Search is changing the way we look up information, find information, and even share information. Recently, Google activated a new algorithm that delivers the latest and most relevant information for news stories, recent events and reviews http://tcrn.ch/t7u1sd. The new algorithm is the result of two updates, its “Caffeine” update last year helped Google index content faster and this year’s “Panda” update decreased content farm rankings. Thus, the most recent news results are being featured more prominently, and not as many low quality SEO-optimized ones are taking up space at the top. Search is also becoming more social as Bing has integrated Facebook and Twitter into its results http://bit.ly/vIW5ue. Friends’ ‘likes’ show up under search results, you can get friend recommendations while shopping, and Bing will notify friends in the area of your trip’s destination. LinkedIn now has LinkedIn Today, a feature that brings together the most-shared headlines related to multiple industries by members of the network http://bit.ly/vDzXOO. LinkedIn Today allows you to see what your connections are reading, tweet trending news, post it to your LinkedIn groups or email it to your connections, and even see the professional backgrounds of those sharing stories. All of these set the bar higher for search, what it can bring to those seeking information as well as the way search is utilized. Aside from its benefit to news, current events and recent reviews, it could even play a part in this upcoming holiday season.
Take Black Friday for instance. People looking up deals won’t have to type in Black Friday 2011, because Google will already know that’s what is meant. Then they can jump on Bing and see which deals their friends are tuned into, as well as learn about additional ones their friends are going for that may be of interest to them also. This can also turn into the organization of a group shopping trip. Marketers and advertisers can utilize this by posting frequent updates about deals, to make the best use of Google’s algorithm, and stores can keep customers informed as to what deal items are still in stock. A one-click buy button could even be added which takes you right to the checkout page to purchase the item while the deal is in effect. If it could do all this for Black Friday, just think about all of the opportunities during the rest of the Christmas shopping season. It’s a win-win, the customer is informed and can communicate with others all on the same device, and merchandise sells because more people are aware, informed, and enticed. How can you take advantage of this to benefit your holiday season? First, make sure to post frequently so that you keep customers in the loop and your search results at the top. If they see yours first it’s more likely to be the one they choose. Next, be sure that your Twitter and Facebook presence is as frequent as any posts on your website or other websites. A consistent and frequent presence ensures that you and your product are where your customers are searching, and allows for sharing to occur. After that, be vigilant and involved in the conversation. This is the time of year where great customer service matters even more. A great impression now could make you their go-to option the rest of the year too. The new face of search opens up a multitude of opportunities, this is only one of them, and they are ripe for the taking. The only question is, who will use it the best and come out on top? As to that, I say good luck and stay tuned.