Beantin

James Royal-Lawson

social networking

Google Social search: followers and follows

This week Google rolled out a new feature to it’s SERPs and snippets when logged in. If you have a Google Profile and Google has indexed who you are connected to, there’s a chance that you will see a small profile picture along with a name and the text “shared this on <someplace>”.

a search result showing that a friend had share this page on Twitter

This is Google taking another step forward in integrating information it gathers about your social graph into it’s search results. This, of course, has a number of implications. You can read a bit more about the feature and what Google themselves have said about it in this Tech Crunch article.

Your connections

What isn’t apparent at first is who, exactly, are your friends. My initial presumption was that it was just the people I followed (on Twitter), but after a few searches it became apparent that it was both the people I follow and the people who follow me.

two snippets one showing sharing information from a follower on Twitter, the other sharing information from someone I follow

As you can see from the example above, the 4th and 5th placed search results are both indicated as being shared by people I’m connected to. I follow Alan Colville (Klout of 44), but Steve Cook (Klout of 23) follows me (I have Steve on a list, but I don’t directly follow him)..

Impact on SERPs

How much, if any, have those two tweets impacted upon the order of the results? Well, by logging out and doing a clean search for the same phrase the same two results are now 4th (still) and 9th. The second result has now dropped 4 places.

the two snippets from the previous example are 4 places further apart when not logged in

Ok, a number of additional factors could also be playing a role in moving that 9th placed result up to 5th – and as I didn’t do this test with the same Google account before this feature was launched I can’t say for sure how much of this movement is down to the shared link data. But I suspect it’s playing some part in it.

Importance of Twitter

What this does mean though, is that suddenly, following people on (public) social networks (in particular twitter) could lift the ranking of pages you’ve shared in those people’s search results. From an SEO perspective, the number of people you follow (and who follow you) became something to consider.

Shared links and little profile pictures makes Google’s use of this data really very obvious – but that’s limited to people logged into Google. What we can’t see as easily is how much Google is using this data in it’s regular organic search results, but we have seen from other case studies that it seems to already be a factor.

6 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 34, 2010)

The business case for social intranets

To quote Oscar: “Most people will come to understand that a social intranet is not just about adding features such as blogs, wikis, activity feeds & micro-blogging on top of a traditional intranet; it’s about rethinking the purpose of intranets with the intention of bringing the paradigm shift in how we communicate & collaborate that is taking place on the web to the very core of how enterprises are operated & managed.”

Enterprise Microlearning

The significance of enterprise microblogging (or “microlearning”). Not only does it state the importance of status updates in the workplace, but also gives a number of practical examples of their use.

Does news add any value to an intranet?

Time after time when we look at intranet stats and surveys we see the evidence that employees just aren’t that interested in news articles – they want things (especially on the start page) that help them get their jobs done.

User behavior in SERPs. Eye tracking study July 2010

This translation of a Spanish eye tracking study shows how people’s intentions (they tasks they are trying to complete) affect their behaviour when viewing search engine result pages.

Santa Barbara Zoo launches smartphone technology

Using QR codes is a cost-effective and straight-forward way to improve visitor interaction at zoos and museums. Hunt down relevant content (perhaps it’s already on your site?) and print some new signs plus some guides for visitors explaining how to scan the codes.

Halfords: mobile site review

Lots of things here that Halfords could improve and tweak. Interesting to see the start of a trend for “collect in store” (rather than “buy via mobile”). It’s a mistake though to prevent mobile users from accessing the regular “desktop” site.

8 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 27-28, 2010)

The Real Life Social Network v2

216 slides, takes about 20 mins to view and read; but it’s worth it. It’s where we are heading. With this kind of insight, working at Google, you can start to understand that Google producing a Facebook killer isn’t at all unbelievable or unrealistic.

That website costs how much?

Oh my, I think I’ve found true love! Brandon Godwin (and David Hobbs in the comments) have written some incredibly wise-words. Client expectations of what is needed for the perfect web-presence, and the price they are prepared (or have budgeted) to pay are both too low.

Are We Not Context Strategists?

We’re seeing argument after argument about which discipline lies at the top (or bottom) of the pyramid – “xxx is king”. What we should be doing is concentrating on linking these skills horizontally in order to help organisations get the best out of the web.

Forbes: How To Create A Customer Advocacy Program

“Social media doesn’t scale. That’s right, social media doesn’t scale.” says Jeremiah. He goes on to say that your community managers will always be outnumbered by your customers. You need to have a strategy that does scale. His suggestion: Customer advocacy programs.

Innovation: Shrewd search engines know what you want

New Scientist writes “unfortunately eye-tracking hardware is expensive, and few people use it.” …Not a good reason to use inaccurate mouse-data. Read this explanation of mouse-movement correlation problems from Acuity ETS.

Few Facebook users notice ads on News Feed

An eye tracking report concludes that few Facebook users notice ads on News Feed page, but the majority look at status updates from pages they are fans of. But, with 31% looking at ads in the right hand column they are a really cost effective form of advertising.

Millennials will make online sharing in networks a lifelong habit

Millennials will make online sharing in networks a lifelong habit… or at least that’s their intention right now.

5 Key Trends of 2010: Half-Year Report for The Web

Readwriteweb takes a look a what they consider to be the 5 Key Trends of 2010 so far. A fair chunk of their “trends” are actually “events”, but it’s a worthwhile “year-so-far” summary.

Facebook: Fastest growing web site of all time

Facebook: Fastest growing web site of all time

if we do our change management correctly all we need is micro-blogging, a document management system that gives URL’s and maybe a link-trimmer

Is Twitter Knowledge Management? by Dave Mastronardi.

Like Dave, I’m increasingly convinced that a microblogging tool could solve many knowledge management and intranet effectiveness issues while at the same time improving co-operation and social networking skills within an organisation.

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