Would You Leave Here to Go Google Something?

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 03/17/2009

The day is winding down. I think I’ll get a blog post in before heading out. I have serious problems separating the personal from the professional, especially now with Facebook becoming so prevalent, and me being in the online marketing space. I’m really an SEO guy, meaning search engine optimization, and getting clients found through search. But more and more, I’m seeing that as social media matures, the incredible dominance that search has played over the last 10 years is coming under attack.

I’m posting this on my blog, which is Blogger. But I’m willing to bet that the first 10 people to read it will be because I wired it up to Facebook. How long will it take for someone in my target audience to actually type in something in Google that will lead to this blog post? Believe it or not, that’s the proposition with SEO, and you have to get the headline exactly right. If you target the wrong words, which I’m sure I did in this case, then the audience you attract is misalligned to the content of the post, and they just surf on.

Researchers will always still research. But when you think about it, how many people really want to put in the work of wading through tons of search results, when you can just post a question to your social network with a Facebook status update, and have other people who either know better or are willing to do the research themselves, start posting answers directly to you. While this in itself is not a threat to search, the fact that so much online time is being spent on sites like Facebook is. It’s not a threat to search–but rather, it monopolizes the user’s attention. You have to essentially “leave” the Facebook to go to the Google.

Answers that come in over social networks have the stamp of approval of the person who answered. This is a powerful force, and perhaps more influential than the anonymity of Google’s mysterious ranking criteria. Would you sooner pick up and call someone based on something you found in a Google search, or something that someone you trust recommended to you? Word of mouth is getting ready to reassert itself in a big way.