So I think any one who has been working in SEO over the last few years has been hearing and reading a lot of chit chat about the influence of social on search! I know because I have been one of the guys writing a lot of social/seo related content and my job is a Senior SEO and Social Media Specialist.
But I think before every one gets ahead of themselves here we need to remember what is the general public doing and seeing in these search results? I find it kind of funny when SEO moz or the likes do some analysis on their internal SERP from the network they connect with. I mean the results are going to be highly skewed to your own friends content correct (because these are the guys who are highly social savvy) I do not think it is the best guide to take at all.
You really need to shut off all personalization by viewing content in SERPS’s via Ad Preview from Google or by adding &pws=0 to search results, when conducting these tests.
A lot of guys will also ask what can I do to assist social search? Well here is some basic advice –
* Work out which platforms work best for your target market? I mean you are not going to fill up FARK.com buttons on a insurance brands website now are you? But a tech website you may do it.
* You really need to get across all Q&A websites like Quora and the likes as these sites work well.
* You really need to research what social buttons work and which social buttons do not work niche by niche? I mean do In shares work, do FB shares work, do +1’s work?
* Test cool social tools to aid your Social SEO example LIKEPLUS1 –
You need to research,research,research and then keep testing non stop.
I am running many social SEO tests recently and will share bits and pieces as I gather results.