Several experts have predicted recently that social media will play a major role in many online marketing services' activities in 2011, which is why one commentator has suggested a few methods that can use the platform to improve a website's search results.

Writing for Search Engine Watch, Guillaume Bouchard explained that as social media links are slightly different from standard ones, a new strategy is needed in order for Google to recognise them and use them effectively.

He stated that, as links from sites such as Facebook will not have usual search engine optimisation factors such as anchor text, they may not appear at first to be very useful.

But because they are being shared among real internet users, Google is likely to conclude that they are relevant to what people are actually searching for and rank them accordingly.

Taking advantage of sharing sites such as Stumbleupon and Reddit can also improve a site's ranking and help drive traffic, Mr Bouchard continued.

It was recently confirmed by Google's Matt Cutts that the search engine now takes social factors into account when determining a domain's ranking on its results pages.

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