Search & Social: Solving the SERP Puzzle
Facebook clearly is an important platform on which advertisers are compelled to provide some level of presence, including a Facebook page, proactive display ads, sponsored stories and text ads targeted at consumer profiles relevant to their brands. The success of social media in attracting consumers is undeniable, and its importance as an advertising platform is growing. Our question is: How does social media impact search?
1. Social Platforms Improve
Brand Search Results
Understanding how the content on a marketer's Facebook or Twitter page impacts rankings on Google and other search engines continues to be a challenge. When a phrase is used in a post or tweet, we don't necessarily see a ranking improvement for that phrase like what has been seen with user-generated product review content. However, marketers can use their social profiles to improve the way their company is presented by Google when a consumer searches for the company or brand by name.
In a recent analysis of the earned search results for five popular fast food restaurant chains—McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell and Subway—we found that their social profile pages ranked high on the first page of Google results.
To leverage this, marketers need to manage each social profile as part of their overall search strategies. Google's blended search results allow a marketer to dominate the first page of results for its brand name. When someone searches for McDonald's, they see not only a link and the description of its Web page and site links, they also see the Facebook and Twitter profiles, as well as links to Google Places, Google+ and Wikipedia pages in the search results. It's a major brand presentation that you can control.
McDonald's provides a great example of a marketer taking full advantage of these blended, cross-channel search results. The entire breadth of the McDonald's brand is displayed, making it seamless for searchers to pick their preferred forum for interacting with the brand. Consumers can choose to follow McDonald's tweets, find a restaurant, download a Facebook app, read product information, join a circle of McDonald's Google+ friends, or watch its commercials. Again, making the search engine results page (SERP) the ultimate brand landing page—if done properly.