The users search experience is being taken to an entirely new level through
the “collective intelligence” of millions of individual editorial
The Internet has always strived to give power to its users. Social search
develops upon this cultural bedrock.
Algorithmic search engines have essentially reached their peak. These
automated software-based crawlers and indexing systems can never deliver
excellent results on a consistent basis. This is due to the crowds of people who
are constantly trying to beat the system.
Social search, on the other hand, provides a human editorial factor that
cannot be obtained by traditional search engines. By using the wisdom of crowds,
people are able to access more customized and targeted information.
A great example of this can be seen at Yahoo Answers. According to Comscore,
this site has become the second most popular Internet reference site after
Wikipedia. Why has this site been such a success? Because it capitalizes on the
wisdom of crowds.
Anyone can ask a question on Yahoo Answers and have a crowd of millions of
users available to answer their question. This technique allows users to receive
multiple perspectives rather than the often irrelevant links that can be found
using a traditional search engine.
In fact, many of the major search engines are putting forth an effort to get
involved in the social search arena.
Yahoo in particular is betting heavily on social search. Yahoo bought
photo-sharing site Flickr along with del.icio.us. Then, they also
purchased WebJay, a site for creating and sharing music playlists. Yahoo is
hoping to change the way people find information online by tapping into the
collective knowledge of crowds.
Google has also bought a couple of social-networking sites, including Orkut
and Dodgeball. However, they have done far less than Yahoo in terms of online
community building. It makes one wonder whether or not this technology is a fad
or a way of searching that is here to stay. If social search does become a
proven technology, then it seems that Yahoo will have quite an advantage based
on the fact that they have jumped into the game far earlier than Google.
Microsoft has also made plans within the social search arena. They have just
recently unveiled a question-and-answer (http://www.live.com/?scope=qna) social
search tool as part of Windows Live.
Microsoft research shows that generic search engines can’t answer 50%
of queries asked. However, with a system like Yahoo and Google Answers, you can
almost always find an answer among a user base of millions.
Today’s search giants must increase their social-search efforts to keep
up with the new developments that are occuring. Social networks pose a potential
threat to the well-established search engines like Google and Yahoo. Sites like
MySpace and Digg are quickly increasing their market share.
What This Means for the Internet Marketer
Social search is definitely something you should keep in mind when planning
your marketing activities. However, it should only be a piece of the marketing
puzzle, combined with search engine optimization, article marketing, blogging,
Having said that, here are some of the Web 2.0 hot spots that you will want
to be involved in.
Create Your Own Profile Pages at:
Squidoo.com Windows Live Spaces (http://spaces.live.com/)
Yahoo 360 (http://360.yahoo.com/
Google Personalized (http://www.google.com/ig)
Social networking sites are all about connections. After all, the Web has and
always will be a social space. According to Wikipedia, the first social
networking service was Sixdegrees.com, created in
1997. Since that time, these social hangouts have exploded, allowing you to meet
and network with hundreds of like-minded individuals.
Social networking sites allow you to make connections all around the
Internet. These acquaintances may turn into business partners, joint ventures,
or just great friends. Either way, you don’t want to be left out of the
To get some additional insight into social networking, I talked to Dina
Giolitto of http://www.wordfeeder.com. She is one of
the first people I have seen to offer Web 2.0 marketing (http://www.wordfeeder.com/s
ervices.htm#web_20) to her clients, helping web sites to get noticed on all
of the web 2.0 hotspots, including squidoo.com, the Ryze Business
Network, Digg, Technorati, and more.
Here is some of her insight into social networking:
“Web 2.0 will get you networking, learning, link swapping and forging
alliances with millions of website owners and future customers. Join as many
groups as you have time for, but then choose one or two where you see an
opportunity to really get to know people on a deeper level (professionally), and
then participate regularly in those places.
For me, the Ryze Business Network at http://Ryze.com was the perfect initiation into the
ways of the Web. To start, post on other people’s networks. When you feel
confident enough, start your own network. It’s great way to become
schooled in internet marketing, attract complementary business owners who share
your work ethic, goals and ideals, and establish authority in your niche - all
at the same time!”
If you haven’t gotten involved in a social community yet, now is a
great time to do so.
To find a group that’s right for you, check out the following list of
social networking sites:
From the beginning, the Internet has put the power into the hands of its
users. Social bookmarking continues this attempt of democracy. Social
bookmarking sites are composed of a community of users who submit, categorize,
and rank their favorite web sites. In this system, the popularity of any
individual submission is based upon the communities opinion rather than an
algorithmic ranking like that of Google.
By simply submitting fresh, unique content to these sites, you can gain your
website some additional exposure. To try it out for yourself, check out this
list of 120 social bookmarkings sites:
Discover, share and submit podcasts using the following directory list:
Create, discover, search, share and store your videos at
Citizen Journalism has exploded in the past couple of years. This phenomenon
is similar to that of open source software. None of us can put together the type
of quality that can be brought out of our collective wisdom. You can discover,
read, and even share your own news stories at the following sites.
Web 2.0 has transformed the publishing platforms that are available today.
Because of this, there are now many more outlets for your articles and your
valuable resource box. Listed below are some resources that will help you to
further syndicate your content.
(The lenses being created on Squidoo are getting traffic, credibility, and
even showing up in top Google results. You can use a lens to increase the number
of authoritative inbound links to your site, position yourself as an industry
expert, announce the latest news within your niche, or promote your very own
Social Q&A Sites:
Yahoo Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com/)
Google Answers (http://answers.google.com/answers/
The key to being successful in the social realm of the web is to create
unique and valuable content that people will want to link to. Then, once you
have valuable content that is worth sharing, share by tagging, pinging, and
sharing your bookmarks on all of the major bookmarking services.
However, don’t forget that you are part of a community and you are
there to provide value to that community. This means that you should share other
web sites as well.
This will make your involvement in the community much more valuable and
people will respect your submissions. If you are only sharing and book marking
your own web sites, your reputation will fall drastically.
At this point it’s hard to tell which social search engines will emerge
as being the top performers. That’s why it is important to get your
content in as many web 2.0 locations as possible.
Although social search technology is certainly fun to play with and offers
some new and interesting ways to search the web. It still has a ways to go
before anyone would become dependent upon these alternative search engines.
Their growth, just like traditional search engines, will take time. The
future of social search depends greatly upon how fast the general online
audience adopts it. As with all community sites, the benefits grow with the size
and activity of the group.
Social search is unlikely to overcome the traditional search functionality of
algorithmic search. However, it will be a great supplement to both organic and
paid search and will provide users with additional insight that larger search
engines cannot offer.
The ideal search solution would be to combine traditional search, social
search and human editorial input. This would allow users to experience the power
of human mediated search with the comprehensiveness of algorithmic