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    April 15, 2024
    The Rise of Social Search

    Is Google’s SEO losing its throne to Social Media SEO? The way people search is
    changing due to the popularity of Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok—especially among
    Gen Z users. In the not too distant future, these platforms may even overtake Google.
    Due to the shift in user behavior businesses must carefully use social media SEO in
    order to reach customers and stay competitive online.¹ The following research on this
    topic will help you discover how to navigate the ever evolving world of search.

    The Social SEO Presence

    Social SEO involves optimizing your social media posts to increase their search
    visibility.² This is done by integrating relevant keywords and making full use of each
    platform’s unique functions. Social media sites have their own algorithms that go
    through content to decide what appears in searches and news feeds, making strategic
    optimization essential.

    The rise of social SEO is undeniable, with people increasingly using social media
    platforms as search engines. While traditional SEO focuses on optimizing content for
    search engines like Google, social SEO targets the booming user base on social
    platforms. For instance, with 59% of the world’s population on social media daily and
    platforms such as Facebook having over 2 billion searches a day, it’s clear that social
    media search is thriving. Furthermore, 83% of Instagram users use search to discover
    new products on the platform. This highlights the importance of social SEO in
    enhancing visibility and driving website traffic.³

    Marketers need to invest in social SEO strategy to harness the full potential of social
    search. By tracking brand mentions and utilizing social listening, you can discover a
    wealth of data to inform your strategy and adapt to audience preferences. This can help
    brands not only boost visibility among existing followers but also reach new audiences,
    as digital natives often discover and share brands through social search. Ultimately,
    social SEO is key to expanding your brand’s reach and impact, making it an essential
    tool in the modern marketer’s toolkit.

    Understanding the Shift to Social Media Search

    Social media platforms are replacing traditional search engines like Google in a big way,
    drastically changing the internet search environment. This change is especially
    noticeable in younger generations, like Gen Z, who are using social media more and
    more for their search needs. According to research highlighted by Marketing Dive, 67%
    of Gen Z prefer to use Instagram for search, while 62% prefer to use TikTok over Google,
    pointing to a significant shift in the way that information is sought out and used.
    Prabhakar Raghavan, who runs Google’s Knowledge and Information sector, outlines
    one significant reason as to why this trend is happening: Gen Z and younger adults
    prefer content that is visually stimulating when searching—and sites like Instagram and
    TikTok offer immediate video- and image-based results. Social media sites are also
    better optimized for trends, speed, and user-generated content when compared to
    traditional search engines—playing another big role in this shift.

    The Mechanics of Social Search

    In order to adapt to this new search behavior, social media platforms are including
    features that improve SEO discoverability. For example, hashtags are now essential,
    serving as SEO keywords that direct viewers to content that piques their interest. The
    relevancy and interaction of content marked with these hashtags influence its visibility
    in search results, in addition to the quantity of posts. Moreover, searchability is greatly
    impacted by spoken words, captions, and on-screen text in the world of video content,
    which is dominated by platforms such as TikTok. Since algorithms are getting better at
    indexing video content, it is imperative that video creators include relevant keywords
    organically in their videos.

    Predictions & Takeaways

    The future of SEO seems to be leaning heavily towards Social Media, as platforms like
    Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok gain traction, particularly among Gen Z users. This
    demographic’s preference for social platforms as search engines may lead to a shift
    where social media SEO surpasses Google’s traditional SEO in importance. For
    marketers, this means adapting strategies to prioritize social media SEO to effectively
    reach and engage with their target audience.

    As social media search continues to rise in prominence, businesses must pay attention
    to social SEO to remain competitive in the online space. Marketers should focus on
    optimizing their social media content with relevant keywords, hashtags, and user tags to
    enhance visibility and engagement.

    Written By: Jessica Carrasco, Josue Saldana, Ryan Distaso