Google and Bing have both enthusiastically adopted social search into their search algorithms. This is a system that looks at a user’s social networks and then elevates or demotes certain search results based on ratings among the user’s friends. Bing looks to social ratings on Facebook and Google looks to Google+ for its cues. Trond Lyngbo has an essay where he argues that bad SEO practices make this function useless.
Because there are now so many social media agencies using bad practices to sell Twitter followers and Facebook fans, the social search function is becoming increasingly meaningless. People will follow a recommendation and then be disappointed; they will then no longer trusting the social search results.
Lyngbo argues that the social media agency needs to be ethical in how it handles clients and attempts to boost search results for those clients. If not, then a very powerful tool will be rendered useless, which hurts all social media agencies equally regardless of which ones play by the rules.
It is difficult to remain in the right when other firms might be engaging in these black hat SEO methods, but Lyngbo says that is exactly what ought to happen. Besides, this is also an opportunity. Some businesses will use these black hat practices and their competitors will then look for help. The social media agency can market itself as a necessary tool to combat these interlopers and yet remaining on the high road.