Search Goes Social

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on Twitter, its content will automatically rank higher than another brand's.

Though the company rarely discusses its algorithms, experts believe that roughly 2 percent to 10 percent of Google's SEO recipe is made up of social signals, regardless of whether Google refers to them as such. Engagement is a crucial metric of viable content, and few things measure engagement better than social media, says Justin Emig, search marketing manager at Web Talent Marketing.

"Google constantly tests its search results to determine engagement, and natural 'virality' is playing a major part there. There's simply no way that a piece of content can go viral on Facebook without Google picking up on it," Emig says.

When it comes to brand discovery, the connection is even deeper, because Google's biggest competition isn't Yahoo or Bing anymore. It's Facebook. With its highly targeted advertisements and sponsored stories, Facebook often serves as the consumer's first point of interaction with a brand. Searching for brands on Google is secondary. And even if that initial introduction does happen through Google, Facebook will "still have something to say about it," Emig says.

Facebook has had its eye on search for a long time, and though it's currently no match for Google, the company is determined to become a key player in search. During Facebook's July earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that "search for Facebook is going to be a multiyear voyage." Currently, Facebook is testing a tool that will enable users to search for posts using keywords on mobile devices.

"It's no doubt that as search and social media become more intertwined, Google is going to have to continue making adjustments to its algorithms in order to deliver valuable content, and marketers are going to have to continue making adjustments to their SEO strategies," Emig says.

"Social absolutely has had an impact on how SEO is evolving," he adds, "and marketers are now realizing this."

As proof, 88 percent of companies now integrate SEO with content marketing, and 74 percent integrate SEO efforts with social media marketing, according to a recent study from Econsultancy.

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