I guess it had to happen. In a bid to stay one step ahead of Bing.com & Yahoo.com, Google has announced the inclusion of placing "real time" results amongst the natural search results. This means that social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & blogs will be referenced like never before to allow tweets for example, placed minutes before, to appear amongst related natural search results. View the official video below:
This has huge implications for website owners. Social Media was seen by many as containing hype rather than having any real business benefit, but with this new Google feature, it now firmly places Social Media at the heart of any SEO strategy. Website owners and agencies who did not take Social Media fully to heart will soon need to plan how to integrate Social Media as part and parcel of everyday SEO.
This not only presents opportunities for proactive companies but also places more work on clients who have to dedicate some time to get involved and update various Social Media websites. I expect to see a lot of SEO individuals to start "trying it on" with keyword stuffing at various mentioned sites. I have always stuck to my guns when it comes to any dubious method, short term gain is not what business is about, long term vision is much harder but a lot more profitable. Therefore, do not concentrate on over optimising for applicable keywords, instead place sensible posts and profiles with keywords that do not detract the user. Google does seem to reward this accordingly.
It is still too early to realise the full effects of the aforementioned changes. Nonetheless, if you have not already done so, now is a good time to start thinking about how to integrate Social Media as part of your overall SEO strategy. However, never go in blind. Make sure that you tag up your Google Analytics to ensure you are able to find out exactly what impact this is having on your company's bottom line.