On December 1st, Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land compiled conversations with Google and Bing regarding how much of an impact social media has on search rankings. The answer for both engines is social media is making an impact on search rankings, but only to a degree. In particular, Twitter appears to have a much stronger pull than Facebook. The article only addressed Twitter and Facebook specifically.
This did not come as a surprise to our SEO experts. We have clients with both SEO and social programs and clients with just SEO marketing programs. Our own internal testing shows those with the SEO and social programs received a lift from the program. However, until now we attributed it to the brand awareness of the URL within the social networks and our efforts to integrate our SEO keywords into our social media strategies.
A holistic approach to search and social media is a must in this age of media convergence. As more technologies come about, how, when and where we search become almost as important as why.