Google recently announced a new component to its search engine: real-time search.
This means that in addition to traditional search results — Web pages, blog posts and other articles, in addition to photos, videos, maps and news — Google’s search spider will stream real-time results from Twitter, and public pages on Facebook and MySpace.
This means that in the past, new content may have taken several minutes to get indexed by the search engine; that waiting period is no more. As soon is content is posted and linked, it’s searchable.
Here’s a quick demo video Google released:
Google’s real-time search means several things for brands:
- Social media presences for both brands and companies are now at center stage.
There are many companies actively engaged in the social space. They’re out building relationships, educating consumers and creating brandadvocacy. They have a stake in the conversation about their brand, because they’re a part of it every day.
On the other hand, many brands are not engaging, whether it’s about risk or just about expertise.
Companies both large and small must create an active presence on the social web; it doesn’t matter if your social media monitoring efforts tell you that there are 20 or 200,000 relevant conversations each month about your employees, brands or products. The more content a brand is able to create, the more often that content will appear in Google’s real time search results.
Are you still comfortable with an intern running your corporate Twitter account?
- Search engine optimization (SEO) is now even more closely tied to social media.Previously, search engine optimization experts have used social media in the following ways, among others:
- blog posts, YouTube content to drive organic search rankings
- relationships forged to generate backlinks for key terms
- Social bookmarking sites to drive links, traffic
Look for SEO to play an even bigger role in real-time search. One scenario: use of a hashtag will appear in search results, and the conversation itself can drive additional coverage or awareness of the hashtagged topic.
- Every customer experience is public — and amplified.More than ever, everyone has the potential to be an influencer. It doesn’t matter whether a person has 500,000 Twitter followers or just five — they have the ability to influence the conversations around them, both online and in real life.
If a customer has a negative brand interaction, they may vent about it through Twitter or Facebook. Brands that are highly engaged in the social space will then reach out to the person to resolve any issues, while brands that are not so engaged may let those issues linger.
Those minor issues are now searchable, and negative brand experiences have the potential to show up on the first page of a Google search for your company, which is bad for business.
Obviously, brands can’t roll out the red carpet for every Tom, Dick and Harry they meet online, but brands must treat everyone with respect. If they don’t, they don’t just run a risk of losing that customer — they run a risk of that customer’s complaints becoming public, and quickly.
Companies with stellar customer service, a sound digital PR strategy and social media engagement protocol will reap long-term rewards.
- Content will rise to the surface quickly through your audience.Remember that great viral video you created several years ago that nobody watched? It now has a chance to be found more easily.
A big part of social media planning revolves around content. What will your brand say, and when? How will you promote your new Flickr photo contest? How do your brand’s objectives drive what goes into your YouTube channel?
As brands work with their partners to create sustainable content plans, remember that what you do, and what people have to say — or not say — depends on your audience.
How else do you think Google’s real-time search will affect companies? Please feel free to jot down your thoughts as comments on this blog post!