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Why Entity Search Will Be Controlled By Social Media
It seems as though everyone has written an article about Pinterest. No, this is not really a Pinterest article, but I too, have written an internal POV for clients of Resolution Media as well as collaborated on a tool for brands to effectively capture their audiences on Pinterest.
What fascinates me about Pinterest isn’t the platform. Really, it’s the new level of data that may emerge from it and the direction social search may be headed.
Entity Search Is The Future Of Search
Basically, in a nutshell, what Google is doing is creating a new database separate from their text index that consists of entities and attributes. The example that was given in Mashable was “Monet”.
Type that into Google and not only will you get the normal results that we are all used to, but there will be a new section at the bottom of attributes relating to Monet.
Here is another example about Seth Godin which returns book results as the attribute:
Another example is “when was Sergey Brin born?” Sergey Brin is the entity, and the result “August 21, 1973″ is the attribute.
This method of searching by entities is undoubtedly the future of search marketing in order to deliver more relevant results. And, I believe Social Media will become the core of entity search.
Let me explain.
Social Demographics Yesterday
Personally, I have always felt limited as to the audiences you can target on Social Platforms. I am not even bringing Twitter into this conversation since the conversations are absolutely all over the place. We will keep this simple and talk about the two most mainstream platforms.
It’s true; Facebook and Google+ both have limitations similar to Twitter.
What I mean is this: we go through the process of building up a fan base, but how much of that fan base is really interested in everything we post?
Chances are, like most brands, most of what we post is pretty diverse and does not follow any one theme. Our content is still related to our brand (or should be), but each post likely will appeal to different personas.
Truth be told, marketers really have limited information about who is digesting their content on Social Media. The big metric is the level of engagement, but persona level demographics are limited.
Specific to Facebook, which is much larger than Google+ at this time, the ramifications here are the potential effect this can have on a brands Edgerank.
How so? Once a fan hides your post because it’s not relevant to them, the entire page, over time, may show up less and less in their stream.
More Targeted Interest Level Demographic Today
One impressive outcome of Pinterest to date has been the ability for users to get the content they are looking for based on their interests.
On Facebook or Google+, users become a fan and the page administrator can put them in a circle or group they think will be most relevant, which may or may not be true. This is the best that these platforms can do. The problem is, users have little to no control of what they see.
But on Pinterest, just because a user follows a brand, doesn’t mean they have to see everything the brand posts. Users are in control and can choose what content to follow based on the different boards they choose to subscribe to.
What this means is that users define what they like and what they want to see, as opposed to what marketers force into their streams.
See the difference?
Rather than guessing what users will be interested in, by allowing them the opportunity to place themselves in a bucket (or board), they are telling marketers that this content interests them. Think of the potential to build out rich user data and use it to better understand what audiences are looking for.
This is Interest level demographics. Incredible!
The Future Of Entity Search Is Interest-Based Demographics
Now let’s connect the two. Using this same logic of entity search, what if each person becomes an entity and their interests become attributes?
The outcome is significantly more relevant search results. Think personalized search times 1000.
The engines are already collecting all this interest level data based on what we tell them we are interested in (using +1’s and Like’s). If entity search were to be driven by social data, search engines could better deliver attributes to everyone based on their interests.
Some could argue that Facebook is already doing this with the Open Graph. And I don’t deny that they are “trying” to better understand their users and deliver the most relevant information.
But honestly, who really does searches inside Facebook? And even if you do, is it really effective?
The method of finding information in Google couldn’t be more different than the way we come across information on Facebook. Google is an active search; Facebook is a passive stream (generally).
Social Search Without Social Media Limitations
The limitations we have discussed, which exist within Social Media, will no longer exist. This means better targeting what we know our users are looking for and the ability to deliver more valuable information to users based on their interests.
The outcome of this is real social search results. Not just showing up in a Facebook or Google+ stream; active searches in the largest search engine and seeing results based on confirmed interests.
Time To Get On Social
Not necessarily tomorrow, but in the very near future (although I would argue that we are starting to see the need to be involved in social media already), we will start to find that social media more a necessity for brand visibility in the search engines.
Google Plus has demonstrated this to us. And in the future, for brands not involved in social media, this would mean their audience has not included them in their personal “interest graph”. This lack of connection with their audience may cost brand visibility in their target audiences’ results.
Are you prepared? Will you be included in your audiences’ Interest Graph?
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.