Social search could very well be on the horizon as a real game-changer in how search results are curated and presented. If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head after making an inquiry to a traditional search engine and saying, “This has nothing at all to do with what I asked for,” adding the data social networks know about you to the mix could have those results making a lot more sense. Here are the things to know:
2. Facebook would look at your profile, which Pages you’ve liked or linked to, which Open Graph Objects you’re interacting with, events you’ve gone to, places you’ve checked into, etc. to surface search results that are more uniquely yours.
3. It could, if wildly successful with enough difference in the relevancy of search results, shift the search industry more toward search results driven by individual user data.
4. Google is hardly blind to social search, and is steadily moving to better incorporate Google+ social data into their results.
5. Facebook doesn’t have to scan gobs of code. All it needs is enough to present you with an image and a short description. Lean & mean.
6. The user data Facebook would use is speculated to be more truthful and more accurate because it is voluntarily self-identified data. It would not be so much based on mathematical assumptions about you.
7. Likes, links, etc. could become more important than ever. They would officially count as a “vote” for a brand Page and would thus affect social search results. You would be doing a brand a bigger honor than ever by liking their Page and engaging with their content.
8. What you reveal to your friends that you’re doing online via Facebook Open Graph Objects (i.e. reading a news article on Yahoo) also grows more important, as it too would affect how Facebook pulls together search results. The more of these kinds of “action verbs” you allow on Facebook, the better the social search engine is going to know you.
9. Facebook isn’t trying to be a Google search engine killer. Well…maybe not. It’s always on the hunt for ways to leverage what they’ve built, and this is another way to do that. In fact, they’ve partnered with Google rival Bing to give that engine the social search component.
10. Social search, along with changes Google is already making to its algorithms, is another step toward the elimination of “SEO writing,” or crafting content to game some search system as opposed to writing for and being genuinely helpful to human readers.
11. Social search rewards material that’s touched by a lot of users in the social graph. So guess what I’m going to say next. Content is the secret sauce to absolutely everything good that you’re looking for in your social marketing world…now search as well as engagement and surfacing in News Feeds.
In social and digital, very little ever stays the same. But for whatever reason, search, as we’ve always known it, has been largely viewed as something that was less subject to and less likely to fundamentally change. Now, even the strategies based around search require reassessment and adjustment.