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  • Social Networking and Translation to Search Results

    For those of you who have never heard of Michael Wesch, I strongly suggest you watch his informative video on the media-scape. It is an unbelievably good example of how the various resources on the web worked together to boost this formerly unknown anthropologist to the forefront of the web, via YouTube, Digg, and Technorati.

    If you think that all the talk about the importance of social networking, blogging and bookmarking to obtain back links and traffic (and hence search engine rankings) is hooey, watch the video and then get back to me.

    If you make a really, really good YouTube video or Squidoo lens, or manage to come up with an amazing piece of link bait, the viral possibilities might just blow your mind.

    The idea that people are the best filters of content on the web is one that is finally getting more attention. Scour, a search engine based on the concept that users should determine relevancy directly, started ‘paying’ searchers to use their engine and rank results.

    Digg has been responsible for more than one webmaster’s sudden claim to fame, and a mention in the right blog can work wonders. People share info by Twittering, and Squidoo lenses offer information in a fun format that anyone can master. The ability on many sites for a thumbs up or thumbs down allows the good stuff to rise and the bad to be buried.

    Knol is spreading information to the masses on a one on one basis, while Wikipedia remains a slightly more authoritative source of information – but both have the capability for user input. This concept that users are actually the best qualified people to determine the value of information on the web is continuing to take flight, and the search engines are being forced to concur.

    Get your content shouted out by enough of your fellow men, and the engines will basically be forced to list you based on their own criteria of relevance and links. You might even find yourself newsworthy, and you will definitely experience traffic if you make yourself easy to find.

    So what are we saying? Just that SEO extends beyond the formulaic. You still have to generate great content, have good linking practices and run a solid, informed ad campaign. Just integrate social networking into your master plan. If you don’t, someone else will.

    A perfect example is Michael Wesch himself, who watched a little YouTube upload he produced bounce past 200 views and accelerate towards the thousand mark in record time after being Dugg, then crash through all barriers and remain top of Technorati’s much sought after list even in the aftermath of Superbowl Sunday.

    The video is an hour long, but even if you just watch the first twelve minutes you will gain a wealth of information about the phenomenon of the ‘media-scape’ as Wesch puts it. He’s funny, smart, and a thoroughly enjoyable speaker as well. Do watch this video if you are still on the fence on the media and social application of SEO.

    You might just become a believer.

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