Search and Social Converge at Wappow Hawaii

September 29, 2011

At the Wappow Search and Social Conference in Kauai, Hawaii, Bruce Clay and Jessica Lee have been engaged in an intimate environment of educational sharing and networking. The pair sit poolside as they look at the show’s events, from inner-tubing through the rain forest to Bruce’s keynote on SEOs taking advantage of the opportunity in social media. Bruce explains that social media signals allow for the greater personalization of search for individuals. Much of the trouble of ambiguous queries has been alleviated, as have many ad targeting problems. Not only are rankings in SERPs affected by social signals, but +1s displayed alongside results has been shown to change click-through rates significantly.

Gillian Muessig, founding president of SEOmoz and host of the tech-entrepreneurship podcast CEO Coach, then talks to Jessica about her time at the conference, the future directions of social media and search, and her presentation at the conference on the interplay of social and mobile. While social media used to be considered a soft science, the presentations at this week’s seminar-style conference point to how social media is now analyzed in terms of ROI and monetization, and hard-number value is able to be assigned to social media efforts. There’s still a good deal of understanding that needs to be gained in small business and big corporation settings alike. Gillian explains that the understanding gap has two pieces: first, knowing the social principles of a mobile consumer on the go; and second, engaging with mobile users in a way that’s applicable to the real world. These two points are key for converting socially connected mobile users into customers.

Then Jessica talks to Ian Lurie. Last year on SEM Synergy, Ian shared insights into measuring success in SEO and PPC through analytics action plans. In his conversation with Jessica this week, he turns his analytical eye toward how social media engagement affects search results. At the conference, Ian gave a presentation comparing the value of social media responses such as comments and Likes on Facebook and retweets on Twitter to links as a search engine ranking factor. He also talks about the implications of recent changes to popular social networks like Facebook and Google+ and potential consequences of competition between these two Internet giants.