We know that Google has been steadily moving towards a more organic web in which social networking and connections play an integral role for some time. While this is not new news, Google has taken it to the next level by annotating your personalized search results with your social contacts that have shared or are otherwise connected to the search results.
Listings now show your social connections next to a listing along with a photo, creating "social proof" of the link’s validity which helps to instill trust, thereby increasing click through rate. This new version of personalized search now has the ability to skew the SERPs by showing listings that may have otherwise resided in obscurity. Results that would once be lost in the ether can now show on page 1 of the SERPs.
We have known for some time that Google was increasingly using a individuals social networking connections as metrics to influence search results, but the aggressiveness at which they are implementing these as KPI (Key Performance Indicators) should tell you that no one can afford to ignore social media any longer. As Google continues to roll out these changes and has more and more people creating social networks with user-logged in accounts, the effect of your social network and the impact it will have on your rankings is substantial and profound effect on you search traffic.
As SEOs and site owners, we cannot turn a blind-eye to the importance and the effect that your social network reach, your sharing within those networks and the how this will affect your search traffic vloumes. Google has provided a webpage (since removed) to break down your connections and to show how they are interconnected.
SEO news blog post by guestpost @ 6:34 pm