Search engines and Web 2.0 have an unusual marriage. Here in the social media corner of the metaphorical room, we’ve long held the belief that a successful social media and Web 2.0 marketing campaign would contribute positively to organic search engine rankings. We’ve come to this conclusion not just from hopeful thinking, but from solid statistical analysis. Do one well, and the other will follow. Search Engine Land just ran an article about this very phenomenom, citing specific examples of links from social media sites that improved ranking. But all too often these kind of results are treated as an abnormality rather than the norm. The fact of the matter is that it’s extremely difficult to get online, let alone run a marketing campaign, without incorporating a least some aspect of web 2.0 or social media. Think about your daily web activities, and I bet most if not all of them involve some component of the read/write web, whether it’s social networking, blogs, or a simple interaction beyond the passive user. Bottom line, we can’t escape social media and Web 2.0, and the same goes for the search engines and their algorithms.
To understand how deep Web 2.0 runs, we have to look at it’s origins. Newsgroups, message boards and early blogs were the first adaptations of interactivity online. There was only a small amount of participants providing a small amount of data, but the process worked. As the global user base of the web increased, so did the activity. Companies and businesses who embraced Web 2.0 easily lept ahead of their static counterparts, and the audience applauded their recognition and acknowledgement of the single consumer, and the connection was made. Sure, there was some stumbling along the way, not unlike a toddler learning to walk for the first time, but steadier footing was ahead. These days, you’d be hard pressed to find a major corporation or business not currently participating in Web 2.0 and social media, on and off the record. The advertising benefits from such a campaign are numerous, and even now we can speculate on the future of Web 2.0 and the integration it offers.
It’s important to note that although there is no universal definition for Web 2.0, it does involve certain concrete components. Most notably are the ability to interact with the data, to mold it and shape it as you see fit. Blogs, social networking and bookmarking are the easiest examples of social media, and these certainly effect search engines. Web 2.0 has been picked up by these lumbering beasts and have been peppered through the results in an effort to diversify listings and increase the online experience of the searcher. We have to be careful in our use of the term, as not everything done online constitutes Web 2.0, and with over use it’s becoming more of a marketing term than something tangible.