Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Bloggers: Social search and the freedom to focus on quality

Social search is changing the game for business owners who blog and create content. Thankfully, it’s changing things in our favour and that’s what today’s post is all about.

Even the best search engine is flawed

Whilst regarded by many as the best search engine available, even Google search is extremely easy to fool and still often rewards frequently updated content, over high quality content. As a result, people like myself who find it easy to write regularly, and those who use super-smart SEO to game Google, often outrank far better writers.

The answer is here… well, almost!

Thankfully, traditional search is becoming less and less relevant, as social search, (recommendations from our social networks), soar. I can either go to Google or Bing and search for what a machine ‘thinks’ is a great article about marketing – or I can see what my friends, the people I know and trust, recommend.

Google themselves really get social search and have spent hundreds of millions of dollars (maybe more) on the development of their own social network. Whilst the Google team do not call Google+ a social network, it’s a place where you can network and share ideas with like-minded people. I connect there with almost 20,000 people and it certainly feels like a social network – a darn good one, too! You can join me on Google+ here.

Social recommendations from people you trust

Even if your prospective customers are not asking their networks for recommendations, it has never been easier for them to find what their friends recommend.

With the advent of Facebook’s social graph, you will soon be able to get that information extremely quickly. Twitter search and Google+ search are already there and make it simple to see what your friends recommend. The image below is a screen shot of what I saw, when I did a Google+ search, to see what business books were being recommended by people I know.

I trust this far more than a search result, which could well have been gamed.

social search


Freedom to focus on quality

I believe that those who have been put off blogging, because they either lacked the inclination to publish regularly or the time / money to get their SEO ‘right’, should reconsider.

I suggest they change their approach, so that they focus on publishing useful blog posts, when they have something useful to share – then share it on their social networks. If they are writing something of value, their friends will share it with their friends and a subset of THEIR friends will share it…

Ironically, if enough of their friends link to it and share it, it may also do well in search engines. This is especially the case if you use basic SEO (and you should).

For WordPress bloggers, I recommend Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin. It gives you the freedom to write exclusively for humans, whilst making your work visible by getting the basics right.

Google doesn’t own your voice!

Google is just a company, a huge and influential company, but just a company. Don’t give them too much control over what you have to say. You own your voice – not Google.

  • Tell us who you are and what you know.
  • Tell us how you can help.
  • Answer our most pressing questions.
  • Become a valued online resource.

The search engines may or may not ‘rank’ all that value. However, people will and it’s people who hire you and buy from you. It’s the model I have used here for almost 6 years and it works extremely well.

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  1. I start my blog this summer and will be focussed on people rather than search engines. It seems to me like people spend so much time worrying about seoing their blogs that they miss the important thing… which for me is the connection with the reader.

    This confirms it for me Jim.

  2. This really got me thinking.

    When Google gives just 10 slots on the first page for every result, there are going to be 10 winners and millions of losers. This fixes that problem.

    Nice work Jimbo 😉

    Evie X

  3. Google is still fundamental to get traffic but if you have patience and publish good quality contents and engage your audience you’ll have people returning to your blog every time they see a new article through RSS feed or social media feed.

  4. Great post, Jim! I agree with your message here, completely. It is not only difficult to write a post while focusing on SEO – it’s also difficult to read some of those posts. I much prefer an article with quality, where the writer’s personality shines though.

    I’m also a fan of the Yoast plugin for WP. It’s nice to use as a guideline for visibility, without overdoing the keywords. Great suggestion!

    • Hi Jennifer. You make a great point – It’s really hard (too herd) to read over SEO’d posts. That’s why people ignore them.

      Thanks for the feedback.

  5. I agree, the biggest question we always had was – should I write for my readers or for the search engines? Maybe social search would be an answer to that.

    • Hey, Malhar. I really believe this is what bloggers have been waiting for, to free them from being dependent on search traffic.

      I certainly hope so.

  6. Thanks Jim Connolly for your valuable post.

  7. Great post! I recently began using Yoast; I enjoy and appreciate its functionality. SEO has its place & purpose, but I much prefer writing for the reader, NOT the search engine!

    Thanks Jim

    • Hi Lisa and welcome to the blog.

      Yes, it makes sense to have a site optimised, so that it is easy for search engines to find what you are writing about. However, to for the search engines is largely pointless.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  8. I have been blogging for years, but overall seem to loose readers to social networking sites. People love to connect there rather thank comment on blog posts.

    I wish there was one way for people to share their comments on the same topic across different platforms, plus make those show up in blog posts.

    Disqus, seemed like viable solution, but many readers are hesitant to register. So while I write for my readers, I also feel like a hermit listening to crickets . :)

    • Hi Enzie. I get around 90% of my feedback these days, away from this blog.

      The way I see it, it doesn’t really matter where your reader community connect with you. So long as you are getting feedback, the platform for the feedback is largely irrelevant.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  9. Some people concentrate too much in writing for search engines that they forget people click on what they sell and not the search engine.

  10. Jim Connolly, I have a question to you. Which purpose is best write for reader or search engine?

    • In my experience sir, people. I have always written exclusively for people and largely ignored search rankings. It has given me a huge edge over others in my profession, who obsess on search results.

      I hope that helps.

  11. Jim you inspire me everyday.

  12. Great, i think i will incorporate this principle on my blogs!!

  13. I think it’s important not to publish a blog post just for the sake of putting something new up, it needs to be something useful that is likely to be shared or linked to. That isn’t always easy but it’s a good way of getting success.

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