Social Media has had an increasing influence on search results over the last few years, and in the last month this influence has grown even larger due to new features by the two giants in search – Google and Bing.
Hashtags have become a ubiquitous way to join in on conversations and trends on nearly every major social platform, but have been entirely absent from search engines – until now. Google has added hashtag support into its search results, showing a feed of recent posts on the right hand side. For example, when I do a search for ‘#cats,’ I get a results page that looks something like this:
This new feature only pulls from Google+ posts at the moment, but may just be the first step in embracing hashtags as a part of search. If you aren’t using relevant hashtags with your Google+ content yet, you’re going to be missing out on a whole new source of exposure!
More recently, Bing has partnered up with Pinterest to include pinned content in image searches. Now when you run an image search on Bing, along with suggested variations on your query, you’ll get relevant Pinterest boards on the right hand side, like this:
What both of these new features show is that while computers and search algorithms have been getting better at delivering relevant, quality content over the years, content curated by real people is often more interesting. But it also means that your social content is set up for success in the search realm. If you want to take advantage of the ever-growing entanglement of search and social, you’ve got to get optimized!