Search has gone social as over the past year major players have made moves to tie information from social networking accounts more deeply into their results. That means that maintaining a strong social network will be even more important to keeping your website visible to draw in clients.
Google started the ball rolling early last year with Google Search Plus Your World, a move to integrate Google+ pages directly into this search results. With the feature, when travelers who are signed in to Google+ search on Google the will see personalized results based on who they are connected to – including, assuming you have a Google+ page, your company.
Bing responded with a new sidebar on its search results that suggests Facebook and Twitter profiles that might have information about a given search. The sidebar is also supposed to offer advice from recognized experts dubbed “People Who Know,” which could be a great opportunity for travel agents to show off their travel expertise. An early report by PC World, however, mentioned that this feature was somewhat unreliable at launch, so it may be some time before it becomes useful.
Finally, Facebook is introducing a search feature of its own, dubbed Facebook Graph Search. Graph Search allows Facebook users to search the social network for friends who share similar interests. While not a true search engine – it only searches information that is already in Facebook, as opposed to information culled from the web – it could be another opportunity for travelers to connect with travel agents, provided that agent has a strong Facebook presence.
Graph Search is still in the beta testing stage, but with so many players moving into the social arena, the line between traditional search engine optimization and building your social profile is set to blur.
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