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Power to the People; are we moving beyond Page Rank?

“A social search engine is a type of search engine that determines the relevance of search results by considering the interactions or contributions of users. Example forms of user input include social bookmarking or direct interaction with the search results such as promoting or demoting results the user feels are more or less relevant to their query.”

Not so long ago Google’s Page Rank changed the face of Internet search as we knew it, the likes of Yahoo, Ask and AltaVista all lost out as the age of Google began. But now that we’ve just got to grips with page rank, the basic principles of Social Search threaten to undermine and change our online marketing strategies.  But is it really that simple? And what is Google besides a social search engine when it relies on the collective opinions of webmasters and editors who judge other sites?The idea behind social search, also referred to as community search or behavioural targeted search, is that online communities and users enter data into search results which then directly affect them, thus changing search as we know it and shifting the power to the people.

I have few basic questions on this matter

What are the pros and cons of social search, such as the potential increased importance of search results, the problems of search and link spam and the possibility of a drop in importance of long-tail searches?

Can this potential ‘revolution’ in search change the Internet forever? How can marketeers start identifying audiences according to online behaviour and target specific groups directly using Social search? And finally will the search engine landscape change overnight and ask ourselves how worried we really need to be!

Kristjan Mar
Kristján Már Hauksson COO SMFB Engine @optimizeyourweb