10 Dec 2009

Real time search: Implications

Google's real time search feature has big implications for brand reputation, SEO and paid search. What are they?

I'll start by looking at Social Media, PPC and SEO techniques.

Social Media
Real time search puts brand reputation to the fore. Why?

Look at it this way, I criticise a brand and that post on Twitter say features as a top search in real time . . . . . get it?

Real time search puts social media at the heart of search like never before. Brands that have not engaged will lose out by failing to engage with the slipstream of the fastest moving economic and commercial revoution of all-time. Brands that have engaged will have to invest more in online reputation management resources. For a while I was managing just such a project internally and it was a full time activity, I mean 24/7.

Customers searching for a brand will see everything, EVERYTHING, and immediately . . . or as quickly as I can post that poor review of the dodgy restaurant I was at.

It really is that simple.

I was managing this in-house for a time. It was hugely time-consuming and quite costly. This isn't to write off PPC.

For the right product or service and correctly managed (ideally by an agency or fully resourced in-house team!) PPC can work brilliantly. Why does real time search impinge on PPC then?

Most PPC systems scan search engines a few times a day, not in real time. So, whilst the position of your PPC ad may not change, the commentary around it will and this has huge implications for click through rates, costs and of course, revenues.

PPC is Google's golden calf. It is unlikely that it is about to be slaughtered. However, the way that real time search scrolls and updates does affect the way you look at a page . . . . .

SEO and how we do it . . . .
Or, will retweets become the new links? As SEO practioners we spend our time making sure we publish relevant links in natural results returned for your search. Real time search results will push organic search results (SERPs) lower down the page . . . . hmmmm.

It' not all bad news though. For any opportunist or challenger brands with great content, and there are many, it's a real opportunity to use trending keywords and real time search to great advantage.

However, the central conundrum remains. Imagine a page full of negative real time results, these will affect click through rates and links to a brand's portal and so it's natural SERPs position.

To be fair, Google are using filtering and authority (to some extent) with real time search so the picture may not be too bleak.

I shall update as I go along . . . .