Now that I’ve had some time to review Google Friend Connect as a social marketing strategy and tool, I’m looking at different ways that using the program can impact search engine rankings, and am curious what’s coming. So far, I’ve found 3 ways that is can positively impact your search engine marketing results, and have an equal number of ideas on where things are headed.
Leveraging Google’s Strength
At this point, Google is the world leader when it comes to search. In their quest to organize the worlds information , I think it is fair to say they have covered online search quite well. With the boom of social networks and social marketing, however, Google is way behind the curve. The adoption rate of social networks is almost startling, even my Mom is on Facebook! And while there is a deluge of social marketing data on social networks, when it comes to the web as a research tool, Google has trumped everyone else to date.
SEO for Those Public Pages
Search Engine Optimization is often a top priority for many who are trying to make it with online marketing. Though important, it is sometimes overemphasized. As you engage socially on the web, your search engine rankings will naturally improve (just don’t loose sight of keywords in your social marketing (networking) interactions).
The Google Friend public pages have an impact on search engine rankings. A very cool impact. You see both the shared Google Reader items and the links on your public page are present and are not “no followed” (an attribute and/or a meta tag that is used to instruct robots to not follow the link, passing link value). This helps with your Google Page Rank. Not only can humans visit those linked profile pages, but the search engines will pass page value (search engine weight) to the page it links to.
Any other links that you specify in your public page profile will also show up here (I have a few), and are also not “no followed”.
Publicly Available Email
When visiting my public page on Google, what you’ll also notice is a link to the right of my picture on the top: Send a Message, this is what makes your email address public, an individual only has to login to their Gmail account and send a message. This is extremely useful and practical from a search engine marketing perspective, just be aware that this is the type of exposure you can have with public pages, and use it to your advantage.
Google Friend Connect Looking Forward
Predictions are a daunting undertaking, and I won’t pretend to go that far, rather to offer what I see as logical conclusions, and a reason your social marketing strategy should incorporate your Google account and Friend Connect sooner, rather than later.
Monetization: My thoughts are, if Google has done such a good job monetizing search with Adwords, is there any reason to think they couldn’t monetize contextual search with social profile data? Facebook has done a great job getting people hooked on their service, but they haven’t dazzled investors with their revenue model yet. With ad revenue down at Google, they need to build more revenue streams, why not contextual Ads for social conversations?
Google Getting More Serious About Social: With that in mind, it makes sense to me that Google will either acquire a social networking giant, or build the existing one they own, Orkut. I am in Brazil as I write this, and Orkut (as clunky as it is) is very big here, few have heard of Facebook. When I logged into my Orkut account yesterday, I saw a notice that integrated chat is coming to Orkut, this is a sign of things to come.
More Orkut Integration: Look for more ties to Orkut (and non-Google networks) as Google seeks to expand its offering to more social users. They could start with something simple, like the ability to update your Orkut status from Google (or anywhere but Orkut itself).
What are your thoughts? How do you see Google Friend Connect fitting in with your social marketing strategy? What about it fitting in as your search engine marketing strategy? As always, share your thoughts in the comment boxes below this post.
How to Get Started with Google Friend Connect:
No time like the present, right? Go ahead and click the Join button in the Google Friend Connect box to the right where it says “Google Friend Connect …Join In”. Login, and join the site. If you don’t have a Google or other supported account, it will prompt you to create one. Then review other site members, and add them as friends (myself included).
*Image credits to pasotraspaso