Google is a lot like a META-search engine. Google indexes OTHER search engines and uses your interactions in them to help determine how to rate your web site. WHAT other search engines, you might ask – BING? Not exactly.
Google is a Database of Other Databases
All search engines must draw on a database – theirs or someone else’s or both. A true meta-search engine like Zoo, Dogpile, or Mamma doesn’t have its own database, but lets you search multiple search engine databases like Google and Bing, and aggregates results on a results page. Google does have it’s own database, and so isn’t that kind of meta-search engine. Google’s strategy is simply to have the most comprehensive database anywhere, driven by incredible processing power. One way it augments its own database, however, is to do really amazing scans of other databases too. Since Google is an indexer of other databases, we need to think about those databases at least as much as Google’s own.
Google is Actually Google AND Social
When you look at SOCIAL sites as search engines in their own right, which they are, and realize that Google has advanced algorithms that lets it actually evaluate potential results by how much social interaction they have on other sites, then in that sense Google’s search is more than meta-search – it’s supersearch. And this means a lot of the onramps on Google’s highway are social. Linkedin, for example, is a search engine for professionals, companies, and professional groups. Likewise, Youtube is a search engine for videos. True, each of those only present material they host or that they source from a search engine partner, but many of the more specialized databases (for science, health, etc) that meta-search engines access are just like that. A search engine like Google, that indexes those sites, is indexing those search engines, because those sites are search engines. Focusing on search without social is like trying to drive a car without gas; social is search engine fuel.
Focusing All Your Energy on Google is a Misguided Strategy
In the same way we say it’s a mistake to focus on just your one web site, when every one of your social media pages and profiles is a web page too, it’s shortsighted to focus on just one search engine, even if courting that search engine is a primary goal. An effective strategy for better treatment in Google results is to place a strong emphasis on interactions in social media. After all, Google needs a method to determine how to rank potential search results. It’s fighting off search manipulation with fairly severe penalties and, at the same time, relying on the vast information available in the social sphere to determine what people find authentically valuable, useful, and desirable. When your stuff gets followed, favorited, liked, re-shared, listed, amplified and promoted, that’s a social signal.
Feed Google With Social Signals
You might ask if that creates the same situation in the social sphere – a problem of prominence in social media merely standing in for a problem of prominence in search engines. How do you even get people to amplify your stuff? The simplest social media strategy is two parts:
- Produce Awesome: Put out stellar content, frequently and consistently that’s worth sharing. Doing it ONCE, with just a web site, is a rookie mistake. It’s like a newspaper publishing one issue, but never again. Be prolific. [pullquote position=”right”]Making content that’s useful, helpful, inspiring, or interesting is what we mean by Content Strategy.
- Be Social: – Follow, favorite, like, re-share, list, amplify and promote OTHER people’s stuff, and a good chunk of them will pay more attention to your stellar content. Social media is interactive in this way. There are Social Media Strategies and tools to be more effective at this, of course.
Google is No Baby
If you treat Google like a baby search engine, just out there indexing home pages and business listings, you’re setting yourself up for failure, because that’s not what Google is designed for at all. No wonder people get paltry results. Google is in the business of serving up links to really stellar content that is getting lots of social play. Google, in other words, is a socially driven content engine (let’s coin that SDCE) – hence our emphasis on content strategy and social media strategy. In fact, digital strategy is fairly obvious and straightforward once you get what Google is really doing, because Google mimics how people actually interact when they’re being authentic. That’s what the whole social web is about, and is why the whole web is now social. There’s no dichotomy anymore between social and search, and there hasn’t been for almost a decade.
Google may sound hard to please, but climbing the Google ladder doesn’t require you to be awesome over night – it just requires that you start, and get some help on making it continually a bit better. That’s what MadPipe is here for. Give us a shout, so we can help you get better and reach a larger audience.