Lee Odden

Major Social Media & Search Engine Relationships

Adding real-time search and social search to the mix in the search engine world has created a number of new opportunities for marketers that want to do a better job of reaching customers. With new data sharing announcements happening fairly regularly, it can paint an interesting picture when you lay out the relationships between major social networks and search engines. It’s not unlike the search engine relationship chart from Bruce Clay I remember from several years ago documenting the relationships between Inktomi, Yahoo, Lycos, Alta Vista, Excite, HotBot, Direct Hit/Teoma, Northern Light and even Google. Not many of those are still around.

As the diagram above illustrates, the major data sharing for real-time search is between the social sites Twitter and Facebook and the major search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing. To be more specific:

Yahoo announced yesterday that they would significantly enhance their relationship with Facebook. According to Yahoo’s Jim Stoneham, VP Communities, “People who use Yahoo! and Facebook can now link their accounts to view and share updates with friends across both networks”.

Yahoo is expected to launch similar cross platform sharing functionality with Twitter and other social sites in the coming months according to MediaPost.

That kind of cross sharing relationship blurs the lines between social and search even more than the one–way integration of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook into Google and Bing search results.

When search engines used to syndicate search results from different sources or even each other, it was important to know how to get web pages included in those sources so they would appear in search results where customers were looking.  As the major search engines update their data sources for real-time search and even socially influenced search, there’s an opportunity for marketers to understand how their participation on the social web can continue to provide signal and even content for the major search engines.

It doesn’t take much to see that some of the solutions for inclusion and earning top visibility are technical and related to publishing platforms, feeds and certain types of formats. Others are qualitative based on network size, type and topical focus. In the end, what matters is not just the changes search engines make to gain market share over each other, but the ways in which consumers respond in their information discovery, consumption and sharing behaviors.

While the effect of real-time search on current marketing programs isn’t anywhere as near as substantial as search marketing or even social media marketing, it’s an area that smart marketers would do well to monitor and experiment with.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. It made me laugh when you mentioned Lycos and Alta Vista. Those are two sites I haven’t heard from in a long time, and it makes me think about how much the Internet has changed in only a couple of years. The role of social media is substantial, and it has definitely changed the way my company does marketing.

  2. While my site still gets significantly more traffic from search than it does from FB, Twitter, etc, they are starting to make up a big chunk of our traffic and often are more qualified due to the more social nature of their relationship with the brand. It will be really interesting to see how this develops

  3. Hey,

    Great Info.

    I have heard that Bing And Yahoo will combine and come up with 'BingHoo' later this year. If they joined today, they will command a 30% share of the search engine market.


  4. @ nabeel…I don't know where you get your se market share stats…but where I go to look every week or so, over at — http://marketshare.hitslink.com/search-engine-m… — the total for both BING and Yahoo is less than 10%….

    @lee…great post lad! gives us all something to think about, eh?



  5. @Jim

    These are the Latest reports from conScore, reports USA Today:



    “The roll out of what analysts have taken to referring to as BingHoo is expected sometime later this year. If the launch of BingHoo came today, it would command a 30% market share.”

    • sorry, but I will monitor same and check marketshare #s once again. our own #s show again that here in .ca land, google IS the search engine of choice….by at least 4 to 1….with Bing second and Yahoo a distant third…

      those USAToday numbers will have to be looked at too, and I'll do that later tonite….

      if anyone else here knows of other sites who show se % for marketshare I'd sure like to know…..we've always used marketshare as “the” word on numbers…but that may well be flawed….



  6. Also, comScore Releases April 2010 U.S. Search Engine Rankings:



    “Google Sites led the U.S. core search market in April with 64.4 percent of the searches conducted, followed by Yahoo! Sites (up 0.8 percentage points to 17.7 percent), and Microsoft Sites (up 0.1 percentage points to 11.8 percent).”

  7. I note that Social media (including YouTube) has more traffic than search in the UK. I guess that we are seeing a shift of news (or your clients product/service/offer) finding the customers through social media marketing, rather than them finding your company's website through conventional search?

    However, its all moving so fast it would be hard to predict the outcome. All I know is that at the moment, my blog gets more traffic from search (just).

  8. I think everything is beginning to work together in the case of Internet Marketing

  9. Avatar glynlafferty says

    Hey Lee,

    It seems that internet marketing is going in the way, with social and search combined that it is all going to be about relationship building instead of just getting a load of backlinks and getting to the top of the search engines.

    Great information


  10. Avatar Lisa | SEO Brisbane says

    I think that real time search won't necessarily work for every niche but it is worth a try, especially now that Google have changed their layout again and it does include real time search. That is an indication of the direction this is heading.

  11. All social networks are undisputed the most fierce weapons of internet marketing. Search engines cross sharing relationship with them is a logical step.

  12. Twitter seem to be doing well with the current search they have. Users do not tweet to “search” and they don't care about the back end. If twitter has been capable of pushing the marketing gimmick, so be it as long as it delivers “real time” fresh results.

  13. really good post!!

  14. Lee, thank you for useful data

  15. This is great news for a Yahoo user like myself. I enjoy Yahoo for email, news, and more and am glad to see the strides being made to incorporate Facebook and Twitter for Yahoo users. Do you believe this will convert many users to create Yahoo email accounts and profiles?


  16. Avatar StevenSJohnson88 says

    Definitely, social media networks can be a great outsource for links, searches and posts.

  17. Avatar jimrudnick says

    further to these comScore stats….pls do go over to Danny's blog piece on how Yahoo and Bing are “gaming” the stats….link to same is here — http://searchengineland.com/time-to-end-the-bul… — it was apparent to many many of us that such “stats” were not right….and Danny quite bluntly shows one and all just how wrong they are!


  18. lee again good read…..in advance you have created and mentioned new topic for search marketers to take care which is real time results, its true that real time results (integrated in google) are not that much in demand right now, but i see they will be because certain things when i am unable to find in google, i click on updates and see the fresh data to read