Although you could answer the headline question by saying that search will live with or without social media, you may agree that it's becoming more obvious that the search giants are currently doggedly pursuing the trend of "getting social".
If yesterday Yahoo! announced that its sites will be accessible through Facebook Connect from next year, then today Google revealed a similar move by allowing all sites using Google Friend Connect to be be accessed through users' Twitter logins:
Why such a rush for "social" integration? Digital analysts have observed recently the huge impact that social media has on natural search results, ultimately driving the users to the "source" web-site, after having offered a compelling online experience: be it online campaigns, games, applications, group events and discussions etc.
Below is an example of a viral campaign from a British cereal maker Weetabix, suggesting that Google is actually powered by a librarian who has had her Weetabix and thus is ready to field your questions, on: http://www.insideyoursearch.com/:
Yahoo! for instance has "smelled" the growing importance of social media from its early stage by acquiring red hot web 2.0 start-ups such as Flickr, del.icio.us, and MyBlogLog, bidding also for Facebook with $1 billion several years ago.
In its attempt to become more "social" Google announced last year in May its new Google Friend Connect - an online service that allows web users to connect with their friends on different websites. Eventually, today the service registers around 8 million monthly users, which is yet far behind its "social web counterparts".
The main issue here is that search engines are not being used for social networking, so the alternative solution showed up: integration of real-time live-stream, which although an interesting step - generates an implicit concern: unrelevant data and spam.
In view of the above, would be great to find out your opinion on the poll posted above:
"Social Media is an essential element of any SEO activity".
Some of the sources:
1. All Things Digital
3. The Guardian
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