Monday, March 8, 2010

The Rise of Social Search

A while ago I asked the question, Why should search care about social? One good reason is that social channels are search engines too, and a vast amount of searches are being conducted within social media.

If you've attended any major search marketing conference in the past two years, you'll hear in at least one presentation that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. In fact, three of the top 20 search engines (YouTube, MySpace and Facebook) involve search within a social network (Odden, 2010).

This highlights the importance for search marketers to take into account social media searches when doing keyword research. Here are some tips to consider, looking specifically at YouTube, Twitter and Facebook:

YouTube serves up hundreds of millions of videos per day so, as with Google, it's important to ensure that your video content is optimized in order for it to show up in well in searches. Lucky for us, YouTube have their own Video Keyword Research Tool.

This is a great way to find the most popular video keyword searches so that you can include these keywords in your title, tags, description and links. I also like it since it uses the same interface as Google's Keyword Tool.

YouTube Keyword Research Tool

Twitter is an excellent listening tool where keyword research is concerned.

Last week, Twitter hit 10 Billion Tweets and counting. So far, search engine efforts to integrate Twitter into Real-Time Search results have been rather "meh". So many people continue to search for content in Twitter using, for example Twitter Search and Hashtags.

Twitter Lists is also a great way to see how others categorize you or your company. If you take the list names and descriptions that you appear in and paste them into Wordle, you can generate a word cloud. This can show you quite quickly, what keywords people are using to categorize you or your company.

Wordle Example: Word Cloud Based on Twitter Lists

By using the search box and then clicking "Posts by everyone" in the left nav, you can start to monitor conversations happening based upon keywords you type in. You can also limit results to certain geographies and by post type (all/links/status updates/wall posts/notes) in the drop down lists that appear above the results.

This is a good way of listening to conversations, but can be a little limited when it comes to deeper keyword research and analysis. There's rumors that Facebook are working on a better tool for page owners, but until then this is as good as it gets.

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