SMX Live: Social Signals & Search

Mar 8, 2011 - 11:50 am 5 by
Filed Under SMX West 2011

Live Blogging Coverage SMXBelow is live coverage of the Social Signals & Search panel from the SMX West 2011 conference. This coverage is provided by Barry Schwartz of RustyBrick.

Disclaimer: The coverage is brought to you in real time, using a custom live blogging tool. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments for inclusion into the live coverage. During the live event, live notes will auto-scroll with newest entries at top. After the session is complete the archive version will have the oldest entries at the top. We ask you to please excuse any typos, as these are live notes.

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Barry Schwartz: 8:53:26 am
We are about to start... 7 minutes away
Barry Schwartz: 8:54:28 am
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Barry Schwartz: 8:54:50 am
that is Michelle, she is the person who is responsbile for building SELand and SMX sites. Tech lead.
Barry Schwartz: 8:56:23 am
About 4 minutes until we start
Barry Schwartz: 8:56:39 am
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Barry Schwartz: 8:58:18 am
Can't you smell the 3G?
Barry Schwartz: 8:58:35 am
FYI, my internet is not too solid today, so please bear with me...
Barry Schwartz: 9:01:38 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:03:05 am
Danny Sullivan is the moderator and the speakers are:
* Mike Cassidy, Director of Product Management, Search, Google
* Paul Yiu, Principal Group Program Manager, Bing Social, Microsoft
Barry Schwartz: 9:04:28 am
Here we go....
Barry Schwartz: 9:04:48 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:05:07 am
Social is heating up... and this panel talks about how search engines are making more use of social elements...
Barry Schwartz: 9:05:21 am
First up Paul Yiu, Principal Group Program Manager, Bing Social, Microsoft
Barry Schwartz: 9:05:32 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:06:05 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:06:11 am
Here is what he is talking about
Barry Schwartz: 9:06:48 am
The way Bing thinks about all this stuff is.... up until recently, it was all about how pages link to each other. But because of these awesome social networks, we now get a lot of people connected to each other...
Barry Schwartz: 9:07:03 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:08:04 am
Blending the connected data based on your connections is cool and useful.
Barry Schwartz: 9:08:28 am
What is happening on Bing today is all your facebook friends directly on the Bing results.
Barry Schwartz: 9:08:51 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:10:26 am
I have screen shots on this integration of Bing and Facebook at
Barry Schwartz: 9:11:15 am
You can "friend source" the search results. You got the algorithms ranking the results and then the friends adding to it.
Barry Schwartz: 9:12:00 am
He shows examples of search results, for example a search result for clean-tech companies and he saw some of his friends "liked" an article via Facebook.
Barry Schwartz: 9:12:11 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:12:42 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:13:02 am
This experience is available to you right now if you have the Facebook option on and you are signed in.
Barry Schwartz: 9:13:27 am
It is about "shared attention" ... have your social and web presence all together as one...
Barry Schwartz: 9:14:42 am
Paul Yiu from #BING talking about social signals & search..AKA Marsha Brady #SMX (@sayitsocial live on

Original Tweet:
Barry Schwartz: 9:15:08 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:15:22 am
This is how it works behind the scenes...
Barry Schwartz: 9:16:03 am
This is roughly what happens, it is more complicated than the six boxes below, but it is how it works overall.
Barry Schwartz: 9:16:40 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:16:59 am
They look at user attributes and user actions, such as your friends and their likes.
Barry Schwartz: 9:17:19 am
When you add these things together you make the secret sauce
Barry Schwartz: 9:17:37 am
He said "Like farms" won't help, they have spam catchers for that.
Barry Schwartz: 9:17:59 am
Links are still important today, but they are correlated with quality....
Barry Schwartz: 9:18:20 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:18:54 am
Spotting spammy behavior...
Barry Schwartz: 9:19:13 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:19:33 am
The stuff on the left is a naturally connected community but the one on the right is a spam marketing campaign...
Barry Schwartz: 9:20:01 am
Cliques of communities can be damaging he said.
Barry Schwartz: 9:20:31 am
Quality, Trust, Popularity, Timeliness is all important...
Barry Schwartz: 9:20:55 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:22:15 am
This is all pretty powerful stuff and he is done.
Barry Schwartz: 9:22:34 am
Next up, Mike Cassidy, Director of Product Management, Search, Google
Barry Schwartz: 9:24:10 am
Paul Yiu of @Bing says there are "Like Farms" just like "link farms" & Bing tries to discount them #SMX #1b1

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Barry Schwartz: 9:24:32 am
Mike from Google was originally with DirectHit, which goes way back in the search space.
Barry Schwartz: 9:25:18 am
DirectHit was sold to Ask Jeeves and then he started a new company named XFire, a IM Gamer application.
Barry Schwartz: 9:25:40 am
Shows the importance of friends and tech.
Barry Schwartz: 9:25:44 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:25:57 am
XFire was sold to MTV
Barry Schwartz: 9:26:19 am
Then he started FriendsTips/Ruba and that was acquired by Google and now he is at Google working on social search.
Barry Schwartz: 9:26:38 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:26:51 am
What is social search from Google's perspective?
Barry Schwartz: 9:27:15 am
Relevance is no longer purely based on the content of the page, but also based on the relevance of the relationship, your friends
Barry Schwartz: 9:27:28 am
Recommendations from friends are some of the most powerful recommendations out there.
Barry Schwartz: 9:27:52 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:28:04 am
IT fits with Google's core mission to organize the worths info and make it easy to access.
Barry Schwartz: 9:28:30 am
Social Search was launched in 2009 and it was only shown in the bottom of the page and also in the side bar.
Barry Schwartz: 9:29:00 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:29:03 am
How does it work?
Barry Schwartz: 9:29:25 am
Google contacts such as chat, friends, coworkers and the connections in your Google profile.
Barry Schwartz: 9:29:30 am
Social Search Signals.
Barry Schwartz: 9:29:47 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:29:54 am
Google Social Search, Author Quality and Popularity are the signals.
Barry Schwartz: 9:30:28 am
More on Google's 2009 launch of social search at
Barry Schwartz: 9:30:59 am
Now they are more deeply integrated, see
Barry Schwartz: 9:31:51 am
It is not just content created by your friends but what they shared...
Barry Schwartz: 9:32:12 am
Google not just annotates the results, but also will shift the rankings of those results when they find it to be relevant.
Barry Schwartz: 9:32:53 am
You also now have more control, you can show your Twitter account on your profile or not. But it can still be used for your social search preferences.
Barry Schwartz: 9:33:38 am
They make it easier to connect accounts as well...
Barry Schwartz: 9:34:19 am
This is an ongoing project at Google and they plan on doing more in the future... They do over 6,000 experiments and over 500 made it in last year.
Barry Schwartz: 9:34:28 am
That is all from Mike at Google.
Barry Schwartz: 9:34:33 am
Q&A time...
Barry Schwartz: 9:37:37 am
Bing just said they may use social search data to rerank results, or move up a result. Hmm... First time I heard that. Google does this.
Barry Schwartz: 9:39:06 am
Bing only looks at Facebook and Twitter.
Barry Schwartz: 9:39:45 am
Google doesn't use Facebook, but since Facebook is not public and crawable, they don't use it. They have tons of other sources.
Barry Schwartz: 9:40:59 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:41:44 am
If you gain a lot of followers in a really short time, can that be a bad thing? Danny said, look at Charlie Sheen, that is normal for him..
Barry Schwartz: 9:42:26 am
Bing looks at your network, who follows you and who you follow. Charlie is pretty one directional... If a Tweet is one word, it doesn't get a lot of love from a ranking perspective, he said.
Barry Schwartz: 9:42:54 am
Google said the same team that works on web ranking works on social ranking, so they are aware of the issues of good vs bad quality.
Barry Schwartz: 9:44:04 am
Bing shows topical authority for Twitter
Barry Schwartz: 9:45:25 am
Where is social search available?
Barry Schwartz: 9:45:52 am
Bing: It depends on who you are based on your identity on Facebook and that is only working now in the US.
Barry Schwartz: 9:46:06 am
Google said only US but hopes to roll it out internationally soon.
Barry Schwartz: 9:46:58 am
Can you weight friends higher than others? Google said not yet, but that is cool - a way to collaborate your friends based on what you know about your friends. Bing said, cool idea but not available.
Barry Schwartz: 9:47:50 am
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Barry Schwartz: 9:48:35 am
Bing tries to not be noisy with social although it is tempting...
Barry Schwartz: 9:49:03 am
With Google personalized results, you get a notice saying your results are personalized. Mike is not sure if social search works that way....
Barry Schwartz: 9:50:06 am
Bing also looks at "topical authority" in social search ranking. i.e., Charlie Sheen is not an expert on Glee. #smx

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Both Bing and Google say author quality is more important to social search ranking than the site/service where sharing happens. #smx

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Barry Schwartz: 9:50:22 am
Google performs 6k experiments a year on new things to try, last year 500 made it into the algorithm. #smx

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Barry Schwartz: 9:50:31 am
Mike Cassidy of @Google says social connections to you can boost rankings if friends make or share pages #SMX #1b1

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Barry Schwartz: 9:51:03 am
Bing said Twitter is more aggregate on if they rank one Danny Sullivan higher than another but with Facebook it is more specific to your friends.
Barry Schwartz: 10:01:50 am
Sorry, having internet issues. Back...
Barry Schwartz: 10:03:26 am
Still Q&A going on...
Barry Schwartz: 10:03:51 am
FYI, this session is over in 15 mins and the next sessions start at :45
Barry Schwartz: 10:05:04 am
Social SEO - even if you don't define profile on Google, will still try to match to profiles on Twitter and make suggestion #smx #1b1

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Barry Schwartz: 10:07:11 am
Bing confirms they look at topical authority in tweets. #smx

Original Tweet:
Barry Schwartz: 10:07:30 am
"@KimKardashian may have millions of followers but she may not have topical authority on something" - Paul Yiu #smx #giggles

Original Tweet:
Barry Schwartz: 10:07:52 am
Talking about paid tweets to game social rank. #smx

Original Tweet:
Barry Schwartz: 10:08:21 am
Relevancy of authority, not just absolute popularity, is important. Example - Kim Kardashian tweets about space shuttle - relevant? No. #smx

Original Tweet:
Barry Schwartz: 10:11:19 am
FYI, some relevant tweets from the audience...
Barry Schwartz: 10:12:40 am
Social SEO: Most recent Tweet shows up in Google. Make sure your last tweet is relevant @wholesolar says position it for retweet #smx

Original Tweet:
Barry Schwartz: 10:14:12 am
Okay, ending this live blogging thing. Come back in 30 minutes for two new sessions
Barry Schwartz: 10:14:20 am
* Google Instant: 6 Months Later - Barry Schwartz and Keri Morgret
* Up Close With Yelp - Marty Weintraub

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