What Does Google Real-Time Search Really Mean?
Google recently launched a real-time search results feature. The feature incorporates tweets, Yahoo Answers questions and answers, and other breaking blog/website content in a box that automatically updates in real time on the search engine results page (SERP).
Users don't see real-time results for all queries. There’s a threshold of chatter that needs to be met before Google displays the real-time search box. It usually appears for breaking news content; celebrity searches; and searches for large brand names such as Coke, Wal-Mart and Comcast that consumers are chatting about on Twitter.
The feature comes on the heels of the Google/Twitter deal, where Twitter provides Google with a live content feed. Google also has inked deals with Facebook and MySpace, and users should expect to see Facebook status updates/MySpace messages in the real-time search box in the near future.
What real-time search means for marketers
It’s been estimated that 40 percent of searches have a real-time component, which makes real-time search a multibillion-dollar per year industry. Twitter and Google also may seek to monetize real-time search with promotional ads within tweets on the Google SERP or paid search advertising on Twitter Search.
Positive and negative chatter about a brand was formerly confined to the social network. Now, Google real-time search — assuming there’s enough chatter to trigger the real-time box — amplifies consumer opinions by bringing them directly to the SERP. Thus, real-time search can potentially turn into a real-time brand gripe engine. This makes managing brand reputation on social sites more important than ever.
2. Use social listening tools to seek out and respond to negative chatter. React quickly to customer service/brand reputation issues before they explode into massive negative conversations that can now spread to the SERP.
4. Start positive brand conversations on social networks. Why? Because real-time search provides marketers with more SERP real estate to dominate. A brand’s native site can achieve two search results per query in the natural listings, leaving eight first-page results — in addition to news, images, maps, etc. — open to listings the brand doesn’t own.
Many real-time search results are meaningless, irrelevant chatter or spam. Other real-time results are valuable breaking news and updates. Most consumers don’t generally want to see the latest thing that happened; they want to see the latest relevant thing that happened. Google is likely working to find a better way to find this essential balance.
Craig Greenfield is the vice president of search and performance media for Chicago-based Performics, the performance marketing division of the Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi Nerve Center. Reach Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org.