A report from Optify found that social media activity will likely have a greater impact on SERPs in 2012.

A report from Optify found that social media will become increasingly important for search marketing campaigns in 2012. The marketing software manufacturer named social search a top trend for the coming year.

Social media’s impact on SEO campaigns has been less direct in the past. As businesses develop more engaging social media content, prospects are more likely to click links included and drive traffic. Plus, social sharing increases links to businesses’ websites, making them more appealing to search crawlers.

However, Optify expects that both Google and Bing-powered search will become more reliant on data from social channels. Currently, Bing and Yahoo factor Facebook Likes into their rankings for logged-in users. Links are more likely to appear higher on a page when a searcher’s friend has Liked the content.

For Google, the inclusion of Google+ data has not impacted search rankings as of yet, though Brafton has long reported that +1s may become a ranking signal. Logged-in users will see followers’ +1s on SERPs, but the ranking of the content has not necessarily changed as a result – although Search Engine Land editor Danny Sullivan has reported that his personal G+ connections have impacted select SERPs.

Businesses relying on SEO campigns will no longer be able to ignore social as a marketing channel.

Social media marketing is likely to become more effective and competitive moving forward, as the channel’s major players improve their services. Brafton recently reported that Twitter has developed brand pages to provide a distinguished look for companies using the micro-blogging website. 

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.