be easily found by users, but also the content that populates these profiles
  • One of the little known effects of easily and readily found content are the emergent outcomes.  Sites will pick up your content, sites not always known, and spread your content (and links) without your approval.  Spread information about yourself by targeting your name as the primary meta data; consistently check the SERPs for your name; you’ll quickly see the outcome
  • A lack of active social media accounts makes it that much easier for negative press, for example, to populate the first few pages of the search engines for a branded search – like your company name – or your name
    • Tip: in order to find out if a company, a competitor, is active in the social sphere is to search for their name and see if the first few pages (the first in particular) is occupied by social media accounts.  It’s not enough to simply have the profile; it must be active and tagged appropriately
  • How content is developed and shared
    • How = who is it for?  Does it speak their language, contain the appropriate keywords?
    • Shared = syndication

How do you utilize SEO to benefit social media?

  • Tag your profiles and content appropriately
    • Do your research before naming your videos, for example
      • Do a Google Search
      • Go to Google Insights
      • Compare it with your current SEO campaign; what keywords are you currently targeting and does the piece of content enhance the definition of that keyword, so to speak
      • Go to and search the term
        • Who, when, where and how is the keyword described and presented in this context?
        • On a blog, Twitter, video, news, images
    • Make sure you add a link/s from the social profile back to your website and to your other major social media platforms

Content Development

  • Create a plan
    • How often will you create content?
      • Once a week, once a day, once every other week, 10 times a month?
      • Frequency often determined by the type of content you want to create
      • Hubspot study of 2,168 customers showed that businesses that published at least 5 blog posts in the last 7 days draw 6.9 times more organic traffic and 1.12 times more referral traffic than those that don’t.
    • What type of content will you create?
      • Blog posts, articles, videos, widgets, smartphone apps
      • Repurpose your content – turn the blog post into a page, an article, a video, expanded content for your product page, a Squidoo page, a Hubpage, a tweet, a contest
      • Look at your analytics.  Check out the long tail, those keywords that look more like statements or questions, and create a blog/SEO landing page with that keyword phrase as the title
    • Where will you syndicate your content?
      • Putting it up on only on your blog isn’t good enough – neither is Facebook nor Twitter nor Youtube alone
      • Utilize social bookmarking websites like Digg, Reddit, Slashdot.  Participate within that community; it will increase the likelihood your submission goes viral

Written by Cory Barbot

April 16, 2010 at 9:40 am

Posted in SEO, Social Media

Tagged with ,

Take the Internet, Seriously

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It’s time to take the internet seriously say’s  I’ll pose the idea on why you should take the internet seriously, the block of text lead by #., and you preface it with questions it might answer – Go!

(Links in this section of the post are dedicated to my previous post)

What’s the next step in the evolution of search engines?  Google personalized search?

What hangs on the technology tree…?

5. Consider Web search, for example. Modern search engines combine the functions of libraries and business directories on a global scale, in a flash: a lightning bolt of brilliant engineering. These search engines are indispensable — just like word processors. But they solve an easy problem. It has always been harder to find the right person than the right fact. Human experience and expertise are the most valuable resources on the Internet — if we could find them. Using a search engine to find (or be found by) the right person is a harder, more subtle problem than ordinary Internet search. Small pieces of the problem have been attacked; in the future we will solve this hard problem in general, instead of being satisfied with windfalls and the lowest-hanging fruit on the technology tree.

Why should my company blog?

How do you change stained glass…?

13. The traditional web site is static, but the Internet specializes in flowing, changing information. The “velocity of information” is important — not just the facts but their rate and direction of flow. Today’s typical website is like a stained glass window, many small panels leaded together. There is no good way to change stained glass, and no one expects it to change. So it’s not surprising that the Internet is now being overtaken by a different kind of cyberstructure

How does social and search dance?

How does the future flow…?

15. Every month, more and more information surges through the Cybersphere in lifestreams — some called blogs, “feeds,” “activity streams,” “event streams,” Twitter streams. All these streams are specialized examples of the cyberstructure we called a lifestream in the mid-1990s: a stream made of all sorts of digital documents, arranged by time of creation or arrival, changing in realtime; a stream you can focus and thus turn into a different stream; a stream with a past, present and future. The future flows through the present into the past at the speed of time

Why social media?

Wouldn’t a stream melt snow…?

17. There is no clear way to blend two standard websites together, but it’s obvious how to blend two streams. You simply shuffle them together like two decks of cards, maintaining time-order — putting the earlier document first. Blending is important because we must be able to add and subtract in the Cybersphere. We add streams together by blending them. Because it’s easy to blend any group of streams, it’s easy to integrate stream-structured sites so we can treat the group as a unit, not as many separate points of activity; and integration is important to solving the information overload problem. We subtract streams by searching or focusing. Searching a stream for “snow” means that I subtract every stream-element that doesn’t deal with snow. Subtracting the “not snow” stream from the mainstream yields a “snow” stream. Blending streams and searching them are the addition and subtraction of the new Cybersphere.

Written by Cory Barbot

March 8, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Google’s Algorithm Rules the Web

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I’m a bit late to this party, but I just came across an article on Wired about Google, its algorithms and a line that made me pull Ludgwig Wittgenstein‘s book off the bookshelf.  Before the quote, head to Google and Bing and search for “mike siwek lawyer mi.”  Compare the results:

But that wasn’t the whole story. “People hold on to PageRank because it’s recognizable,” Manber says. “But there were many other things that improved the relevancy.” These involve the exploitation of certain signals, contextual clues that help the search engine rank the millions of possible results to any query, ensuring that the most useful ones float to the top.

Google’s synonym system understood that a dog was similar to a puppy and that boiling water was hot. But it also concluded that a hot dog was the same as a boiling puppy. The problem was fixed in late 2002 by a breakthrough based on philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s theories about how words are defined by context. As Google crawled and archived billions of documents and Web pages, it analyzed what words were close to each other. “Hot dog” would be found in searches that also contained “bread” and “mustard” and “baseball games” — not poached pooches. That helped the algorithm understand what “hot dog” — and millions of other terms — meant. “Today, if you type ‘Gandhi bio,’ we know that bio means biography,” Singhal says. “And if you type ‘bio warfare,’ it means biological.”

What does this mean from an SEO perspective?  What does poached pooches have to do with SEO?

It means you should blog more.  Write posts about topics related to your business or product.  Do you sell soccer cleats?  Blog about your favorite team’s games on a weekly basis – games where soccer cleats appear.  Link back to your own site.  Not only that, but comment on other blogs about these games and link back to your site.  Then, if someone connected to you through a social media account searches for information on a game you covered on your blog, you can appear on their first page of Google results because of Google Social Search.  Seriously, it’s time to loosen the reins. Actually, I’ll take it a step further, require socialism.  And, those same topics/industries/soccer games you’re covering with your blog posts, use that information to guide some truly outside of the box link building:

Hot dog is to baseball game as your business is to what?

Written by Cory Barbot

March 7, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Twitter Search Results in Google Results

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Well, after hearing about this development – both rumors way back when and current articles – I’ve finally seen Twitter (real time) results appear in Google.  Ironically, they appear when I search for “Twitter results in Google” – ha!  Have a look:

Written by Cory Barbot

December 7, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Socialism, Comrade

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Translates as “Have you joined the Volunteers?” Something tells me “volunteer” was used liberally…

Don’t just do social media, be a social company.  Get a company policy.  Email it to  Create an editorial calendar.  Tell people to follow the calendar…or not.  Measure.   Stop making excuses, it’s not about you.  They’re talking.  Make being a social company part of your core values, your brand.  Make your people be social.  Make your CEO be social. Make them sign up. Being social provides links to your website; updates your site consistently via a blog; internally links with your blog; submits your content to the masses with social bookmarking; steers the conversation; provides product feedback; instigates R&D; creates culture; responsibility; accountability.

Building the House

Company Policy

  • Treat others as you would have them treat you
  • Be social, don’t simply do social
  • Be transparent
  • Share
  • Reciprocate
  • Link
  • Track


  • Blog
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Ning
  • Tumblr
  • Posterous


  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Delicious
  • FriendFeed
  • Propeller
  • StumbleUpon
  • Mister Wong
  • Technorati
  • BlogCatalog


  • Youtube
  • Vimeo
  • Dailymotion
  • 5min
  • Metacafe
  • Howcast
  • Flickr
  • Picasa
  • Imageshack
  • Photobucket
  • Slideshare
  • Squidoo
  • Twine


  • FollowFriday
  • Retweet
  • Foursquare
  • Wall poll
  • Image submission and tagging
  • Link out
  • Personal blog
  • deviantART
  • Scribd
  • Pandora
  • Etsy
  • Good Reads

Running list (and post) of why this is true:

Written by Cory Barbot

November 8, 2009 at 9:43 am

Posted in Social Media

Tagged with , , , , , ,


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