For the past 10 years Google has largely dictated the definition of authority for the rest of us. Sure, search engine optimization people may have expanded the definition (sometimes to suit their own purposes), but it was Google who gave us the idea to begin the discussion. It was, of course, all link-based. Your authority, today, is based on the quality of your own content and the quality of the links you attract, based in large part on the authority of the sites doing the linking.
But more and more, Google is swinging social. There’s the acquisition of such sites as YouTube, Picasa, and Blogger. And the startups like Orkut. And, of course, the expanded applications and new directions in search with such offerings as Friend Connect, Google Wave (in beta), personalization, mixed media SERPs, and real-time search. The changeover isn’t complete, but I think Google sees the writing on the wall. The Web is, by nature, social. It always has been. And Google’s mission all along has been to catalog the world’s information. But the big challenge – not just for Google, but all search companies – is in producing the technology that will help people find that information. Search technology has largely been successful, but it has its shortcomings. Social is slowly taking its place.
So the question is, When social media has replaced search completely, and search is largely a social enterprise rather than a robotic one and content driven one, what will authority be based on? Is today’s social proof model the basis of a new kind of authority or will link building still play a part? Are you engaged in the new social media marketing revolution? Do you believe social media and search will ever be inseparable? If so, what will be the basis of authority on the Web?
I personally believe that it comes down to excellent content, building highly relevant links over time (that generate visitors of course) and being social online. The reality is if your business is not connecting with your customers and potential new customers then you are missing out on an aspect…called marketing. Yes, marketing your website and business online I think will build a higher amount of authority and sales. Because really that is what search engine optimization, social media marketing and everything online related is all about, building your business!