It is the people who create content that have traditionally reaped internet marketing rewards and search engine love. People who have simply curated or “shared” other people’s content have tended to get less credit (with many notable exceptions, not least Google themselves).
Credit for Sharing
The rise of Twitter, Facebook and their counter parts is changing that. It almost feels as if a content creator gets one internet marketing point for each new piece of content, whilst someone who shares, retweets or likes that content gets half a point.
Take for example the equally loved and loathed Paper.li (of “The Blah Blah Daily is out. Top stories from…” fame) that allows anyone to create their own daily “newspaper” with stories they have found interesting. The person who shared the story almost gets more credit than the original author as shown in the example below. In this case the story was written by Search Engine Watch, shared by myself on Twitter and then shared again in the Growth Academy Daily.
This trend of giving credit to the sharer is also creeping into search engine results and as a result, sharing and curation of other people’s content are becoming valid search engine optimisation strategies for new reasons.
More touch points
Now if you share a link on Facebook or tweet a link, you may find that your name shows up in the search results simply for having shared the link.
Bing, soon to be the UK’s biggest non-Google owned search engine, is leading the way here with it’s close partnership with Facebook giving it access to information that Google doesn’t have. The screenshot below shows a mugshot of the person who liked the page.
Google, with it’s recent revamp of it’s “Social Search”, is doing much the same with Twitter, Flickr, Blogs etc (pretty much everything “social” apart from Facebook).
For your name to appear in someone’s results they will need to be a known associate of yourself (for example through following you on Twitter). So if you can; 1. persuade a prospect to follow you or become a Facebook friend; and 2. share lots of industry-related content, then you stand a chance of being “seen” regularly in the search results whilst your prospect is researching their purchase.
Certainly it isn’t as good as having them continually stumble across your own content but it has to have some value in reassuring your prospect that you know what you are talking about.
Both Google and Bing’s social search are yet to launch in the UK (somewhat surprisingly) but it has to be a fair bet that one or both will expand their services to this side of the pond before the end of 2011.
Many serious industry commentator (e.g. Robert Scoble) are seeing curation as being a major trend in the evolution of the web. Almost everyday we see a new curation tool announced (e.g. Scoop.it (see video below), Bundlr and Storify). As the web is evolving in this direction, internet marketeers and search engines need to follow. So sharing purely to get search visibility may not yet be a reality, but it is a near certainty.