Google finally has debuted real-time search in SERPs last week. This has been brought on by the exploding popularity of real-time search trends from sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Jaiku, and Friendfeed. The news brings a mixed response from the SEO community in exposing the ‘ins and outs’ of this new feature. Most search engine optimization experts are of the opinion that this new feature will enhance the search engine landscape further and (most importantly) provide a better search experience.
Google stated that “When they are relevant, we’ll rank these latest results to show the freshest information right on the search results page”.
What is Real-time Search?
Put simply, when a search query is done, the real-time search returns not only the usual most relevant websites but offers the freshest content from social media sites, like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. In showing contents from social media search engines give weightage to factors like recency, frequency and relevancy. Google’s new search functionality for example, introduces features that allow searchers to see live updates from Twitter and FriendFeed, as well as latest headlines from news and blog posts.
Transition Of Social Media To Search Interface
It was a decade ago that social media found it’s birth in the online space. Its primordial stages are in the form of personal communication tools such as Evite, Shutterfly and finally ‘Linked-in’ born in 2004. The rise of social media has impacted a huge change in the entire search engine industry. The enormity of the change is brought to light of the fact that sites like Facebook and Twitter that never existed a decade ago, are now commanding a substantial amount of attention from the online populace. From that time on, the social media scene has risen steadily and emerged enough to support wider and more regular social interactions. Interactive features got introduced that allowed users to express real time personal information by means of status updates, tweets and other sharing mechanisms. In tandem, new channels also were developed that facilitated this personal information to be effortlessly shared among friends and followers. Social media quickly turned out to be the decisive part and parcel of the search engine game. Underscoring this trend Google, Bing have rolled out ‘real-time’ feature in their search interface as well. With the recent launch of Google’s real-time search engine another chapter is about to be opened.
The Real-time Search Impact
Google real-time search facility could have a potentially huge bearing on the social media landscape. In a much broader sense, this real-time search initiative signals that social media chatter will have a continuous effect on search results, and will serve to drive considerable amount of traffic to social media domains. It is expected to encourage brands to heighten up their marketing efforts in social media, as it can benefit them considerably. This means companies can now make use of Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites for strengthening their online presence. Each time your brand appears in the real-time results page you can gain better exposure in social media circles. For internet marketing enthusiasts there is going to be a never before opportunity that could strategize them to amass consumers and drive traffic to websites.
From an SEO perspective, the challenge for SEO experts is the changing results with each new search, as real-time search replace traditional SEO results. Traditional older results will now be seen further down the page than the most recent ones. It is too early to make a comment on how real-time search results impact SEO activities. But this will come soon!
User intent is a major factor here. If I’m looking for real Madrid’s English website, I will definitely skip the ‘news results for real madrid’ and directly go to the official site link. If I see a ‘Tweet’ from the official site pointing me to another page, I very well may go visit that first!
To wind up, this Google launch enhances the reach of social media conversations to the widest levels. It also indicates the growing impact of social media marketing campaigns in improving website performance. Still wondering whether your company needs to get involved in Social Media? Well could there be any bigger reason now? Get involved and you can shape what searchers have available to see!