Saturday, December 19, 2009

What Google's Real-Time Search Means to SEO, PPC & Reputation Management - By Chris Crum


It seems that over the course of the entire year, we've been waiting for Google to get real-time search. Now it's here. If you have ever had a hard time finding a direct relationship between social media and search engine marketing, it doesn't get any more direct than this. Real-time search results (from Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other sources) right in regular SERPs.

While "real-time search" has certainly been a buzzword this year, the concept itself has been around for a while longer in some capacity. Sure, the concept of searching Twitter has been around for quite some time now, but even as far as Google is concerned, freshness has been a factor of great interest.

"Google has been working on real-time search for years," as Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb points out. "In the spring of 2006, the story goes, Google launched Google Finance onto the Web and was promptly dismayed to find that the service didn't appear in a Google search for its own name later that day. It was after that, and a few other similar experiences, that Google engineers created an algorithm called QDF, or Query Deserves Freshness. QDF determines when results for a query need to be augmented with the newest content available, in addition to the content with the highest PageRank."

"Search users are utilizing results that show up because of it everyday," says Dave Snyder at Search Engine Journal. "However, in terms of rankings QDF can have huge impacts on the SERPs. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the real time search data pouring through was that Google is getting a massive amount of real time link data without the issue of a crawl. I am convinced they will be utilizing this data to help shape SERPs for terms that are trending or based on timeliness."

The Potential for Abuse

Snyder also makes a good point about spam. "Seriously, any new feature that Google rolls out is a playground for SPAM," he says. "My head is spinning thinking of all the cool/evil implications of the service. I am sure lots of people are going to be testing how Google is choosing the results coming in the box. Some people might ask the importance of coming up for a mere moment in that position, but the sheer amount of traffic generated for a trending term can make even a 30 second window profitable."

The nature or real-time search reults showing content as it is created leads to questions of accuracy of content as well. It does bring up questions about Google showing results that are quite possibly just inaccurate, but in a prominent place on the first page. Google's Vice President of Search Products & User Experience, Marissa Mayer told TechCrunch that she uses real-time search a lot, and that she trusts the content "most of the time, even if they’re public and not coming from friends." Do you trust the content? Comment here.

When asked whether or not she thinks Google can solve the problems of filtering, the virality of rumors (true or false), and mob-forming in real-time search, she said, "Hard to say. We can’t simply apply the PageRank algorithm to content shared in real time, but we look at the ecosystem and detect signals we can use to reveal authority, for instance. It’s difficult, but there are data points out there that can be used for filtering."

Will Real-Time Search Results Drive PPC?

Much like with Google's recently launched (for everyone) personalized search results, or any other universal search results for that matter, the addition of real-time results is just one more element that can add to the challenge of getting organic results to show up high on the page. As iEntry CEO and WebProNews Publisher Rich Ord noted when talking about personalized search, this could give marketers more cause to focus on PPC, where they have more control over their campaign. This notion seems to be becoming a more common theme.

"I certainly think this will have a more profound impact on results sitting below the Twitter feed and those above," says Peter Young of Holistic Search, as quoted by MediaPost. "The scramble for the top positions will become fiercer. That may mean..Read Complete Article

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