Whenever the term “search engine” is mentioned, people almost always think “Google.” In fact, it has become almost instinctive for us to immediately think of Google whenever someone talks about search engines; the word “Google” itself has almost become synonymous with the term “search engine.” Note, though, that Google isn’t the only search engine around and the type of search engine Google is isn’t the only type of search engine there is.
If you are a business owner, then you have most probably put a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program in place in hopes of building a strong online presence, which has become essential to growing a business these days. SEO is indeed important, and your efforts at optimizing your website for search engines like Google will indeed help you grow your business. But have you also taken the time to consider using social search engines to your advantage? Perhaps not.
The Difference Between Regular Search Engines and Social Search Engines
The best example of a regular search engine is, of course, Google. What it does is gather data from a wide range of sources and then make the information available to the general public. There are, however, search engines that gather only certain types of data and provide information targeted to serve specific demographics. This is what social search engines are all about.
Social search engines focus more on the searcher’s social graph (also known as the global map of all online users and how they are related) rather than on the text and link structure of web pages when determining relevance. The search results they provide therefore offer more visibility to web pages that have been “touched” by online users with social graphs similar to that of the searcher.
Why You should Tap into Social Search Engines
There are basically two ways you can benefit from social search engines and therefore two main reasons why you should tap into them. First, you can use these search engines for social discovery. What is social discovery, you ask? It is the act of predicting the kind of content your target audience will find desirable by checking their social preferences based on their social graphs.
Social discovery allows you to target the content you publish online to a more specific demographic. This significantly increases the relevance of your content as well as the chance of more people sharing it with their online circles. Additionally, social discovery via social search engines also gives you the opportunity to meet new prospects in real time, and these meetings could even lead to immediate sales and revenue.
The second way for you to take advantage of social search engines is to create content and share important messages to your target audience in real time via RSS feeds. People are now increasingly on-the-go, which is why most of them appreciate getting valuable information in real time. When you’re able to get key information to your customers immediately, therefore, you increase your credibility and enhance your online reputation.
Best Social Search Engines to Tap
There are currently a good number of social search engines you can use to further strengthen your online presence and grow your business. However, since you are just beginning to understand just how useful these search engines can be, it may be a good idea to start with just a few. This way, you can develop a strategy for using social search engines without getting overwhelmed by the huge number of options. Here are five of the best social search engines you can make use of:
SocialMention – This site is actually a hybrid of an analysis tool and a social search engine. It aggregates user-generated content from all over the world in hopes of providing its users with a single user-friendly stream of information. As a business owner, what you’re most likely to appreciate about this site is the fact that it enables you to track and measure the things other people are saying about you, your business, your products, or any topic that may affect your business.This site tracks more than a hundred social media platforms across the web, including top players like Facebook and Twitter, and it updates constantly to give you real-time information. It even has a “Social Media Alert” feature that sends updates on your chosen topics or platforms via email. This may indeed be one of the best tools for staying on top of what’s currently catching the interest of your target market.
Topsy – This is also a social analytics tool and social search engine rolled into one. It indexes billions of tweets in real time. It is, in fact, just one of few real-time sites launched between 2008 and 2010 that continues to thrive to this day. Those were the days when regular search engines first started incorporating real-time information into their results, thereby spelling doom for many of the smaller sites. Topsy was fortunate enough not to be counted among the services that keeled over during that interim.It is considered by many users as the power tool for real-time information tracking and for gaining valuable insights into online social interactions and conversations. It provides you with both the most recent and the most relevant search results based on an online conversation’s social influence. If you’re planning to conduct a social media audit anytime soon, then you definitely should consider using Topsy.
Social Searcher – This site is a favorite among many users, and for good reason. It enables you to search for content in real time across a wide range of social sites. At the same time, it also provides you with comprehensive data and analysis as your search goes along. The site was created and launched in 2010 and is available in a variety of languages, which makes it very useful if your business caters to customers in several countries.With Social Searcher, you can sort information according to date published or according to the number of likes. And you can do all these without having to log into any of your other social media accounts. You can get information and alerts and send messages anytime you want. This can be the perfect tool for managing information across a variety of social platforms all at the same time.
Smashfuse – The beauty of this site lies in the fact that it does away with static websites and focuses instead on sites that offer the most significant and relevant information. Highly popular sites like Facebook and Twitter are aggregated by this social search engine, of course, but it also gathers information from less popular sites like Vimeo.Smashfuse also collects data from several websites and social media platforms across the web, some of which you may not even have heard of. This social search engine also provides you with instant access to the keywords that are trending at the time you conduct your search. You can check those keywords right from the home page and sort them according to platform if you want. You also have the option of studying the keywords at your leisure.
SoCl – This site is touted as the world’s very first social search engine. It is Microsoft’s very own offering in the world of social search. It works in a very similar way to regular search engines such as Google, with the difference being the fact that it significantly shortens the search process by immediately bringing only relevant results to your attention. It accomplishes this by creating a single stream of information from Bing’s results as well as from other users who used the same keywords in a similar search.The site also shows you the action other users took after receiving the same results you just got. Furthermore, the site shows you how the other users proceeded from the initial action they took during the search. SoCl also allows you to post comments and tag posts the way you do on Facebook. With the combined ability of Google and Facebook, this social search engine could indeed be one of your best tools for strengthening online presence and further growing your business.
Now that you’ve taken a peek at some of the top social search engines and what they can do for you, perhaps you have a better understanding as to why it is an excellent idea for you to start using them to ensure the success of your business. Think about it this way: If you knew more people are talking about your business on a particular platform or about issues you can directly address with your products and/or services, wouldn’t you be in the perfect position to enhance your social media marketing efforts on that platform?
One or more of these social search engines may just be what you need to make your online marketing efforts as effective and efficient as they could possibly be. Of course, you will still need to optimize your web pages for regular search engines, but more often than not, it pays to look for fresh ways to go about some usual stuff. Social search engines may just be the “fresh way” that’ll help bring your business where you want it to be.