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Google vs Bing: Social Search

By | SEO | No Comments


by Tracy Mu Sung
 
In relation to our post yesterday on the Facebook Social Graph, it’s now time to look at another new development from the Microsoft/Facebook family. Bing has announced that their three-columned search results will now include 5x more Facebook updates than previously.
 

Bing three column social search

We’re having trouble seeing this in Sydney, this screenshot from Hubspot

 

Why is this? Well maybe because Bing can now use Facebooks Social Graph to dig in and return more valuable results. Similar to Google Plus in Google Search, the social feature introduced to Bing last May allows you to see where your connections might have information on your current search. It allegedly improves your results by helping you see results based on people you know, not just the thoughts and opinions of strangers.

 

It’s a tough competition between Google and Bing/Facebook. One has search wrapped up, the other has social – they’re now trying to compete to be the first to solve both sides of the equation.

Google needs more people to use Google Plus – and to that end has tried to increase usage by migrating all Google Businesses over there. Facebook realised it’s search was terrible, and knows that not all the answers can be found within the ‘Social Graph’. However, at the same time, using Bing to cover the search side of the equation doesn’t seem to be winning any wars.

 

Both sides have big strengths and big weaknesses.

 

Google Social Search vs Bing/Facebook Search

 

Why Bing Social Search is Better

– More people use Facebook than Google Plus

– Bing doesn’t replace any normal search listings with social listings

– It uses other social results like Twitter, Quora and Foursquare

 

Why Google Social Search is Better

– In Australia, and many other countries, Google is the main search engine

– It isn’t popular for no good reason – the results are better and have better localisation

– Integration of rich snippets including reviews, star ratings and even more impressively, Zagat, means that valuable information is imparted straight in the search results.

 

 

 

Pros and Cons of the Facebook Social Graph

By | Facebook, Social Media | No Comments

by Tracy Mu Sung

 

Last week Facebook announced the ‘Social Graph’, a beta project allowing better search of information stored in Facebook. This means that not only will you get better, cleaner results when you are searching for people you know, you will also be able to find people with certain interests, and/or find information about people who like certain things. E.g. in the example below, Mashable has done a search for “Tv shows that Engineers like”.

Facebook Social Graph

Photo:Mashable

Supposedly, nothing private will be made public to help these results – it is just improving the current search capability. However, having said that, Facebook is a prolific changer of privacy rules – so who knows what could happen next?
 
Is this a game changer? A Google-beater? A stock-saver? Let’s have a think through the pros and cons;
 

Pros

– Individuals can use this feature to find things they like, in a “if you liked this, you’ll love that” kind of way.
 
– You can find people who like the same things you do (but then, see cons for next step).
 
– It offers a new opportunity for marketers, allowing them to see how likes and interests are related, or the tastes of certain demographics. While marketers might not be able to extrapolate this information right now, Facebook has done a great job of showcasing the potential capabilities.
 

Cons

– Amid increasing privacy concerns of Facebook users and the Instagram ownership debacle – will Facebook have trouble encouraging its users to keep liking things now that people know there is an increasingly powerful search function which can be used on all this data?
 
– Once you find people who like the same things you like – how would you connect? Why would they accept you? Facebook is mostly a closed network for friends, especially with increased privacy concerns.
 

What does this mean for marketers?

 
Well, not a lot has changed for getting your own profile seen, you still need to abide by these best practices;
 
– Make sure you have a Facebook presence

– Make sure you’re engaged and sharing great content

– Make sure you choose a good page name, vanity URL and appropriate category

– Optimise your ‘About’ section, as you would for search (i.e. balance between optimising for users and robots).

– Update your address if you care about local searches
 
For market researchers, there just opened up a tantalising opportunity for future data mining. While it is unlikely that Facebook would let them have this info for free, I can imagine it being integrated into the Facebook Ads interface. Or maybe you will be able to buy information on the different demographics or interest groups. Facebook has shown that it has the potential.
 
For ad buyers it will be interesting to see the next step of this development – monetisation. Marketers would be very interested to see ad purchasing available on such searches.
 

When is the best time to post to Facebook and Twitter?

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

 

By Adriano Di Palma – Technical SEO at MooMu Media

 

Have you ever wondered what time of day is best for posting to your social networks? Have you thought about whether you will receive more likes in the morning or later on at night?

 

Well, so have we! And as part of our research, we came across this excellent infogrpahic which gives some great insight into just those questions.

 

The data has been provided by popular URL shortener and bookmark management website http://bit.ly and is a great look into three of the major social networks, including  when you can best expect to get the most interaction out of your followers.

 

We do still suggest doing your own tracking and checking metrics to tailor specifically to your situation, but we do think this is a great starting point if you’re not sure where to start.

 

(Source: http://www.rakacreative.com/)

When To Post To Social Media

What is EdgeRank? Facebook’s PageRank

By | Facebook, Social Media | No Comments

Wondering why the reach of your Facebook posts have fallen? Blame it on EdgeRank. EdgeRank is the name of Facebook’s algorithm which ranks objects in your Facebook feed – kind of similar to how PageRank ranks pages in Google’s search results. Pages with higher EdgeRank are more likely to show up in a news feed.

 

While Google says their algorithm has over 200 parameters affecting it, Facebook has come out and said there are just three main things which affect your EdgeRank – Affinity, Weight and Time Decay.

 
Affinity depends on the users relationship with the post in their news feed. If you visit a page a lot, comment or like their things often – then your affinity with them is higher, and their posts will be in your feed more often. Therefore, to increase Affinity, you have to encourage engagement, likes and visits to your page. That is, the answer to increasing EdgeRank affinity is the same as what you should be aiming to do all along – write great, engaging content that people love!  (Ok, that’s easy, right?).

 
Weight is determined by the type of post (e.g. photo, link, text, etc). Not everyone has the same weight on the same objects. E.g. some people like photos better, others like links or videos. However, it seems to be accepted knowledge that some kinds are better for most people than others – e.g. most people will prefer photos to text updates.

Facebook EdgeRank Weight

What would you rather have in your feed?

 
Time Decay simply means that as a post gets older, it loses value, and EdgeRank decreases.

 
EdgeRank kind of flew under the radar for a long time, until a big change in September 2012 resulted in a significant fall in reach for many businesses.

 
Months prior to the change, Facebook had introduced the concept of paying to promote your posts. Both individuals and businesses were prompted/asked if they wanted to pay a cost to increase the reach of any comment/photo/link they posted.

 
A few months later, Facebook made a big change to their EdgeRank, which significantly reduced the normal reach of a pages posts. Many accused this reduction of free reach (with the opportunity of paying to increase the reach) of being a bait and switch of epic proportions. However, Facebook easily rebutted this accusation by saying that EdgeRank aims to make their users feeds more relevant to them – excluding excess commercial and irrelevant posts. This argument falls down, however, when you realise you can pay to get included in peoples feeds anyway.

 
(Kind of like when Google started blocking natural search terms in Google Analytics to protect peoples privacy – however they happily give you those terms when you buy them via Adwords).

 
Of course, Facebook is a business, and they need to make money for their shareholders. Perhaps (obviously?) their previous monetisation efforts weren’t cutting the mustard, so rather than introduce a new feature, they thought they would take something people were already enjoying, and make them pay for it.

 
It’s a classic move, and it is probably necessary for their business – but of course it is going to get a few noses out of joint. The only way to deal with this is to think about your EdgeRank when crafting your posts – just like you would think about SEO factors when creating your web pages.

 
Social Media just got a little bit more technical.

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