social vs search engines


Are you tired of relying on traditional search engines to find what you’re looking for? Well, you’ll be glad to know that a new trend is quietly taking shape. Social media platforms are slowly but surely transforming themselves into powerful search engines, thanks to the changing behaviors of users like yourself. With advanced algorithms and innovative content discovery features, platforms like TikTok and Instagram are leading the charge in this evolution. But what does this mean for you? And how can brands and marketers take advantage of this shift? The answers may surprise you, as social media searches offer a level of authenticity and transparency that is reshaping the way you gather information and make decisions. Curious to learn more? Let’s explore whether social media platforms are indeed the next big search engine.


The Changing Landscape of Search

Social media platforms are rapidly transforming the search landscape, offering users easy access to relevant content and visually engaging search experiences. Social media searches have become increasingly popular, especially among younger generations who prefer genuine content shared by real people. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram are at the forefront of this new search movement, providing efficient information consumption through visually appealing formats. Google’s shift from text to visual results further emphasizes the importance of social media as a search engine. This shift has also impacted trust and brand image, as consumers are willing to pay more for brands they trust. For businesses, adapting to this changing landscape is crucial, as social media platforms are now being utilized as search engines. Taking advantage of these platforms presents opportunities to build trust, connect with audiences, and drive interactions.


Social Media’s Rise as a Search Engine

With changing user behaviors and innovative algorithms, social media platforms are rapidly evolving into powerful search engines. Social media searches have become a go-to method for younger generations to discover new products and relevant content. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram, with their visually appealing and engaging search experiences, are standing out in this evolution. Short videos on these platforms offer an efficient way to consume information, reshaping the way users gather information and make purchasing decisions. Additionally, the trust and transparency offered by social media searches have made them increasingly popular among users. This shift is further emphasized by Google’s shift from text to visual results, indicating the growing importance of social media as a search engine. For brands and marketers, leveraging the trustworthiness of social media platforms presents opportunities to build trust and drive interactions.


Eight-eight percent of Gen Zers use at least one social platform multiple times per day, and 74% use at least two. Daily, they spend the most time on YouTube (67%), followed by Instagram (65%), TikTok (58%), and Snapchat (55%), according to Afterpay’s Gen Z report.


Shifting Consumer Behavior and Trust

Consumers are increasingly shifting their behavior towards social media platforms as trusted sources for information and product discovery. This shift is driven by the growing preference for authentic user-generated content over traditional search engine results. Younger generations, in particular, trust social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram to discover new products and brands. Social media’s influence on shaping consumer trust and brand perceptions cannot be ignored. Brands and marketers can optimize this trend by leveraging the trustworthiness of social media platforms as search engines. By embracing this shift in consumer behavior and actively engaging with their audience on social media, brands have the opportunity to build trust and drive interactions. Brands must recognize the power of social media platforms in reaching and influencing their target audience.


The Power of Influencers in Social Search

Influencers wield significant influence in guiding users towards authentic and genuine products and services they believe in. As social media platforms increasingly transform into search engines, influencers play a crucial role in shaping user behavior and preferences. Their recommendations hold immense power in driving purchasing decisions and building trust among new audiences. With the trustworthiness of social media platforms as search engines reinforced through influencer partnerships, brands, and marketers have an opportunity to tap into this power.


power of social influencers


By leveraging influencer collaborations, they can capitalize on the trust cultivated among their followers and drive interactions. Embracing authentic content and optimizing strategies for social search enables brands to capitalize on the trust perception of social media as a reliable source. This presents an innovative way to connect with new audiences and establish credibility in the ever-evolving landscape of social search.


Opportunities for Brands and Marketers

As social media platforms continue to evolve into search engines driven by user behavior and content discovery, brands and marketers have a unique opportunity to leverage the trustworthiness of these platforms and connect with new audiences. Social media platforms provide opportunities for brands and marketers to access and share visually appealing and engaging content, creating a strong presence that resonates with their target audience. By optimizing their content and engaging with followers, brands can utilize social media as a search engine to reach and engage with potential customers. This shift in consumer behavior presents opportunities for brands to build trust and a positive brand image, connecting with their audience on a personal level. Additionally, leveraging the authenticity and trust of social media platforms opens doors for brands and marketers to tap into influencer partnerships and drive interactions. These opportunities allow brands to stay innovative and relevant in the fast-paced digital landscape.


Leveraging Social Media’s Authenticity and Transparency

Leveraging the authenticity and transparency of social media platforms can greatly enhance a brand’s search engine optimization strategy. Social media platforms offer a unique opportunity for brands and marketers to showcase their authenticity and transparency, which can significantly impact search results and user engagement. Here are five ways to leverage social media’s authenticity and transparency for better search engine optimization:


  • Create genuine and relatable content that resonates with your target audience.
  • Engage with your followers and respond to their comments and inquiries promptly.
  • Collaborate with influencers who align with your brand values and have a genuine following.
  • Encourage user-generated content and showcase it on your social media platforms.
  • Be transparent about your products, services, and business practices to build trust with your audience.


Strategies for Businesses to Harness Social Search

To effectively harness social search, businesses must employ strategies that optimize their presence on popular social media platforms. Utilize visually appealing and high-quality images to attract attention and engage with followers by responding to comments and messages. Creating a strong presence on platforms like TikTok and Instagram is crucial for businesses looking to harness social search. Incorporate relevant keywords and hashtags in your social media posts to improve search visibility and include links to your website and products for easy access. By implementing these strategies, businesses can leverage the authenticity and transparency of social media platforms as search engines, building trust and driving interactions with potential customers. Stay ahead of the curve and capitalize on the opportunities presented by the evolving landscape of social media search.


The Future of Social Media as a Search Engine

Social media’s transition into a prominent search engine is revolutionizing the way people discover and access information. As social media platforms continue to evolve, they are becoming increasingly powerful search engines, especially among younger generations. Here are five key aspects that highlight the future of social media as a search engine:


  • Enhanced algorithmic capabilities: Social media platforms are investing in advanced algorithms to improve search results, providing more personalized and relevant content.
  • User-generated content: Social media platforms heavily rely on user-generated content, making it a valuable source of information for users searching for authentic and real-time experiences.
  • Visual search: With the rise of image-focused platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, visual search is becoming a popular way for users to find products, inspiration, and ideas.
  • Voice search: The integration of voice assistants, such as Siri and Alexa, into social media platforms is enabling users to search for information hands-free, making it more convenient and efficient.
  • Augmented reality (AR) search: Social media platforms are exploring AR technology to enhance search experiences, allowing users to virtually try products before buying.


These advancements in social media as a search engine offer exciting opportunities for users to discover and engage with content in innovative ways.



So, are social media platforms the next big search engine? The statistics certainly point to a resounding yes. According to a recent study, 68% of young consumers now use social media platforms as their primary source of information. This shift in behavior highlights the growing trust and reliance on social media for gathering information and making purchasing decisions. As social media continues to evolve and with influencers playing a significant role, brands and marketers have a unique opportunity to leverage this trend and build trust with their target audience.


You Go Google

What are we going to do with Google+? Some people love, some people hate and many are undecided. Regardless it should still be incorporated into every online marketing mix. Google recently released 5 new Google+ videos to help users gain a better grasp on their user experience.


Edit Your Photos

Organize Your Photos

Manage Your Stream Content

Switching Between Profiles

Analyze Social Sharing Efforts

Matt Cutts SES Video

Do you ever feel like Google just knows too much about you? Personally I don’t mind what Google is doing because I love their service (s)but there are many different people out there that simply feel that Google puts out free products in order to get inside everyone’s business. Check out this video with Matt Cutts and make your own conclusion.

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Google hangouts has been around for a little while now. Of course it hasn’t been as popular as Skype but it certainly has it’s advantages when it comes to broadcasting something on the web with your audience simultaneously. In this video one newscast uses Google Hangouts to increase viewership and also bring the audience right on the set.

Google Hangouts Video

Google Places Optimization

Google Places classifies businesses by helping them define on the basis of the area they serve.

  1. If all Customers come to the business location?
  2. If the business serves customers at their locations?

If businesses are willing to serve customers at their locations Google Places gives 2 options to do this within the dashboard of Google Places.

A) Define a central location of importance for a business & then mark a periphery with respect to this central location.

B) Specify certain cities, zip codes or countries. This is done by individually mentioning areas/ cities/ countries important for one’s business.

The performance (aka ranking) of a Google places listing for a business is a function of a large number of factors. We define the sum of all these factors as the SEO (E)L which the Local SEO Energy of a business.

Google Places 1

The primary business location of a business is one of an important factor on which will contribute to the SEO (E)L of a business, when the a user does a local search for that location. We represented SEO (E)L on “Y” Axis & the primary location of a business on X axis (Origin). The locations which are in close geographic proximity to this primary location are also represented on “X” axis.

Google Places

When we set the Service Area & Location settings while the Google Places listing is in creation mode & when we select the option of“Distance from one location”, we have a view that when this setting is used we indicate Google that a business under consideration is defining its primary location & consequently would wish to focus all its SEO (E)L on that location.

Google Places

Let’s imagine a case where in a business has SEO (E)L as 100 units. We plot this on the graph we have mentioned above. The pictorial representation should be ideally follow the above exhibited structure. The point we are trying to make is the SEO (E) L should be ideally highest at its primary location & should reflect in the ranking the listing achieves when a search with a local intent is made in that location. This also means that as we are moving from the central location of importance, the rankings will gradually drop as the locations get farther & farther from the central location for that business. When we use the other option available for Service Area & Location Settings of specifying certain, cities, zip codes & countries while the listing is created we have a view that when this setting is used we indicate Google that a business under consideration wishes to equally distribute all of its SEO (E)L  among number of specific locations which a business owner is specifying manually.

For the hypothetical example we are considering the Max SEO (E)L is 100 & let us assume that there are 10 locations that a business owner has specified, consequently the SEO (E)L per location will be 10 units & the representation will something as below.

Google Places

For the above mentioned case no location under consideration is able to get full advantage since the available SEO (E)L is not focused on a particular location of importance for a business.

To summarize:

Location is one of the important factor amongst other factors which contributes to the SEO (E)L of a listing on Google PlacesSince we were working on a Local Listing Optimization project in the financial services vertical in USA, we created number of Google Places listings. We also had readily available data on which case is performing better. For each case we have worked on there is a primary location & which is highlighted on the Service Area & Location settings by defining a central location of importance for a business & then mark a periphery with respect to this central location (Say 20 miles).

As an example we had a business located at Westhampton Beach, NY.

The secondary locations for this are Aquebogue, Calverton, Center Moriches, Cutchogue, East Moriches, East Quogue, Flanders, Hampton Bays,  Jamesport, Laurel, Manorville, Mastic, Mastic Beach, Mattituck, North Sea, Noyack, Quogue, Ridge, Riverhead,  Shinnecock Hills, Shirley, Shoreham, Southampton, Wading River, Westhampton.

The locations mentioned above are located within 1 mile to maximum 30 miles from Westhampton, NY. For this case under consideration we had access to 5 business categories which we had used while creating the Google Places listing, so we have 125 (5 Categories times 25 locations) on which we tested the performance (rankings) for this Google Places listing on those 125 geography centric business keywords for that particular case. We found that as one moves away from the main location (in this case Westhampton, NY) the rankings for that distant location will fall gradually.

To elaborate ranking for a location which is 10 miles away from Westhampton, NY will be relatively low that the rankings for Westhampton, NY as the location. This means that when a business defines its “Service Area” central location of importance for a business & then mark a periphery with respect to this central location the listings have a much better chance of visibility at least in that location of importance which would not had been the case if the business would had defined its “Service Area” by specifying  certain cities, zip codes or countries. The corollary to the above mentioned will be if a business listing which defines its “Service Area” central location of importance for a business & then mark a periphery with respect to this central location & is not visible in its own location of importance there is a rare chance that it will be visible in other locations which are surrounding to that location. The rankings on Google Places are relative for any location under our consideration & it is virtually impossible to comment predict the performance of listings at an absolute basis.

Guest post written by Nikil Deshpande.

Do you ever wish you could really use Google search to your advantage? I mean taking it a bit further than just looking for an electrician. Google has recently announced a brand new education course called Power Searching with Google. What many people don’t understand is that any person can leverage Google a great distance to either further their knowledge and even career. Google’s new power searching course will help people take their search abilities to a whole new level.

“Today, we’ve opened registration for Power Searching with Google, a free, online, community-based course showcasing these techniques and how you can use them to solve everyday problems. Our course is aimed at empowering you to find what you need faster, no matter how you currently use search. For example, did you know that you can search for and read pages written in languages you’ve never even studied? Identify the location of a picture your friend took during his vacation a few months ago? How about finally identifying that green-covered book about gardening that you’ve been trying to track down for years? You can learn all this and more over six 50-minute classes.”

This new Google search course is outlined as such:

  • 6 fifty minute classes
  • Interactive activities in order to practice your new found skills
  • Social networking opportunities
  • You receive a printable certification course

If you are interested in the course register here to get started.

Google Custom Search

When it comes to website performance user experience is extremely valuable. Google Custom Search gives the ability for website visitors to conduct search queries directly through your website.

Google offers two different options:

  • Free
  • Premium — $100 pre/year

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Google Maps Advancements

Google Maps has morphed into something really amazing. Since day one Google Maps has revolutionized the way people find just about anything locally. Their maps tool and system has helped people in a way that I don’t think Google thought would when this product first started to roll out years ago.

This is a great video from Google that goes into the steps and process of how Google Maps has evolved and also where it is going. As their maps system becomes even stronger than it already is it will put an even stronger emphasis on local search engine marketing for businesses of all shapes.

Google Maps Video

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Should I Use Google Webmaster Tools?

Yes! Well, you should at least get it onto your website at the very minimum. Google Webmaster Tools gives website owners valuable insight as to how their website is interacting with the web and overall health of a website.

Google wants the community to really understand the technical behavior of their websites so they can properly market them and drive valuable targeted traffic. Not that long ago Google launched Webmaster Academy where website owners can learn even more about the interaction of their website and the technology of Google.

Here are some important reasons why you might want to use Google Webmaster Tools:

  • Helps you understand search queries
  • Crawl errors
  • Overall health of your website
  • Website optimization
  • Site performance

Google Webmaster Tools Video

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Vint Cerf

For all of you who have never heard of Vint Cerf, he is one of the founding fathers of the internet. Crazy huh?? When the internet was first being constructed back in 1973 it was only an experiment. A very important experiment that ended up changing the world as we know it. Imagine life today without the internet? You would actually have to meet people face to face in order to say hello, look through those dirty books with all the phone numbers that get your fingers dirty — oh yes I think they are called phone books.

Now, this Google video might be a bit technical for some but it showcases that rapid growth of the internet and what will be happening this year in order for the internet to keep growing. Say hello to IPv6.