How Social is Revolutionizing the Way People Search – Thoughts from OMMA Social @ Internet Week 2012

OMMA Social 2012 took place today in NYC at the Internet Week Headquarters in the heart of Soho. One of the hot topics was the impact of social on search. In fact, the planned panel on “What We’ve Learned from the Brief History of Facebook’s Timeline for Brands” quickly morphed into a discussion about last week’s announcement from Microsoft about the new version of Bing and how social is revolutionizing search.  

To set the stage, the Bing announcement last week is the latest in a string of updates to search engines over the past year, which reflect the increasing importance of consumer-generated content. Here’s a quick summary of the changes:

Last year, Google’s Panda update reduced rankings for low-quality sites and improved rankings for high-quality sites (sites with content and information driven by consumers). Bing followed suit with its Tiger updates, improving the accuracy and relevancy of SERP.

Later in the year, Bing announcement people searching on Bing will be served results that include information or “Likes” their friends have shared on Facebook.

This January, Google launched “Search Plus Your World” that finds both content that has been shared privately along with matches from the public web, giving consumers the option to search via their personal connections or the social web in a single search. The personal results are showcased at the top of the page and are based on consumers’ own behavior and their social connections, but only include content from Google+.

Last week, Microsoft announced updates to Bing to make its search engine the most social way to search the web. Bing will now include a “social sidebar” that contains related social updates from Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live, LinkedIn and more. People can use the sidebar to ask friends about their searches. Bing will also suggest friends who might know something about the topic being searched.

So what do all of these search engine changes mean to marketers? 

To learn more about Consumer-to-Consumer social marketing programs and how they can help marketers cultivate consumer stories and content about their brands, check out Extole’s 101 Guide to Social Referrals Programs.

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